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Friday, September 30, 2011

Criminals stole customer card data from millions from Betfair just months before float

Cyber-criminals stole the payment card details of almost 2.3m Betfair customers only months before the betting exchange's controversial £1.39bn float.

The company was forced to inform the UK Serious Organised Crime Agency, the Australian Federal Police and German law enforcement authorities, as well as international regulators and Royal Bank of Scotland – the lender responsible for accepting credit and debit card payments made via Betfair.

However, the betting exchange did not inform its 3m-plus registered customers. Neither did it provide any details of the crime in the prospectus for last October's £13-a-share listing, raising questions over the adequacy of its disclosures.

Betfair, which was brought to market by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Barclays Capital and Numis Securities, referred only to "a limited number of security breaches in the past" in the "risk factors" part of the prospectus. It added they had "not had a significant effect on Betfair's reputation, operations, financial performance and prospects".

The statement tells nothing of the attack by criminals on March 14, 2010, which was not discovered by Betfair until a server crashed at its Malta data centre on May 20.

It subsequently emerged that between March 28 and April 9, criminals believed to be from Cambodia stole what a company report to regulators described as a "significant volume" of sensitive data.