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Intrade customers hold company's future in their hands

ONLINE betting website Intrade could be back in business within months if its customers agree on a rescue deal.

The Dublin company is offering customers a deal to be paid 50pc of what they are owed within weeks, with the balance to be repaid if the company survives. The popular site allows users to bet on the likelihood of an event such as whether Barack Obama would be elected as US president.

It halted trading last month amid a corporate review prompted by possible financial irregularities.

Customer funds were frozen pending a review of the business. Less than $2.5m (€1.9m) of funds are said to be at risk.

The internal investigation into the financial issues is due to be completed this week.

It partly centres on pay- ments to accounts apparently linked to the firm's late chief executive officer John Delaney.

Mr Delaney died within yards of the summit of Mount Everest two years ago, and after his death the company's auditors raised concerns about payments totalling close to €1m to bank accounts apparently controlled by Mr Delaney.

Ronald Bernstein, who was appointed as a director in November, is leading the survival plan. He declined to comment when contacted by Bloomberg on what he called "active discussions under way".

Most of the larger account holders and existing Intrade shareholders are said to support the survival plan.

Irish Independent