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  1. #1
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    Default PokerStars acquires Full Tilt, all players (including U.S.) to be made whole

    After months of speculation, it appears that it's finally official and PokerStars has acquired the assets of Full Tilt Poker and will repay all U.S. player balances and provide funds for international players to either withdraw or use for play.

    http://diamondflushpoker.com/2012/07...ment-complete/

    The site is getting slammed with traffic right now, so it may not load if you're clicking on the link soon after this post is made. Some important notes from the story (Diamond Flush has incredible sources and has rarely been wrong):

    PokerStars is forfeiting $587 million to the U.S. government over three years.

    No criminal charges against PokerStars or Full Tilt folks have been dropped as a result of the civil settlement.

    U.S. players will have to submit a "petition for remission" with the U.S. DOJ in order to get paid.

    PokerStars' Isai Scheinberg will be forced to step down within 45 days.

    Vinism is going through all the details and will have a story later this afternoon.

  2. #2
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    PokerStars' has confirmed with a blog post.

    http://www.pokerstarsblog.com/corpor...oj-096492.html

    Today's announcement of our settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) closes one chapter in our corporate history and opens another.

    We have admitted to no wrong-doing with regard to our past U.S. operations and can now focus all of our energy and resources on advancing our global business, which now includes operating Full Tilt Poker. You can find details of the announcement at our PokerStars press center.

    We plan to re-open the Full Tilt site and, most importantly, we will make available all funds for players outside the U.S. within 90 days of the formal close of the deal, which will occur in the next seven days. The money paid to the US Government will in part be used to reimburse former Full Tilt Poker customers in the United States, through a remission process to be administered by the Department of Justice.

    Paying back Full Tilt players was a key component in our agreement to acquire the assets. This is not only important to the individual players who have had their bankrolls tied up for more than a year, but it's also vital to re-building trust in online poker and instilling confidence in the global poker economy.

    It's too early to begin disclosing many details about our strategic plans for Full Tilt, but our first order of business is to re-open the site, pay back all of the players and begin rebuilding Full Tilt's reputation. Going forward, we will operate Full Tilt as a separate brand, giving players another leading and trusted platform to enjoy the game. The re-launched Full Tilt site will bring back the innovative features, the authentic poker and the cutting-edge software that made it so popular with millions of players worldwide.

    Getting the site up-and-running and paying back players is a complex challenge involving technical, practical and logistical hurdles affecting millions of player accounts. We're confident we can work through the challenges and our track record as a responsible and responsive company will hopefully bring some comfort to the players that have waited so long for resolution. We ask for just a bit more time and patience as we sort through the details.

    One final word about the future U.S. market. Our settlement acknowledges that both PokerStars and Full Tilt are eligible to apply for a license in the U.S. to offer real money poker when states or the federal government offer such an opportunity. We look forward to this opportunity and are confident that we bring tremendous value, regulatory experience, market credibility and financial integrity to the marketplace.

    We're optimistic about the future and we look forward to sharing the next chapters in our history with you.

  3. #3
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    And here's the official PR from PokerStars. Interesting to note that quotes are from Mark Scheinberg and not Isai Scheinberg.

    POKERSTARS SETTLES DISPUTE WITH U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE AND ACQUIRES ASSETS OF FULL TILT POKER

    ONCHAN, ISLE OF MAN – July 31, 2012 – PokerStars today announced that the Company has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Southern District of New York. As part of the settlement agreement, PokerStars has also acquired the assets of Full Tilt Poker, and has committed to the full reimbursement of Full Tilt Poker customers outside the United States.

    The total amount to be paid by PokerStars is USD$547 million which will be payable over a period of three years. The money paid to the US Government will in part be used to reimburse former Full Tilt Poker customers in the United States, through a remission process to be administered by the Department of Justice. PokerStars repaid all amounts owing to its own U.S. customers shortly after it closed its U.S. operations.

    PokerStars will also make available in a segregated bank account, all outstanding balances owing to all non-U.S. customers of Full Tilt Poker (an amount totalling USD$184 million), with no restrictions on withdrawals, within 90 days of completing this transaction. PokerStars has remained open for non-U.S. players, with all its licenses in good standing, without interruptions.

    Under the agreement with the Department of Justice, PokerStars does not admit to any wrongdoing. Furthermore, the agreement explicitly permits PokerStars to apply to relevant U.S. gaming authorities, under both PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker brands, to offer real money online poker when State or Federal governments introduce a framework to regulate such activity.

    PokerStars plans to re-launch Full Tilt Poker in most markets as a separate brand, following the appointment of a new, independent management team. Full Tilt Poker’s operations will continue to be run from Dublin, but regulatory oversight will be transferred to the Isle of Man. Further details of these plans will be announced shortly.

    “We are delighted we have been able to put this matter behind us, and also secured our ability to operate in the United States of America whenever the regulations allow,” said Mark Scheinberg, Chairman of the Board of PokerStars. “This outcome demonstrates our continuing global leadership of the online poker industry, and our commitment to working with governments and regulators to ensure the highest standards of protection for players.”

    “Acquiring certain assets of Full Tilt Poker strengthens PokerStars, brings welcome relief to Full Tilt Poker players who have been waiting over 12 months for repayment of their money, and benefits the entire poker community. Full Tilt Poker’s customers outside the U.S. can soon look forward to accessing their accounts and playing on the re-launched site, confident that they are supported by PokerStars’ history of integrity and our track record of delivering high-quality and secure online poker.”

    "The way we have operated our business since the U.S. Department of Justice brought its claim has underlined our credentials as a responsible online poker operator,” Scheinberg continued. “In particular, the prompt repayment of our former US customers in as quick a time frame as possible demonstrated our industry-leading commitment to the segregation of customer funds. We continue to encourage jurisdictions all over the world to introduce sensible online poker regulation.”

  4. #4
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    And here's the DOJ's press release. Note the July 30, 2012 date ... clearly they had this ready to go yesterday but didn't get it out until today.

    http://www.justice.gov/usao/nys/pres...ettlement.html

    Manhattan U.S. Attorney Announces $731 Million Settlement Of Money Laundering And Forfeiture Complaint With Pokerstars And Full Tilt Poker
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASEMonday July 30, 2012
    Settlement Requires PokerStars to Forfeit $547 Million and Full Tilt to Forfeit Virtually All of Its Assets

    Funds to Be Made Available for Compensation to U.S. and Foreign Victims

    Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced today that the United States has entered into settlement agreements with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker - two of three online poker companies sued by the U.S. in a money laundering and forfeiture complaint that was originally filed in April 2012 - that were approved today by U.S. District Judge Leonard B. Sand. Under the terms of the settlement with Full Tilt Poker (“Full Tilt”), the company agreed to forfeit virtually all of its assets (the “Forfeited Full Tilt Assets”) to the U.S. to fully resolve the charges in the complaint. Under the terms of the settlement with PokerStars, the company agreed to forfeit $547 Million to the U.S. and to reimburse the approximately $184 million owed by Full Tilt to foreign players, in order to fully resolve the allegations in the complaint. The settlement further provides that PokerStars will acquire the Forfeited Full Tilt Assets from the Government. Full Tilt’s U.S. fraud victims will be able to seek compensation for their losses from the Department of Justice from the $547 million forfeited by PokerStars.

    Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “We are pleased to announce these settlements by Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, which allow us to quickly get significant compensation into the victim players’ hands. Today’s settlements demonstrate that if you engage in conduct that violates the laws of the United States, as we alleged in this case, then even if you are doing so from across the ocean, you will have to answer for that conduct and turn over your ill-gotten gains.”

    Under the terms of the settlement with Full Tilt, U.S. victims of the company’s alleged fraud will be able to seek compensation from the Department of Justice (“DOJ”). The funds that will be used to compensate qualifying victims will come from the $547 million that will be forfeited by PokerStars as part of its settlement with the Government.

    In addition to forfeiting $547 million to the U.S., under the terms of the settlement with PokerStars, the company must make available to foreign players all balances that were held in the Full Tilt accounts within 90 days; the amount of those balances is approximately $184 million. Pokerstars will also acquire the Forfeited Full Tilt Assets from the Government.
    PokerStars’ acquisition of the Forfeited Full Tilt Assets will be complete upon the Government’s receipt of a $225 million payment from PokerStars, which must take place within six days of the entrance of today’s settlement.

    Additional terms of the PokerStars settlement include:

    Within 45 days of the acquisition of the Forfeited Full Tilt Assets, Isai Scheinberg, who is presently under indictment in a related criminal case, shall not serve in any management or director role at PokerStars. This provision is subject to re-evaluation by the parties upon the resolution of the criminal case.

    PokerStars is also prohibited from employing, or otherwise hiring, Full Tilt Poker insiders Raymond Bitar, Howard Lederer, Rafael Furst, Chris Ferguson, and Nelson Burtnick. Bitar and Burtnick are also named as defendants in a related criminal Indictment. Bitar, Lederer, Furst, and Ferguson are named as civil money-laundering defendants in this complaint.

    PokerStars is prohibited from offering online poker in the U.S. for real money unless and until it is legal to do so under U.S. law.

    The Government will maintain a portion of the $547 million forfeited by PokerStars as a substitute for the forfeited Full Tilt assets to cover the litigation of claims by other parties asserting interests in the Forfeited Full Tilt Assets.

    The settlements entered today with regard to Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, and the proposed settlement with regard to Absolute Poker, do not constitute admissions of any wrongdoing, culpability, liability, or guilt by any parties. Under the terms of a “domain name use” agreement entered into between PokerStars and the Government on April 20, 2011, the company previously settled its accounts with U.S. players.

    In a related matter, the U.S. Attorney’s office also filed a motion requesting that the Court enter a settlement agreement reached with Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet that requires the company to forfeit all of its assets (the “Absolute Assets”) in order to fully resolve this action. The motion also requests that the Government be permitted to liquidate the Absolute Assets, with the net proceeds of that sale to be held pending the resolution of claims filed by other parties who have asserted an ownership interest in the Absolute Assets.

    The following allegations are based on the Amended Civil Forfeiture Complaint filed in September and the Indictments returned in the related criminal action:

    On October 13, 2006, the United States enacted the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (“UIGEA”), making it a federal crime for gambling businesses to “knowingly accept” most forms of payment “in connection with the participation of another person in unlawful Internet gambling.” Despite the passage of the UIGEA, Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars, and Absolute Poker/Ultimate Bet (“the Poker Companies”), each located offshore, continued operating in the United States. Because U.S. banks and credit card issuers were largely unwilling to process their payments, the Poker Companies allegedly used fraudulent methods to circumvent federal law and deceive these financial institutions into processing payments on their behalf. For example, the Poker Companies arranged for the money received from U.S. gamblers to be disguised as payments to hundreds of non-existent online merchants purporting to sell merchandise such as jewelry and golf balls. Of the billions of dollars in payment transactions that the Poker Companies deceived U.S. banks into processing, approximately one-third or more of the funds went directly to the Poker Companies as revenue through the “rake” charged to players on almost every poker hand played online.

    To accomplish their fraud, the Poker Companies worked with an array of highly compensated “payment processors” who obtained accounts at U. S. banks for the Poker Companies. The payment processors lied to banks about the nature of the financial transactions they were processing, and covered up those lies, by, among other things, creating phony corporations and websites to disguise payments to the Poker Companies. For example, a PokerStars document from May 2009 acknowledged that they received money from U.S. gamblers through company names that “strongly imply the transaction has nothing to do with PokerStars,” and that PokerStars used whatever company names “the processor can get approved by the bank.”

    Full Tilt Poker further defrauded players by misrepresenting that player funds on deposit in online gambling accounts were safe, secure, and available for withdrawal at any time. In reality, the company did not maintain funds sufficient to repay all players, and instead, utilized players’ funds to distribute more than $400 million to Full Tilt’s owners. By March 31, 2011, two weeks before the initial complaint in this action was unsealed, Full Tilt Poker owed approximately $390 million to players around the world, including approximately $160 million to players in the United States. At that time, Full Tilt Poker had only approximately $60 million on deposit in its bank accounts. Full Tilt Poker’s scheme continued even after the civil forfeiture action commenced and the related criminal Indictment was unsealed in April 2011. Full Tilt Poker continued accepting foreign player funds despite the fact that it had liabilities to players around the world for over $300 million, yet held only a small fraction of that amount in its bank accounts.

    Eleven defendants were charged criminally in connection with the original Internet poker Indictment, seven of whom have been arrested. The defendants who have been arrested are: Raymond Bitar; Bradley Franzen; Ryan Lang; Ira Rubin; Brent Beckley; Chad Elie; and John Campos. All of the seven defendants except Bitar have each pled guilty and await sentencing with the exception of Campos, who was sentenced in June 2012 to three months in prison. Charges are still pending against the remaining four defendants – Nelson Burtnick, Isai Scheinberg, Paul Tate, and Scott Tom who remain at large. The charges and accusations against them are allegations and they are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara praised the FBI for its outstanding leadership in the investigation, which he noted is ongoing.

    This matter is being handled by the Office’s Asset Forfeiture and Complex Frauds Unit. Assistant U. S. Attorneys Sharon Cohen Levin, Michael Lockard, Jason Cowley, and Andrew Goldstein are in charge of the civil money laundering and forfeiture action. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Arlo Devlin-Brown, Nicole Friedlander and Niketh Velamoor are in charge of the criminal case.
    Last edited by The Buzz; 31 July 2012 at 11:42 am. Reason: added link

  5. #5
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    Finally some good news for all the players that had money tied up in FTP!
    I am here to help if you have any issues with an affiliate program.
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  6. #6
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    Here's vinism's take on today's news.

    PokerStars settles with DOJ, buys Full Tilt Poker

    By Vin Narayanan

    PokerStars has a reached settlement agreement with U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that includes the purchase of Full Tilt Poker.

    PokerStars will pay the DOJ $547 million to settle bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering charges. Part of that money will be used to pay money owed to American players by Full Tilt Poker. American players owed money will have to apply to the DOJ's Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section for reimbursement. The charges were first filed on April 15, 2011.

    The $547 million-payment will be spread out over three years according to PokerStars.

    Additionally, PokerStars will set aside $184 million to reimburse players outside of the U.S. The money will be made available "with no restrictions on withdrawals, within 90 days of completing this transaction," according to a statement by PokerStars.

    The settlement also includes the purchase of Full Tilt Poker. PokerStars admits "no wrongdoing" in the settlement agreement.

    The settlement ends the DOJ action's against the Full Tilt Poker as a corporate entity. But Full Tilt's principals are not out of trouble.

    The criminal proceedings against former CEO Ray Bitar and former processing chief Nelson Burtnick will continue. As will civil proceedings against Bitar, Howard Lederer, Rafael Furst and Chris Ferguson.

    PokerStars is prohibited from hiring all of them.

    PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg will be required to exit the company as the part of the settlement. Scheinberg still faces criminal charges of bank fraud, money laundering, illegal gambling offenses and violating the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA).

    Scheinberg may be allowed to work for PokerStars after his criminal case is settled. "This ... is subject to re-evaluation by the parties upon the resolution of the criminal case," reads the DOJ statement on the settlement.

    "PokerStars is prohibited from offering online poker in the U.S. for real money unless and until it is legal to do so under U.S. law.," the DOJ statement adds.

    Full Tilt forfeited all of its assets to the DOJ to settle its case. Full Tilt did not admit to any guilt or wrongdoing as part of the settlement. But the forfeiture cleared the way for PokerStars to buy Full Tilt.

    PokerStars acquisition of Full Tilt will be complete when the DOJ receives "a $225 million payment from PokerStars, which must take place within six days of the entrance of today’s settlement," according to the DOJ statement.

    The DOJ will also be "given continued access to the Full Tilt Group's database for the purposes of extracting information necessary to effectuate a remission process...for the Full Tilt Group's former U.S. players, the administration of which shall be the sole responsibility of the United States.

    "We are pleased to announce these settlements by Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, which allow us to quickly get significant compensation into the victim players’ hands," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement announcing the settlements. "Today’s settlements demonstrate that if you engage in conduct that violates the laws of the United States, as we alleged in this case, then even if you are doing so from across the ocean, you will have to answer for that conduct and turn over your ill-gotten gains."

    PokerStars hopes the DOJ settlement will help it gain a foothold in a regulated American market. "We are delighted we have been able to put this matter behind us, and also secured our ability to operate in the United States of America whenever the regulations allow," said Mark Scheinberg, chairman of the board of PokerStars.

    "This outcome demonstrates our continuing global leadership of the online poker industry, and our commitment to working with governments and regulators to ensure the highest standards of protection for players," Scheinberg added.

    Whether PokerStars will be deemed suitable to operate in the U.S. will ultimately be left up to the regulators.

    The other online poker rooms charged in the Black Friday indictments -- Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet (UB) -- reached a settlement agreement that requires them to forfeit their assets so the DOJ can sell them. Neither Absolute Poker nor UB admitted to any guilt as part of the agreement.

    The assets will be sold "with the net proceeds of that sale to be held pending the resolution of claims filed by other parties who have asserted an ownership interest in the Absolute Assets," the DOJ said.

  7. #7
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    U.S. players will have to submit a "petition for remission" with the U.S. DOJ in order to get paid.
    why petition for remission , when by this time next year ...poker will probably be regulated in the U.S. ?

    ohhhhhh, I forgot.. The U.S. Gov considers offshore folks as the bad guys..

    surely, these will be the political pushing points as well in the months ahead.

    We'll give you your money back....as long as u stay away from them offshore folk.

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    Anyone know if affiliates are considered "players" as I had funds in my affiliate account when we were locked out...

  9. #9
    lots0 is offline Former Public Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by boczom1 View Post
    why petition for remission , when by this time next year ...poker will probably be regulated in the U.S. ?

    ohhhhhh, I forgot.. The U.S. Gov considers offshore folks as the bad guys..

    surely, these will be the political pushing points as well in the months ahead.

    We'll give you your money back....as long as u stay away from them offshore folk.
    Actually I think it is more like..."We want you to admit that you broke the law in writing, BEFORE we give you any money."
    FT owes me a couple of K, I will let them keep all of it before I admit in writing that I broke a federal law that could put me in jail for YEARS...
    Besides, I don't believe I broke any Constitutionally valid laws.

    Don't trust the DOJ... they are bigger liars and thieves than Cosa Nostra ever was.
    Last edited by lots0; 31 July 2012 at 4:55 pm.

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  11. #10
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    I hope the fraudsters go to jail. For years, they flitted through the television.
    With the money of the players ...
    Black hat cowboy!

  12. #11
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    I was always under the impression that the federal law only forbid accepting bets - not act of placing them. The UIGEA doesn't mention anything about citizens betting online, it only addresses the action of banks processing the fund for gambling.

    But then again, I don't have any money owed to me. Not sure what I would do in this situation.

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