The Counting House group of companies was the world's largest and most diverse provider of traditional and electronic payout solutions to regulated online gaming companies, serving over 100 countries in more than 50 currencies.
Effective 22 September 2016, Counting House no longer provides inbound or outbound payments.
On 22nd September, 2016, by order of former president Obama, the United States Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which was formed in 1950 to deal with threats to the economy and security of the United States (such as drug cartels and terrorist organizations), placed parts of the Counting House group and some senior employees on its “Specially Designated Nationals” list. They were sanctioned. This rendered continuation of the business impossible, so we commenced shutting down operations immediately.
Neither Counting House nor any of its employees or managers were ever accused of any wrongdoing. However, the US Postal Inspection Service, which was interested in shutting down PacNet Services, somehow convinced OFAC to act against the entire PacNet Services group of companies, which included Counting House.
It was a “nuclear effect”. The Sanctions resulted in shutting down a world-class, compliant company and costing all employees and managers their jobs.
Most worldwide banking partners provided Counting House with a short courtesy period before closing the company's accounts for good. However, US financial institutions and US companies of all descriptions were immediately forbidden to provide any services to the group.
The Isle of Man entity was not listed or designated and, as it provides consultancy services only, has continued in business throughout this episode.
After a year of extensive negotiations, on 26 October, 2017, OFAC agreed to delete Counting House (and all the PacNet Group of Companies) from its Sanctions list. There was no fine, no penalty, and no agreement by the companies that any wrongdoing had occurred. Our agreement with OFAC did, however, include a clause which prevents Counting House (or any other PacNet Group company) from suing OFAC for damages.
The Counting House Group is solvent and has fewer than ten remaining creditors. The Group fully intends to pay all of them, but has been hampered in its efforts by ongoing effects of the OFAC Sanctions. A surprising number of people and entities do not realize that OFAC is not a judicial body, and that an OFAC sanction does not mean that a person or company is guilty of a crime.
As a knock-on effect of the OFAC sanctions and inaccurate press reports, freezing orders were placed on company assets in three jurisdictions: Ireland, the Isle of Man and the United States. The American orders were lifted with the removal of OFAC sanctions. On 3 September 2018, the IOM Court lifted its freezing order, ruling that there was no demonstrated connection with any illegal activity whatsoever. We have court cases under way to resolve the situation in Ireland.
We are also owed funds by our former card acquirer, AIBMS, who has failed to pay for processing carried out in the period immediately surrounding September 21st 2016. While negotiations are under way to resolve this difficulty, Counting House clients who are owed funds for card processing may wish to make their own applications directly to AIBMS. If so, we will be glad to assist with supplying the necessary documentation.
Counting House is also owed considerable money by several clients. It is neither legal nor moral for these companies to refuse to pay based on the OFAC Sanctions.
The Counting House group has no intention of declaring bankruptcy or entering voluntary dissolution; it will close once all debts are settled and assets sold. We predict this will all be in place before the end of 2019.