July 10,2012 : FULL TILT POKER CHIEF RELEASED ON BAIL (Update)
Bitar meets extended bail requirements
Full Tilt Poker chief executive Ray Bitar was on his way to his home in California Monday after being released on extended bail conditions imposed by federal judge Paul Engelmayer.
Detained on a slew of serious charges, 40-year-old Bitar had spent the weekend in jail, but raised the $2.5 million bond after agreeing to post $2 million in property to ensure he returns to the U.S. District Court in Manhattan when required.
Earlier, prosecutors fought against bail being granted, claiming that new charges could carry a life sentence and that he falsely told poker players their money would be safe, although nearly $300 million was missing from the company bank accounts. They said half of that was owed to U.S. players.
Judge Engelmayer extended the bail required from $1 million to $2 million. Bitar must additional submit to electronic monitoring and surrender his passpsort.
The judge said he credited the fact that Bitar, a U.S. citizen, returned to the United States to face charges, though he called the case facing him “very serious.”
In related news, the usually well-informed poker information portal, Pokerfuse, reports that Howard Lederer and Rafe Furst have filed motions for dismissal of the civil case against them as shareholders in Full Tilt Poker.
Lederer argues that no evidence has been produced linking him with fraudulent activity at Full Tilt, and in any case the company's activity does not fall within the Illegal Gambling Business Act definition of operating an illegal gambling business.