It’s hard to believe that there would come a day when poker scandal and all of its development would center around Full Tilt Poker, while the words Cereus, Ultimate Bet or Absolute poker would be lucky to be mentioned in a forum thread. At the same time that any little crumb from the Alderney Gambling Control Commission makes online media front page news, very little attention seems to be focused on the Kahnawake Gambling Commission and news about it?s license holders. Well, for those interested, it seems the KGC did release a new statement on October 27th, regarding UB/Absolute poker.
“Over the past several weeks, we were advised of a potential solution prepared by Blanca and it’s representatives, establishing a process to liquidate Blanca’s assets and distribute proceeds to players. We understand that this process has been presented to SDNY for consideration and approval” stated the official Kahnawake release, proceeded by statements of having “been in close and regular discussions with it’s licensee” regarding Absolute and UB?s plan for player reimbursement since the DOJ actions taken by the US Attorneys Office of the “SDNY” on April 15th.
In what could be visualized and imagined as “spoken” with in a firm tone, the KGC announcement closes with “The Commission’s foremost concern in this matter has been, and remains, the reimbursement of both US and non-US players, as quickly and as completely as possible. To avoid further prejudice to affected players, the Commission has demanded that all parties complete their discussions and implement a reimbursement solution without further delay.”
So there we have it. They have been told, though the words “as completely as possible” seem to have a little “give” and much like what has recently reported on the potential sale of Full Tilt Poker, it’s the small details in the big picture that raise concerns.
Many believe that the Cereus sites have already closed their doors, when in fact as of last week, though traffic is next to non-existent, people have still been playing hands there and like Full Tilt Poker Customers, trying to retrieve any money still owed to them.
Those reports from various that have trickled out over the past few months seem to indicate that UB and Absolute owe players $10,000,000 or more. On top of that there is another complicated issue (best explained by source Pokeraddict.net) of $250,000,000 in “notes” originally put up in as for Madeiria Fjord, a group of shareholders that was given the “on paper” money by Tokwiro along with $1,000,000 for ownership of UB and Absoulute, with the idea that 12% in interest per year would be paid out to share holders as dividends on the sum each year. The entity had a secondary operation in a tax-free island off Portugal; the move was supposed to create a buffer between shareholders and the UIGEA or Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act passed by the USA Congress in 2006.
In the end, it left many of Absolute Poker’s stock holders high and dry, while Madeira Fjord was said to have secretly built duplicate software with servers in Panama, then set up shop in Antigua as Blanca Games. The move supposedly came on the heels of angry shareholders petitioning Norway’s courts to force a meeting of Madeira Fjord to explain the lack of information and dividends cheques, though we are told the $250,000,000 in notes were cancelled in order to avoid a multi-million dollar tax liability that was originally overlooked. The next plan was to sell the company and get out, but then Black Friday came, adding as much as 1 billion in government civil actions to the companies liabilities.
In the meantime, since the DOJ seizures on April 15th, UB had entered an agreement with the DOJ to pay back players if the domain was returned. Since shortly after, press releases stopped coming from Blanca Games and players were given small withdrawal allowances, reported maximums of $250-$1000 a week depending on the player, with no real rhyme or reason. With each transaction taking a up to a month or more to process, it is also being said that this makes it impossible for players to claim even those small amount less than every 6 weeks and it seems for some, the cashier option has been completely missing at times. From every angle Absolute Poker and UB are definitely taking their last few breaths and will certainly be in the headlines next week when their October 31st deadline hits to report and answer to the Department of Justice.
Many in the media expect that the DOJ will crucify them via the press in the “global ponzi scheme” fashion that was presented for Full Tilt Poker, but we will just have to wait and see if their “plan to liquidate assets and distribute” is good enough. One also has to wonder, will the interests of the shareholders also be considered here and which will be considered more of a priority as things start to be converted to cash?