US DoJ agrees to PokerStars acquisition
An announcement came this week from Full Tilt Poker that the US Department of Justice agreed to the acquisition of FTP by Pokerstars, in order to facilitate the payouts of players who are owed monies.
It has been specified that the three-way DoJ-Pokerstars-FTP deal will see the company's civil forfeiture proceedings with the U.S. Department of Justice end, but that criminal charges will remain.
Also, the deal envisages that PokerStars should pay a substantial amount of money to the United States – in the area of $330 million. In return, the government has agreed that all of Full Tilt Poker's U.S. players will be able to request a compensation for their losses out of those funds.
Things will also look better when PokerStars enables immediate cash withdrawal or play of the account balances for all of Full Tilt Poker's non-U.S. players, within ninety days. All together, the deal is estimated to be worth over $730 million with elements payable over three years.
On the occasion, FTP apologized to its customers, giving them credit for enduring a long and difficult period "wondering whether this day would ever come." They also expressed gratitude to its loyal employees "whose hard work over the last 15 months preserved the value of the Full Tilt Poker assets so a deal like this could be possible, and to PokerStars and the United States Department of Justice for their efforts in bringing about this resolution."
According to a FTP lawyer who played a very prominent role during the whole period, Jeff Ifrah, "Today, Full Tilt surrendered their assets to the U.S. Department of Justice, who then sold those assets to Poker Stars for $731 million. Of that payment, $330 million will be administered by the Justice Department's Asset Forfeiture Section to reimburse Full Tilt's U.S. players."
At the moment, it is not known if the deal will have any effect on a civil class action against FTP, filed by lead plaintiff Judy Fahrner in Illinois. It is claimed in the class action that, "Upon information and belief, Full Tilt's Board of Directors distributed approximately $443,860,529.89 to themselves and other owners between April, 2007 and April, 2011."
In related news, it has been reported that the DoJ has also achieved a deal with Absolute Poker and Ultimatebet, according to which those entities will forfeit all assets to the Department of Justice, and the government will abandon its massive civil claims against the companies in return.