Written On 5/6/11 By Recentpoker.com staff writer Frank Polliern :
Misunderstandings of Madeira Fjord communication alleged
In a move that appears to have been motivated by damage control following an MSNBC article that it may be going bankrupt (see previous InfoPowa reports), the Cereus online poker network has denied that the organisation is going bankrupt.
Blanca Games, which owns Cereus and its component online poker sites Absolute Poker.com and UB Poker.com, issued a statement late Thursday claiming: "The apparent confusion over this issue stems from the fact that Blanca recently informed a [Norwegian-based] debt holder, Madeira Fjord, that it was terminating debt payments to, and its relationship with them.
"As a result, Madeira Fjord apparently filed a notice of bankruptcy in Norway. This notice has no negative impact upon Blanca, the operating company, or its brands. As stated previously, Absolute Poker and UB continue to operate their non-U.S. facing business around the world."
There have been allegations that Madeira Fjord was part of an elaborate corporate "firewall" designed to distance major shareholders of the company from its operational activities.
The Blanca statement goes on to advise that Cereus has ceased US operations and is restructuring in order to focus its commercial efforts on the non-US poker and software business
"In order to have a more efficient and successful future business, an immediate need to downsize and streamline operations significantly at both online poker rooms has been required. Absolute Poker and UB continue to operate their non-U.S.-facing business," the statement notes.
The extensive lay-offs in the Costa Rica offices of the company are also addressed in the statement, which confirms that up to 80 percent of employees are being discharged, leaving a core of 20 percent in key positions to continue running the business.
The statement ends with assurances that the company's lawyers continue to participate in a dialogue with US Department of Justice officials, and that it is working hard to “return non-U.S. withdrawals to normal service levels as quickly as possible."
In related news, the federal prosecutors behind the Black Friday indictments filed a supplemental forfeiture request Thursday in Manhattan's federal court.
The order seeks to seize five homes that are connected to defendants in the indictments, one is owned by former Playboy Playmate Destiny Davis who married defendant Chad Elie shortly after his arrest three weeks ago (see previous InfoPowa reports). Davis' home was allegedly purchased last year in Las Vegas for $1.5 million.
The four other homes that prosecutors want to seize are owned or connected to Full Tilt Poker's Ray Bitar and are situated in Glendora, California.
The Full Tilt Poker representative on the twoplustwo message board, ‘FTPDoug' was again active as the week closed, keeping players up to date with developments at the company.
He posted: "We are continuing to work on facilitating the withdrawal of US Player funds. It remains our top priority, and we do apologize for the delay."
Later, he posted that from next week the company would:
* Convert all T$ to real money on a 1:1 basis.
* Convert all Tournament Tickets to real money on a 1:1 basis.
* Convert all Ring Game Tickets to real money based on the current value of the ticket, including any tickets that have expired since April 15.
* Pay out all pending Take 2 payments. Players who qualified for 3 to 6 days will get $5; those who qualified for 7 or more days, will get $25.
* Complete all pending rakeback/Cash Back payments.