02/06/2012 : TAPIE CONFIRMS LAWYERS FULL TILT COMMENTS (Update)
Company intends an in-depth investigation into poker pro's Full Tilt account histories
Laurent Tapie of Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT) has confirmed his lawyer Ben Dayanim's comments on monies owned by ex-Full Tilt professionals in an interview with iGaming France today (Monday).
Originally thought to be in the region of US$10 to US$20 million, Tapie confirmed that an amount of US$16.5 million is owed to Full Tilt by nineteen poker professionals, discovered following a due diligence audit.
Without singling out any particular player, Tapie confirmed that while some have shown willingness to settle their debt and have signed contracts to that effect, others have refused or have shown little interest in entering into dialogue with the company.
Tapie was clear in his assertion that Groupe Bernard Tapie would not be prepared to take on the extra costs generated by these players' debts and that their failure to honour their debts would block the takeover agreement.
His statement appears in full below, translated from French into English, courtesy of iGaming France:
"As written in PokerStrategy, the argument of the players who say ‘we will refund if the money goes to the players’ is misleading, since they know full well that the players will be refunded ONLY if GBT goes all the way with the takeover, and for that to happen it is necessary that the bulk of money owed by the pros is returned to Full Tilt.
Otherwise GBT will have to make up the shortfall, generating an additional cost to the overall operation that GBT is not willing to take on, especially as the financial position of Full Tilt, as it appears following the audit, is actually worse than expected.
Therefore the claim that this may block the deal unfortunately is true."
Tapie has further announced the company's intention to delve further into the account histories of each of the nineteen poker professionals in question, saying:
"The poker community, and particularly that made up of former Full Tilt players waiting to recover their funds, deserves to know the reality of the behaviour of some major poker figures who say they are ‘sorry about the Full Tilt player's situation and want to do everything they can to help them get their funds back, blaming the old management, but also refrain from saying how much they have borrowed from Full Tilt, and lost, playing on the site.
However these losses represent some of the funds owed to the players who are waiting to be reimbursed.
When you are a poker player, a great player at that, recognised and admired, the basic rule, it seems to me, is to honour your gambling debts."
Tapie has called on the errant poker professionals to ‘quickly' enter into dialogue with the company to facilitate a resolution.