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Online Poker Payment Processor Hit With Lawsuit

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Jun/14/2009

By James Mccullough

The Courier-Mail, Australia

QUEENSLAND'S baby-faced internet tycoon Daniel Tzvetkoff is being targeted in a $52 million legal action by an online gambling firm.

The lawsuit is the latest in a series of blows in recent months for the 25-year-old who first hit the headlines last year when he bought the state's most expensive home, spending $27 million for an unfinished beachfront mansion on the Gold Coast.

Mr Tzvetkoff is the brains behind an online billing, payments and fraud-detection system which helped him and partner Sam Sciacca, 38, build a business empire worth an estimated $120 million in last year's The Sunday Mail Top 100 Rich List.

Their firm, Intabill Inc, is now being sued by Kolyma Corporation AVV for payments which Kolyma says were not passed on.

The corporation, based in the former Dutch colony of Aruba in the southern Caribbean, operates Full Tilt Poker, one of the most popular and lucrative online gambling sites.

It was one of the biggest clients of Intabill, which is based in the Brisbane suburb of Milton.

Kolyma is seeking payment of an alleged debt of $US43 million ($A52.75 million) plus interest, which it claims has been increasing at $US13,532 a day (about A$16,590) since May 25.

The action, lodged in the Supreme Court in Brisbane on May 25, names as defendants Intabill, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands tax haven, and the Australian-registered holding company BT Projects. It also targets Mr Tzvetkoff and Mr Sciacca individually, saying they gave a guarantee to pay Kolyma money claimed to be owed.

Mr Tzvetkoff told The Sunday Mail they would defend the lawsuit "but I can't comment further".

Mr Sciacca could not be reached for comment.

Intabill had more than 5000 customers in 70 countries. It is understood that about half its revenue came from business linked to online gambling operations, with fees from just one operator topping more than $150,000 per day.

In April, Intabill laid off 96 employees - keeping about 20. Mr Tzvetkoff blamed market conditions and increased loan funding costs.

In May, Intabill withdrew a multimillion-dollar sponsorship of the Team IntaRacing V8 Supercar team, announced only months earlier.

Asked on Friday about the current state of his businesses, Mr Tzvetkoff said: "We are continuing to work to rebuild during these tough times."

Mr Tzvetkoff was raised in Brisbane's southern suburbs by a school teacher mum and a father who runs weekend markets.

Benefiting from the boom times of his business, he drove a black Lamborghini Gallardo with the number plate BALLER and owned a Ferrari 599, an Audi S6, Range Rover and a Ford GT40. He had a luxurious boat and used chartered private jets.

He is a part-owner of the Zuri Lounge celebrity nightclub in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley.

It is understood the boat and most of the cars have been sold.

A year ago, Mr Tzvetkoff emerged as the mystery buyer of the $27 million half-built mansion on "millionaire's row" at Hedges Ave, Mermaid Beach, which was formerly owned by tourism tycoon Tony Smith.

The property, spread over four waterfront lots, was to be a family home for Mr Tzvetkoff, his fiancee Nicole Crisp and their son Hugo, now aged two. They planned to marry last October and move in late last year. But the wedding was postponed because Mr Tzvetkoff said he was too busy with business commitments.

The Hedges Ave property is still unfinished and they have not moved in yet.

"At the moment we are on hold," Mr Tzvetkoff said yesterday.

Salvatore "Sam" Sciacca is a lawyer with a background in commercial and corporate work, including e-commerce.

He is a cousin of former federal minister for veterans' affairs Con Sciacca, and has kept a much lower profile than Mr Tzvetkoff.

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