LONDON — The U.S. Justice Department has demanded information from some of the world's biggest investment banks as part of a probe into online gambling in the United States, banking sources said Sunday.
Internet gaming was effectively banned last year after President Bush signed legislation outlawing gaming-related financial transactions at the end of September.
The sources said the Department of Justice had issued requests for information through the Southern District Court of New York and had ordered the banks to hand over all e-mails, telephone records and documents connected with Internet gaming firms such as 888 Holdings and Partygaming.
888 and Partygaming were not immediately available for comment.
European gambling companies have been accepting business from the U.S. for many years, arguing that until last November U.S. law was ambiguous and made no reference to the Internet.
The Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph newspapers earlier reported that the U.S. had sought the information from 16 banks, including HSBC, Dresdner Kleinwort, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, as well as accountants and law firms.
The reports said the subpoenas were issued three weeks ago as part of the Justice Department's ongoing investigation.