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Gambling: Ecash Processor in Trouble
Intabill, an Australian online e-cash processor owned by BT Projects Pty Limited, owes A$30 million, three million of this to four top online poker companies, the Aussie newspaper Courier-Mail reports.
Among those affected are PokerStars.com, Full TiltPoker.com, Golden Palace.com and Absolute Poker.com - all fortunately strong enough to withstand any financial backfires caused by Intabill's apparently parlous situation.
The Courier-Mail reports that the young entrepreneur behind Intabill is UK-born of Bulgarian parents Daniel Tzvetkoff (24), who enjoyed a meteoric rise in business but is now suffering the consequences of an equally steep fall as the company he majority owns struggles with its debts.
The newspaper comments that the sale of Tzvetkoff's assets will be a harsh reality check for the youthful businessman, who drove exotic cars, owned a massive boat, chartered executive jets, opened his own nightclub, Zuri, sponsored a V8 supercar racing team - and was busy amassing property and doing interesting side deals until his fortunes changed.
"Tzvetkoff hit the headlines last year after the mysterious 24-year-old internet entrepreneur had shelled out an impressive million to buy tourism entrepreneur Tony Smith's palatial mansion at Hedges Ave on the Gold Coast," The Courier-Mail reports. "In between driving the Lambo he got around in a Ferrari 599, an Audi S6, a Range Rover and a Ford GT40. During regular trips to Las Vegas, where he is rumoured to have a house, he was again spotted in a Lambo."
The newspaper claims that in some IT sectors he was and still is described as a genius who created an enviable business through his main Australian company Intabill, based in Brisbane, of which he owns a two-third's share and is managing director. That company is owned by BT Projects Pty Ltd, whose three shareholders are listed as Tzvetkoff, local lawyer Sam Sciacca and an Alberta, Canada-based company called Rendel Investments.
But apparently all was not well with the company. A few weeks back Intabill sacked 96 staff from its head office, with Tzvetkoff blaming the global economic crisis and promising to refocus the company. Barely a dozen staff remain. And the material symbols of Tzvetkoff's high life are dwindling, an Intabill insider told The Courier-Mail. "Basically everything is for sale," he revealed last week.
At the time, Tzvetkoff pointed out that the cost of funding in wholesale markets had dramatically increased in the present volatile market conditions, and that as a consequence his planned diversification into lending products had been terminated.
"In recent weeks we have come to the realisation that diversifying in these difficult market conditions presents too many risks and challenges," he said. "Hence we have decided to scale back our operation to focus on our core e-commerce processing platform."
In its early days Intabill claimed to be one of the world's top ten online payment processors, enabling more than a million transactions a month between websites, customers and banks. It originally had more than five thousand clients, mostly in Europe and North America, involved in everything from online gambling and travel websites to airlines and global banks.
About 50 percent of Intabill's business relates to online gambling, the newspaper reports.
Funds were sent to online poker houses often via a processing company or an intermediary - a Salt Lake-based independent company called Impact.
But today Intabill owes four of the largest online poker sites in the world a total of about A$3 million.
"The figure was higher but asset sales and "arrangements" put in place by Intabill and the sites reduced some of the debt," The Courier-Mail article reveals.
About a million dollars is owed to the world's two largest online poker sites, the Isle of Man domiciled Poker Stars.com and Full Tilt Poker.com.
The newspaper claims that PokerStars is owned by Isai Scheinberg, who is believed to be worth more than a billion US dollars.
Another million is owed to Absolute Poker and a further million to Golden Palace, a casino and online poker group.
It's understood that Intabill's troubles started to snowball when Impact became anxious about funds owed and pulled the plug on Intabill's processing operation.
Other insiders blame the loss of customers on increased "charge backs" - or R10s as they are called in the trade - where consumers complain about their credit card or direct debit charges.
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