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Gambling: Intabill by another name
9/1/09 - Speculation and rumour of a new start for a failed e-cash executive that have swirled around Australian financial circles recently were given form in an article by eCommerce Report.com.au this week.
The report centres on a new entity called Payovation.com, which has been alleged in some quarters to be Daniel Tzvetkoff's and Sam Sciacca's Intabill "risen from the dead".
InfoPowa readers will recall that Intabill, headed by the youthful and high profile Tzvetkoff, failed earlier this year on claims that it was the victim of global economic recession. The failure has reportedly triggered multi-million dollar legal claims - one allegedly from Tzvetkoff's former partner Sciacca - and the loss of both money and jobs to clients that include large online gambling companies and employees of the now defunct company.
In an article headed "Intabill rises again as Payovation", eCommerce Report reveals that the former Brisbane-based Intabill appears to have risen from the dead, although its former clients are unlikely to benefit as Payovation (Pty) Ltd will probably not be helping them to retrieve the millions that Intabill owed when it went under.
The eCommerce report refers to online forum postings allegedly made by Payovation CEO, Michael Hui, claiming that none of Intabill’s founders, shareholders or directors are involved with Payovation.
“It has been suggested on this forum that we are just Intabill with a different name. This is not the case. Payovation is a new and separate business from Intabill. None of the founders, shareholders or directors of Intabill are founders, shareholders, directors or employees of Payovation," the chief of the new company is alleged to have posted.
"We have no relationship with Intabill other than our purchase of some of Intabill’s intellectual property for a considerable sum of money. ”
eCommerce Report points out, however, that the reality is that both Hui and many of those working at Payovation previously worked at Intabill - something that Hui’s posting acknowledges.
“We can empathise with many of you given that many of us lost our jobs and money in Intabill’s downfall, “ Hui apparently posted.
eCommerce observes: "Even so, it seems clear that Hui and his Payovation team were actively preparing to take over and re-launch the Intabill business under a new name in the final weeks of the company’s existence."
It goes on to quote further from Hui's posts:
“As it became clear to us that Intabill was experiencing financial difficulties, we met with an Australian investor who agreed to financially back our plans to acquire the Intabill processing software. Following weeks of negotiations, the deal was struck to purchase some of Intabill’s intellectual property.”
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The article speculates that the assets Payovation bought may have included Intabill’s customer database, supporting this with the news that Hui has been emailing Intabill's former customers, and indeed claims to have already signed up many of them.
Apparently confirming this, Hui said in his posting that: “We have offered to Intabill’s previous merchants to take over their processing and many have accepted.”
Details of Hui’s email offer to Intabill merchants had been previously published on the same online forum.
eCommerce republished the contents of Hui's email to merchants:
"I am pleased to inform you that on July 7 2009, prior to Intabill entering into administration, Payovation purchased all core Intellectual Property from Intabill, allowing for a smooth and seamless transition of their processing platform and all merchant accounts into our care and control. Payovation is an international payment gateway and processor, providing highly reliable merchant services to merchants around the world. Payovation brings an experienced team of senior management with many years of processing experience to ensure a smooth, seamless and profitable future for all of its clients and customers. Please be assured that your existing Intabill merchant account will continue to operate under Payovation without interruption or change."
Unfortunately it appears that as at publication date eCommerce had been unable to contact Hui to confirm the accuracy of the online forum postings. However, the publication reports that it has been able to confirm that "Hui was, up until around 18 months ago, an associate at a Brisbane law firm – Sciaccas."
Further enquiries revealed that Intabill director Sam (Salvatore) Sciacca is not currently an employee there.
"Sam Sciacca was one of the two directors of BT Projects Pty Ltd – the company that traded in Australia as Intabill. The other director was Daniel Tzvetkoff," eCommerce Report claims.
The article links to previous stories on Intabill, revealing that in June this year the Brisbane Courier Mail, suggested that the amount being claimed in a court action following the Intabill failure is $52 million, comprised of $43 million in outstanding payments, and accrued interest.
"The Courier-Mail said the court action had begun on the 25th of May and was initiated by Kolyma Corporation AVV, said to be the owner of the world’s second most popular poker site Full Tilt.
"Reportedly, the court action names both Intabill and its two principals, Daniel Tzvetkoff and Con Sciacca as respondents.
"More precisely, as Intabill is, formally, a foreign company, being incorporated in the British Virgin Islands, the court action names as respondent a company known as BT Projects Pty Ltd.
"BT Projects is thought to be the Australian company that facilitates the operations of Intabill’s Brisbane administrative headquarters. Australian Casino News reports that Tzvetkoff and Sciacca are co-directors of BT Projects Pty Ltd, along with Canadian company - Rendel Investments."
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