U.S. charges Australian with laundering $500 mln

LOS ANGELES, April 16 (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors arrested an Australian man in Las Vegas on Friday on charges that he helped gamblers and illegal Internet gambling companies launder $500 million.

In an case unsealed in New York, prosecutors accused Daniel Tzvetkoff, 27, of processing gambling proceeds and making them appear legal to banks, starting in early 2008.

He created dozens of so-called shell companies in a scheme that he once wrote was “perfect,” prosecutors said.

Tzvetkoff was charged on four counts, including bank fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy to operate and finance an illegal gambling business.

If convicted, he could face up to 75 years in prison.

Prosectors said Tzvetkoff stopped processing transactions in March 2009 after leading gambling websites accused him of stealing $100 million.

Tzvetkoff, who had a penchant for exotic cars and mansions, has also been sued by a former business partner for failing to keep accurate financial records, The Courier-Mail newspaper in Brisbane, Australia has reported. (Reporting by Dana Ford)