02/03/2012 : POKER PROS COULD OWE FTP AS MUCH AS $20 MILLION
Lawyer tells online poker publication that due diligence has unearthed some interesting debts
Significant sums of money – between $10 and $20 million – are allegedly owed to embattled Full Tilt Poker by poker professionals like Phil Ivey, Mike Matusow, David Benyamine, Erick Lindgren and others according to a lawyer involved in the acquisition of FTP by the French company Groupe Bernard Tapie.
GBT attorney Behnam Dayanim told the respected publication Poker News that the debts were discovered during GBT's due diligence procedures associated with the acquisition negotiations.
"The due diligence process has indicated to us, or resulted in us understanding that the financial situation of the company is worse than we had anticipated, and there are a few significant obstacles that we need to sort out in order to get to closure," Dayanim told Poker News.
“We do not want to litigate a whole bunch of individual cases against professionals post-acquisition so we are trying to negotiate but we have not been making a lot of progress."
The lawyer used a fruity analogy in clarifying the situation to Poker News, saying:
"The analogy that I like to use is that if you think of the target as a shiny apple. At the start of the diligence process, you expect that there are going to be some bruises on that apple, but after you finish your diligence, the problem here is that there are more and deeper bruises than we had anticipated. The professionals’ obligations to the company are a larger and deeper bruise than we had hoped, and we have had less success than we had hoped in trying to brush off that bruise.
"Is this the issue that the deal will turn? I can’t say that, but it is a substantial issue. Without resolving it, it’s difficult to see a path forward to completion."
Asked whether the players involved had responded to the indebtedness question, Dayanim said that he could not comment on individual cases, but made a general comment that reactions have varied.
"In some cases, professionals or their attorneys have responded to at least discuss the matter, while others have not. As of yet, with very few exceptions, none have expressed a willingness to resolve the matter. The reason for immediate attention has resulted in some encouraging signs, but we’ll have to wait and see."
The lawyer said that GBT was still involved in the due diligence process.
The full Poker News interview can be read here:http://www.pokernews.com/news/2012/02/groupe-bernard-tapie-attorney-ivey-benyamine-other-pros-owe-11939.htm