Thursday,  November 3, 2011 :  HAS A FULL TILT POKER DEAL WITH U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT BEEN ACHIEVED?
 
Subject to shareholder approval, players may yet get paid
 
Reports from different sources hold out the hope this week that Full Tilt Poker players may at last be paid….perhaps by the US Justice Department following an alleged agreement between prospective Full Tilt Poker owners Groupe Bernard Tapie, FTP and the US enforcement officials holding all the cards – and most of the money – at present.
 
The knowledgeable online poker information site Subject Poker started the ball rolling with a report Tuesday that the Group Bernard Tapie acquisition has been progressed following an agreement with the US Department of Justice. The deal is apparently subject to approval from FTP shareholders, and players will benefit by being paid (presumably from seized funds) by the DoJ.
 
Subject Poker published what it claimed was an authentic email from Full Tilt chief Ray Bitar to Tiltware shareholders which has been confirmed by several independent sources. The email advised:
 
"I am pleased to announce that today the Department of Justice and Groupe Bernard Tapie have reached an agreement in principle regarding the acquisition of the companies comprising Full Tilt Poker.
 
"My understanding is the deal provides that in exchange for an agreed upon payment by GBT, and a GBT commitment to assume responsibility for payment of ROW players, DoJ will reimburse US players and settle the outstanding civil litigation with the companies comprising FTP. Beyond these conditions, issues like the time frame and process for repayment of players remain unclear at this point and time.
 
"With DoJ’s consent now in hand, GBT may now proceed to finalize an agreement to acquire the companies or assets that comprise FTP.  That agreement will very likely address the status of your shares or interests in the successor company. When I receive that agreement, I will coordinate with our attorneys to ensure  the terms of that proposed agreement will be shared with the membership and voted on."
 
The report, which can be found here: http://www.subjectpoker.com/2011/11/breaking-gbt-doj-deal/ says that final details are still being worked out between GBT and the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. Once these are finalised, Groupe Bernard Tapie will be able to propose a deal to acquire Full Tilt Poker directly to shareholders, a two thirds vote being required to progress the takeover.
 
Apparently Groupe Bernard Tapie will assume responsibility of Full Tilt’s debt to non-US players and the US Department of Justice will set up a fund to repay owed US players.
 
A US lawyer who appears to be at the heart of FTP deal-making, making several insider disclosures to selected media in the past, Jeff Ifrah, independently seemed to confirm the news, telling Card Player magazine that he had not yet seen the final paperwork but believed that a deal in principle had been agreed.
 
The Justice Department has thus far made no comment.