4/23/2012 : TZVETKOFF SURFACES IN NEW YORK
And there's a photograph to prove it….
In a quiet weekend, an article in the Sunday edition of the Australian newspaper Courier-Mail livened up the online gambling news scene by reporting that erstwhile payment processor and alleged FBI informant Daniel Tzvetkoff had been spotted strolling about in New York with his family.
The twenty-nine-year-old, formerly high-living Brisbane financial whiz was apparently unrestricted, although he hinted when approached by reporters that "protection" was in the vicinity.
Tzvetkoff was last seen back in June 2010 when he was whisked away by FBI agents following his arrest earlier that year at a Las Vegas conference. He was reportedly incarcerated in a New York jail.
Enforcement authorities remained secretive regarding his whereabouts, and reports started to surface that he was actively cooperating with them to save his own skin on allegations that he had processed up to a billion dollars in US internet gambling transactions for major poker companies.
Court documents suggested that he had made available 90,000 incriminating documents and communications, would give evidence in support of Department of Justice charges against major operators, and was instrumental in the successful shutdown in the USA of Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker on Black Friday.
Ironically, his arrest and subsequent assistance to US authorities was reportedly brought about by a tip-off that Tzvetkoff would be in Las Vegas that came from an operator. It has been claimed that the operator was aggrieved over a $100 million shortfall in funds handled by Tzvetkoff's company Intabill, and was trying for a little pay-back; if that is true, it backfired spectacularly.
It is not clear from the reports what the Courier-Mail was doing in New York or how it tracked Tzvetkoff and his family down; suffice it to say that a reporter approached them in Mott Street, Chinatown having recognised Tzvetkoff, and challenged him.
"No that's not me,” Tzvetkoff is reported to have said, refusing to answer questions.
Then he hinted that he may be under protection, saying:
"Look, you're going to get in a lot of trouble. There are people with us who you're going to be in trouble with,” he said, gesturing behind him, and reiterating that the reporter could be getting into hot water.
Still refusing to answer questions, Tzvetkoff then apparently hailed a passing cab, bundled his family into it and drove off.
The Courier-Mail report notes that after he was detained in 2009, federal authorities "…vigorously fought to keep Tzvetkoff in jail after his arrest, including successfully overturning a Las Vegas judge's decision to grant Tzvetkoff bail.
"Tzvetkoff was transferred to a New York jail and sat there until June 2010 but, after secret dealings sealed by judges, he disappeared."
Several payment processors allegedly implicated by Tzvetkoff's collaboration have since entered guilty pleas, obviating the necessity for him to appear in court for the state.
However, he could yet be put up as a star witness in criminal charges against the online poker site operators that have been the subject of Black Friday indictments.