Full Tilt Poker sale being held up by player loans

Posted by Steve Ruddock on Feb 03, 2012 Posted in Poker News | No Comments »

fulltiltpoker soldIt appears all of last week’s talk about Chris Ferguson single-handedly holding up the sale of Full Tilt Poker to Groupe Bernard Tapie (a deal being brokered by the United States Department of Justice) was off the mark, as it came to light today that player loans from Full Tilt Poker to certain owners, sponsored players, and other individuals, is actually the main sticking point.

In an interview with Gaming Intelligence, Groupe Bernard Tapie lawyer Behnam Dayanim told the outlet that after an audit of the Full Tilt Poker books they uncovered some $10 million to $20 million in unpaid loans made by Full Tilt Poker to a number of well known poker players, including Phil Ivey, David Benyamine, Erick Lindgren, Mike Matusow, and Barry Greenstein (Greenstein being the one player on the list not sponsored by Full Tilt Poker).

As with all Gaming Intelligence articles, the actual content resides behind a significant pay-wall, so here are some of the specifics of the article:

Dayanim stated that GBT is attempting to settle with these debtors before any deal is reached to purchase Full Tilt Poker in an effort to avoid having to file multiple lawsuits after purchasing the company –which would likely result in lengthy court cases and exorbitant attorney fees.

Dayanim also told Gaming Intelligence that while an important component, this is not the only issue preventing the sale of Full Tilt poker from going through: “The company has greater liabilities — excluding player liabilities — than we had hoped. The forfeiture would extinguish any U.S. claims to the assets but they do not necessarily extinguish creditor claims in other countries,”

When asked by PokerNews.com about these “other liabilities” Dayanim stated he was “not really at liberty to talk about that”, but that Full tilt Poker’s financial situation “is worse than they had anticipated”.

Dayanim summed up the issues in the following way:

“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,”

You can read more of the PokerNews Interview here [Interview with Behnam Dayanim] or check out the original Gaming Intelligence here [Phil Ivey Blocks Full Tilt Sale to Tapie].

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