Update: Ray Bitar to Remain in Prison

Update: Ray Bitar to Remain in Prison
FTP CEO to stay in detention until bail conditions are met

After he surrendered to US federal authorities on July 2, stringent bail conditions have been imposed on Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar, but were later on suspended by a New York federal court Friday, which instead ruled that he should stay in jail over the weekend.

This ruling was passed even though Bitar's legal representatives testified that he is in a position to meet the imposed bail conditions: $2.4 million - a million of it in hard cash - and the surrender his passport, along with territorial restrictions on his movements.

Still, this apparently was not enough for the court which was apparently swayed by federal prosecutors who insisted that Bitar should remain in jail because of the charges in a new indictment unsealed after his detention.

In addition, the prosecutors claimed that these severe charges may even result in him absconding, so it filed a motion for pre-trial detention, leading to a protracted legal debate on the issue. All this led to the suspension of the bail by Judge Paul Engelmayer, pending a hearing before Judge Lewis Kaplan.

In terms of federal submissions on the Bitar case, it appears that he had considered returning to the States as early as in March 2011 being urged to do so by the Department of Justice. Also, according to the federal documents, Bitar defeated a shareholder revolt in the company on grounds that: “...his role at the company was too critical, and that he and only he could raise money from new investors who might acquire a controlling stake in the company to support its continued operations outside the United States.”

In addition, it is specified that the DoJ firmly believes Bitar was well aware that FTP was by then a Ponzi scheme, and that his control drive was actually a desire to prevent the entire scheme from being revealed so that he could keep authorizing his own paychecks, which brought him “over $2 million in salary payments” between Black Friday and his surrender to the US authorities, and “at least” $40 million whilst he was in charge, “...and has provided no accounting for where those funds now are.”

Also, it has been asserted by the government that “earlier this year, the defendant attempted to access over $24 million held in his name in a foreign bank account that had not been listed in the Indictment or restraining order, and of which the Government had not been aware … The recent discovery of these accounts raises questions about Bitar's willingness to comply with the restraining order … and about what other overseas accounts Bitar may have.”
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