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One Quarter of Full Tilt Poker Seized Accounts Unfrozen

Written by:
C Costigan
Published on:
May/27/2011
Full Tilt Poker Accounts Unfrozen

One quarter of the Full Tilt Poker bank accounts frozen by the US Government April 15 have been released according to an exclusive report filed by eGaming Review.  The company is not yet able to pay.  Two other online poker rooms – PokerStars.com and UB.com – had bank accounts seized as well, however, most of the froze accounts appeared to belong to Full Tilt.  Each of the companies were charged with money laundering and bank fraud.  US Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the indictments were a result of massive amounts of money flowing through the American banking system that could not be properly accounted for.  Nearly $150 million had been seized altogether. 

A Full Tilt Poker representative expressed to eGaming Review that funds would not yet be paid out to customers.  Of the three companies indicted on April 15, only PokerStars has been able to pay out its US customers.

Full Tilt Poker founder, Raymond Bitar, one of those named in the indictment, has been seeking up to $150 million from potential investors outside the financial services sector in order to return funds to US players.  The company has asked these investors for money in return for a stake in the company, according to eGaming Review.  They have also been in active discussions with US federal prosecutors. 

From eGaming Review: 

The Full Tilt source explained this resulted from players’ poker balances being credited with money held in bank accounts seized by authorities before Full Tilt itself had been made aware of the seizures. “Because of the broad-sweeping nature of the Black Friday seizures, you had a seizure combined with a backlog and this has resulted in millions which all of a sudden became owed,” the FTP source said.

“Normally Full Tilt would cover that and take that loss, but because all their banks got shut down there was no way of doing that until recently when the government agreed to unfreeze the [Bank of Ireland] account,” he said.

It was also noted that other bank accounts held by Full Tilt Poker not subject to the seizure warrants also began freezing accounts, fearing repercussions from US authorities. 

“There are a lot of factors involved,” the source said in regard to getting customers paid.   “Some of that is the $60m backlog referenced in the Franzen case, some is the bank accounts that voluntarily decided to restrain funds, and some is the status of negotiations with the Southern District.

“All of those issues together contribute to creating an impediment to paying players back, an impediment which wouldn’t be there if each of those things didn’t exist,” he said.

- Chris Costigan, Gambling911.com Publisher

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