UPDATED After more than a year of wondering if their account balances at Full Tilt Poker would ever be worth more than monopoly money, the site’s online player base may breathe easier today, as an agreement has been finalized that will allow them to be reunited with their online bankrolls.
The agreement, approved by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, allows Full Tilt to voluntarily forfeit all assets to the US government. Such forfeiture is contingent that the USAO then transfer certain of those assets to PokerStars. In return for the forfeiture, the government agrees that all civil forfeiture claims and money laundering charges against the Full Tilt companies, as documented in the amended civil complaint, be dismissed with prejudice. There are absolutely no conditions that require any civil or criminal charges lodged against any Full Tilt related individuals to be dismissed or otherwise resolved, in whole or in part, as part of this agreement.
Provided for in the deal, PokerStars agrees to forfeit the amount of $ 547,000,000. to the US government over three years. By doing so, all civil forfeiture and money laundering claims, as specified in the amended civil complaint against all named PokerStars companies shall be dismissed with prejudice. No criminal charges currently facing PokerStars related individuals are in any way resolved as part of the agreement, and these charges were never a part of the negotiation for this settlement. Once the asset transfer has been completed, and within a period not to exceed 90 days, PokerStars committed to make available for immediate withdrawal, without limitation or restriction, other than required by applicable law, the online poker account balances of non USA Full Tilt Poker players. Such an amount is expected to equal approximately $ 184 million in total. While compensating Full Tilt’s non US players for any other assets, like FTP points, etc., over their balances is not a part of the agreement, I was told by PokerStars sources that the company plans to have fair resolution for these assets. The settlement was negotiated by Anand Raman, John Caroll and David Zornow of Skadden,Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom for the PokerStars companies.
U.S. players with account balances outstanding, will be compensated separately. U.S. victims of the offenses allegedly committed by the FTP companies or other members of the FTP group as put forth in the amended civil complaint, shall have the opportunity to file a petition for remission with the U.S. Department of Justice, Asset Forfeiture Money Laundering Service (AFMLS), taking into regard the PokerStars forfeited funds, to seek compensation for their losses. The value of the remission applications is expected to be approximately $ 150 million. For clarity of compensation purposes, US players and “rest of world” players shall be categorized based on their verified and approved locations on the Full Tilt site as of June 29, 2011. 1
In order to effectuate the purchase of assets alongside the corporate civil settlement, Isai Scheinberg will, within 45 days of closing, withdraw from and not serve in any managerial or director role at any PokerStars company, including any entity that may own or operate any of the forfeited Full Tilt assets or their present or future affiliates. This part of the agreement may be revisited by the parties, without order of the court, upon resolution of the Black Friday criminal case.
Further part of the agreement, neither the Full Tilt Poker companies or PokerStars companies admit to any wrongdoing, nor do either of the companies affirm, or the government deny, the merits of any charges. Once the forfeiture is completed, the domain name use agreement of both companies will be terminated and the in rem arrest warrants will no longer apply. The government agrees to petition that the restraining orders be lifted. Both Full Tilt Poker companies and PokerStars companies, or any present or future entities controlled by those companies or their principals, cannot offer online poker for real money play in the USA until and unless it is permissible under relevant law. Neither company can ever make any claim vs the USA, the FBI or the USAO SDNY resulting from the forfeiture or any properties seized relative to the civil charges. Full Tilt agrees to withdraw all claims against any seized or otherwise restrained assets. PokerStars agrees to release any claims to accounts of non-PokerStars entities. The value of PokerStars accounts restrained as a result of the civil action will be released by the DOJ.
The Full Tilt Companies forfeiting their assets include: B.T. Management, Dromane Limited, Filco (Holdings) Limited, Filco Limited, Fitzroche Limited, Graybel Limited, Irolo (Italy) Limited, Kolyma Corporation AVV, Ludus Limited, Cyprus, Media Management GmbH, My West Nook Limited ,Oxalic Limited, Orinic Limited, Pocket Kings Consulting Limited, Pocket Kings Limited, Ranston Limited, Real Media Limited, Rekop Limited, Rosbull Limited, Rullan Joyce Limited, Tiltproof Limited, Tiltware LLC., Tiltware Merchandise Services LLC. and Vantage Limited. The settlement was negotiated by Jeff Ifrah of Ifrah Law, Barry Boss and Anne Madonia of Cozen O’Connor for the Full Tilt Companies.
The forfeited assets include:
- Accounts receivable or monies owed on date of forfeiture or later
- All gaming data and history relating to the business, computer records, database, operating reports, and any reconciliation files
- All tangible property
- Documents that are used in, or intended to be used in, the Full Tilt business
- Any rights under NDA’s
- All rights of supplier agreements, etc
- All cash and equivalents in bank accounts etc
- All intellectual property
- All other intangible property
- Customer and supplier databases since inception of the company
- All present and potential claims against any third party
- Any other assets of the Full Tilt Group used in the operation of business not expressly excluded
At this time, a specific date for relaunch of the former Full Tilt Poker site is unclear, but PokerStars sources confirm that it’s a priority to see this happen as soon as possible, certainly within the prescribed 90 day time frame as set forth in the agreement.
For the past many many months, all parties have been restricted from releasing any public information regarding the negotiations until every part of the settlement had been executed and accepted by the court. Diamond Flush Poker has been mindful not to overstep those boundaries to protect the continuation of the negotiations which could have been put in jeopardy, or any other sanctions that may have occurred by a premature release of information.
Edit 8/1/12 : adjust wording for clarity
- Update edit reflects change in qualification dates from April 14 to June 29, 2011 to determine ROW or U.S. players. Apologies for any confusion. ↩