Tuesday July 31,2012 : THIS TIME THE FULL TILT POKER RUMOURS ARE TRUE (Update)
FTP announces successful takeover negotiations
Late Tuesday afternoon GMT the Full Tilt Poker offices in Dublin issued a statement confirming rumours over the weekend that a deal has been hammered out that sees the US Department of Justice agree to the acquisition of FTP by Pokerstars, paving the way for players to be paid at last.
The company said the three-way DoJ-Pokerstars-FTP deal ends the company’s civil forfeiture proceedings with the U.S. Department of Justice, although criminal charges still remain in place.
Under the terms of the agreement, PokerStars will pay a substantial amount of money to the United States – believed to be around $330 million – and the government has agreed that all of Full Tilt Poker’s U.S. players will have an opportunity to request that they be compensated out of those funds for their losses.
In addition, within ninety days, PokerStars will make available for immediate cash withdrawal or play the account balances for all of Full Tilt Poker’s non-U.S. players.
The full value of the deal is believed to be in excess of $730 million with elements payable over three years.
Full Tilt Poker used its statement to apologise to its customers, who it noted had endured a long and difficult period "wondering whether this day would ever come."
The company also expressed its appreciation to its loyal employees "whose hard work over the last 15 months preserved the value of the Full Tilt Poker assets so a deal like this could be possible, and to PokerStars and the United States Department of Justice for their efforts in bringing about this resolution."
A lawyer representing FTP, Jeff Ifrah, issued a further statement advising:
"Today, Full Tilt surrendered their assets to the U.S. Department of Justice, who then sold those assets to Poker Stars for $731 million. Of that payment, $330 million will be administered by the Justice Department’s Asset Forfeiture Section to reimburse Full Tilt’s U.S. players."
It is not known at present whether the agreement impacts a civil class action recently filed by lead plaintiff Judy Fahrner in Illinois against FTP, alleging that the company removed over $443.8 million from players' accounts from April 2007 to April 2011 and fraudulently commingled players' funds with FTP operational finances, distributing these to individual defendants who were beneficiaries.
"Upon information and belief, Full Tilt's Board of Directors distributed approximately $443,860,529.89 to themselves and other owners between April, 2007 and April, 2011," the class action claims.
In related news, breaking reports suggest that a DoJ deal has also been cut with Absolute Poker and Ultimatebet, which will entail those entities forfeiting all assets to the Department of Justice in return for the government abandoning its massive civil claims against the companies.
Tuesday morning, the US Attorney in the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, requested that a federal court grant custody of all Absolute Poker assets.
Case 1:11-cv-02564-LBS on PACER records the following conclusion: “The Government respectfully requests that the Court (1) enter the Absolute Settlement; and (2) enter an order authorising the United States Marshals Service to take custody of the Absolute Assets and conduct an interlocutory sale of those assets. A proposed order is attached hereto.”