In a “historic” deal that was brokered by the United States Department of Justice, Full Tilt Poker has agreed to forfeit its assets to the U.S. government which will then sell those assets to a French investment company, Groupe Bernard Tapie, who will acquire the assets of Full Tilt Poker for $80 million.
The agreement provides that Groupe Bernard Tapie will be responsible for paying all players outside of the United States while the DOJ will pay players in the United States provided they file a compensation request. However, there is no guarantee U.S. players will get that money back.
U.S. poker players had $150 million cash sitting in their player accounts at the time the site was shut down but were never paid by Full Tilt Poker. A total of $390 million is believed to be owed to players worldwide. Some of these funds would be reimbursed by the sales proceeds from GPT and some will come through funds seized by the U.S. government in foreign bank accounts associated with Full Tilt.
The deal will also allow for some money in seized bank accounts to be given to the GPT, according to the agreement letter, in effect reducing the actual sales price paid by GPT for FTP.
Groupe Bernard Tapie is seeking to restart the poker site’s non-U.S. business.
This is definitely good news for players who have lost their money in what has been called a “ponzi scheme” but there has been no talk about dropping charges against the three individuals named in the Black Friday indictment Ray Bitar, Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson.
Here is a statement from Full Tilt Poker early this morning:
Full Tilt Poker is pleased that the terms of the agreement between Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT) and the Department of Justice have been finalized, and that the agreement provides forGBT to repay or make whole players outside of the United States and provides a mechanism for U.S. players to get repaid.Since Black Friday, repaying customers has been FTP’s number one priority.
Ray Bitar, co-Founder and CEO of Full Tilt Poker stated: “I am extremely pleased with the efforts of the Department of Justice, and the Groupe Bernard Tapie corporation, and appreciate their continued dedication in working towards a mutually beneficial agreement that will facilitate repayment of the players .”
Now that the agreement with DOJ has been reached, GBT and Full Tilt Poker will now turn to memorializing the final terms of their agreement, to bring this matter to a complete resolution as soon as possible.
Full Tilt Poker would like to thank all its customers for their continued patience since Black Friday and during this negotiation process.
A two-thirds majority approval of Full Tilt Poker shareholders is still required for the deal to be finalized but it is expected that it will pass. Following the statement released by FTP, attorneys for FTP and GBT commented on the acquisition agreement between the parties involved.
“A letter of agreement with the DOJ has been executed,” said Groupe Bernard Tapie lawyer Benham Dayanim. “It states that in the event that the Full Tilt companies consent to a forfeiture of their assets, GBT will purchase those assets. This is the first major step in the process of a sale; the next steps include Full Tilt consenting to the forfeiture and a definitive final agreement with the DoJ.”
Jeff Ifrah, FTP’s lawyer, stated, “The deal is clearly historic. It’s an incredible achievement. A lot of thanks and gratitude are owed to both GBT and the DoJ. Clearly there remain a lot of questions on the logistics of a sale, including when players will get paid, how they’ll file claims, and when Full Tilt will become operational. I hope I can help obtain answers to those questions quickly, and make information available to players as soon as possible.”
Full Tilt players are now a step closer to getting their money. There is no estimate of when the site can expect to go live as there are still many unresolved issues including not having a gaming license.