Former online poker payment processor to testify

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Mar 22, 2012 Posted in Legal Poker News, Online Poker News | No Comments »

In 2010 the Department of Justice made an arrest in Las Vegas that would prove to be instrumental in bringing down the online poker industry in the United States. Payment processor Daniel Tzvetkoff was arrested in Sin City for violation of the 2006 Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) and the 29-year-old Australian was quick to cooperate with law enforcement, thus avoiding a sentence of up to 75 years behind bars.

Now, just weeks before the 1-year anniversary of Black Friday, the Department of Justice has announced that Tzvetkoff will serve as a key witness in the upcoming trials of two of the men indicted on Black Friday, Chad Elie and John Campos. The Australian Associated Press broke the story yesterday, claiming that Tzvetkoff handed over 90,000 documents including personal correspondence between himself and Elie and Campos.

The defense team for the two men, including Elie’s lawyers, Barry Berke and Dani James, were particularly unhappy about the last-minute evidence produced by the prosecution, claiming they were hit with a “mountain of documents”, just before the trial. Berke and James further elaborated by saying, “For example, although the government had previously produced emails for Daniel Tzvetkoff, one of the government’s main witnesses in this case, the material we recently received revealed that Mr Tzvetkoff had deleted his emails from the Intabill server, which had previously been made available to the defence, and that the Tzvetkoff emails that were included in prior productions were therefore ones that Mr Tzvetkoff had cherry-picked for the government,”

“Only after we pointed this out to the government did we receive a full set of Mr Tzvetkoff’s materials, which included more than 90,000 documents and which we were able to access for the first time only yesterday.”

Tzvetfoff’s company Intabill is rumored to have processed roughly $1 billion in payments from online poker rooms up through 2009, when he allegedly stole some $100 million from the very same online poker companies he was processing payments for. Since his arrest, and subsequent cooperation with authorities, it is rumored that Tzvetkoff has been in the witness protection program.

Another widely held rumor is that it was some of these very same owners who tipped-off the DOJ that Tzvetkoff was in Las Vegas, setting him up for arrest. So if the rumors are accurate you could posit the theory that the owners of the online poker sites who served-up Tzvetkoff did so at their own peril, considering he went from defendant to informant in the blink of an eye, and could very well be the man who killed online poker in the US.

We’ll keep you posted as more details continue to come to light regarding this part of the Black Friday story.

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