Full Tilt breaks silence on payment issues

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Aug 31, 2011 Posted in Legal Poker News, Online Poker News | No Comments »

As was promised by Full Tilt Poker attorney Jeff Ifrah during his weekend correspondence on 2+2, the first detailed statement was issued by the beleaguered poker site on Wednesday, and for the first time we received the Full Tilt side of the story as to why they have yet to repay their customers. While the statement is far more detailed than anything put out in the past, it is chock-full of finger pointing, and many in the poker world feel it is simply too late in coming.

Here is a look at the statement that was released in its entirety:

As is obvious from the events that have transpired since April 15th, Full Tilt Poker was not prepared for the far-reaching, US government enforcement effort of Black Friday.

The events of Black Friday came on the heels of prior government enforcement activities and significant theft. Over the two years preceding Black Friday, the US government seized approximately $115M of player funds located in U.S. banks. While we believed that offering peer-to-peer online poker did not violate any federal laws—a belief supported by many solid and well-reasoned legal opinions — the DOJ took a different view. In addition, as was widely reported, a key payment processor stole approximately $42M from Full Tilt Poker. Until April 15th, Full Tilt Poker had always covered these losses so that no player was ever affected. Finally, during late 2010 and early 2011, Full Tilt Poker experienced unprecedented issues with some of its third-party processors that greatly contributed to its financial problems. While the company was on its way to addressing the problems caused by these processors, Full Tilt Poker never anticipated that the DOJ would proceed as it did by seizing our global domain name and shutting down the site worldwide.

Over the last four months, Full Tilt Poker has been actively exploring opportunities with outside investors in order to stabilize the company and pay back our players. At least six of those groups, including hedge funds, operators of other internet businesses and individual investors, have visited Dublin to inspect the operation. We have recently engaged an additional financial advisor through an investment banking group to assist us in our search for an infusion of cash as well as a new management team to restore the site and repay players. While any deal of this nature is necessarily complex given the current regulatory environment, our players should know that Full Tilt Poker is fully committed to paying them back in full and restoring confidence in our operations.

My thoughts on the matter are that if this statement had been issued in late April or early May the poker world would have been far more forgiving. As it played out, with Full Tilt keeping quiet for months, as well as using a number of stalling tactics, the statement which may be 100% accurate is likely to fall on many deaf ears, as the site’s frustrated player base has already formed their opinions of the site’s motives and ability to be forthright.

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