PokerStars Purchase of Full Tilt Finalized, Isai Scheinberg to Step Down

37

According to ESPN, the PokerStars Blog, and Diamond Flush Poker, the asset acquisition of Full Tilt Poker by its former chief rival, PokerStars, has been completed. According to the latter source, “The agreement, approved by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, allows Full Tilt to voluntarily forfeit all assets to the U.S. 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.”

Diamond Flush revealed that PokerStars will forfeit $547 million to U.S. authorities over a period of 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.” PokerStars’ executives Isai Scheinberg and Paul Tate were among 11 individuals targeted on Black Friday in April 2011.

When Full Tilt’s assets have been transferred over to PokerStars, the world’s largest online poker site will supposedly allow non-U.S. players to withdraw their Full Tilt balances, according to Diamond Flush. U.S. players, on the other hand, will need to communicate with the U.S. Government in order to be repaid.

Speaking on U.S. cashouts, Diamond Flush wrote that the process will likely be a bit more complicated than non-U.S. users: “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.”

PokerStars will not admit any wrongdoing, which seemingly opens the door for the site to reenter the U.S. market when legislation exists. To that end, PokerStars Chairman of the Board Mark Scheinberg commented in a company press release on Tuesday, “We are delighted we have been able to put this matter behind us, and also secured our ability to operate in the United States of America whenever the regulations allow.”

PocketFives has learned that Full Tilt will “re-launch as a second brand to PokerStars” within 90 days. Our same source noted that PokerStars is only assuming liability for balances of non-U.S. players, as U.S. players will need to go through the DOJ in order to be reunited with their funds.

Full Tilt commented in a press release that popped up in a PocketFives thread, “Full Tilt Poker apologizes to all of its customers who endured a long and difficult period wondering whether this day would ever come.” Over the last 15 months since Black Friday, Full Tilt has had its license revoked by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission and been labeled a “global Ponzi scheme” by the DOJ.

Scheinberg, who has not yet turned himself into U.S. authorities, will step down “within 45 days of closing.” Additionally, Scheinberg may 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.”

A deal has been rumored for quite some time now, with the original reports surfacing back in April after a deal with Groupe Bernard Tapie fell through. According to Diamond Flush, “neither the Full Tilt Poker companies or PokerStars companies admit to any wrongdoing” as part of the settlement and all restraining warrants and in rem arrest warrants will cease to apply. Whether the DOJ logo will be removed from PokerStars’ and Full Tilt’s websites when viewed from a U.S. IP address remains to be seen.

As expected, Twitter exploded with the news. Poker pro Matt Glantz was among those commenting just after the announcement, posting on Twitter, “Sigh of relief today for everyone with frozen funds on FTP. Finally some good news for poker.” Meanwhile, ESPN’s Andrew FeldmanTweeted additional details of the deal: “The PS companies are prohibited from employing… Bitar, Lederer, Furst, Ferguson, Burtnick.”

We’ll have more for you on this breaking story today on PocketFives. What do you think of the U.S. cashout process? Will you be putting in a claim? Let us know by posting here or in this PocketFives thread.

37 COMMENTS

    • This is very good news for the poker world..not so much the refund but we get to keep playing is of most importance!!!!
      I just hope the DOJ wakes up and let the people in the USA play again very soon!

      Also i still think that Bitar, Lederer, Furst, Ferguson, Burtnick and the rest of the scum bags from the former Full Tilt should be dealt with by both fines and jail time!

      Well done Poker Stars!!!!!

    • 1. SUPER OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THIS!!!!
      2. I really hope the re entry of Tilt and Stars to US happens ASAP and……
      3.So USA players have to apply through the DOJ to obtain their funds?
      Sickest slow roll ever subtly in there.

      A truly epic day for the pokerz community
      “Winning, Duh”

    • 1. SUPER OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THIS!!!!
      2. I really hope the re entry of Tilt and Stars to US happens ASAP and……
      3.So USA players have to apply through the DOJ to obtain their funds?
      Sickest slow roll ever subtly in there.

      A truly epic day for the pokerz community
      “Winning, Duh”

      Yes on #3. Not sure exactly what the process will entail. I wonder how many U.S. players will put in claims. I’d think that for an amount like $100, it might not be worth it?

    • Yes on #3. Not sure exactly what the process will entail. I wonder how many U.S. players will put in claims. I’d think that for an amount like $100, it might not be worth it?

      ^^^^
      100% agreed.
      also I would assume it is a good idea to file taxes on all of those winnings (if people haven’t already) before you file to have funds returned thru DOJ.

    • ^^^^

      also I would assume it is a good idea to file taxes on all of those winnings (if people haven’t already) before you file to have funds returned thru DOJ.

      You don’t pay taxes on account balances, deposits, or withdrawals. You get taxed on winnings on individual sessions or tournament profits.

      i.e. If you deposit 500 and have 550 in your account, you are not taxed on 550 when you withdraw. FYI

    • Yes on #3. Not sure exactly what the process will entail. I wonder how many U.S. players will put in claims. I’d think that for an amount like $100, it might not be worth it?

      ya im pretty curious on whats going to happen for #3, let see how easy they make it on us

    • Yes on #3. Not sure exactly what the process will entail. I wonder how many U.S. players will put in claims. I’d think that for an amount like $100, it might not be worth it?

      yup, DOJ skimming a bit more cream from the people it’s supposed to protect. Larger balances will inevitably be shaken down as well : Back taxes etc.

    • Great news, but USA is still getting stiffed. When are they going to wake up and let usa back into the market so everyone can make money.

    • ….. and also secured our ability to operate in the United States of America whenever the regulations allow.”

      Word!

    • Some info on remission processhttp://www.justice.gov/usao/mn/petters/pdfs/Overview%20of%20Remission%20Process.pdf

      What administrative costs can be deducted by the government?
      Costs incident to the forfeiture, sale, or other disposition of the property are deducted from the
      amount available for remission. The remaining balance is distributed to the victims.

      I will lay 10000000000:1 that USA players dont get nearly as close to european players when it comes to percentage of funds owed returned. So corrupt is shameful.

    • Pokerstars player pool size and game availability, with full tilt software, available for play by US players? I must be dreaming…no one wake me up. ONE MFkng TIME PLEASE!!!

    • Ya, Im sure DOJ will have you fill out the form first, make sure tax has been paid..
      Im very happy for all you guys…Im a post BF player and very happy all the learning I did in 2010 and 2011 will pay off with a legal monster player pool, hopefully soon..
      C’ mon feds!!!
      Were gonna see sites with 2 million players soon…Ive sensed a very narrow perception of where poker will end up…Its gonna blow way the f up y’al!!!..

    • When legality hits, its gonna be bigger than ever seen…This will be forever known as “The big Boom”!!!!
      4m player pools…

    • I’ll say if we see 50% of our balances we’ll be lucky. And as “victims” we should be grateful for that! :rolleyes:

    • Some info on remission processhttp://www.justice.gov/usao/mn/petters/pdfs/Overview%20of%20Remission%20Process.pdf

      What administrative costs can be deducted by the government?
      Costs incident to the forfeiture, sale, or other disposition of the property are deducted from the
      amount available for remission. The remaining balance is distributed to the victims.

      I will lay 10000000000:1 that USA players dont get nearly as close to european players when it comes to percentage of funds owed returned. So corrupt is shameful.

      booking 10$

      you sir will owe me ALOT of $$ if your wrong

    • BAH _ You Americans are so suspicious and paranoid about government. (well right wingers) Never ever heard so many people whine non stop – like children.Anyhow – what interest could the DOJ have in prolonging this. it is an administrative nightmare – so of course will take time… have they ever distributed 550 million to a few hundred thousand players.This could have gone the other way – the DOJ could have not accepted this resolution…And on when the US market will be open – fact, it has nothing to do with the DOJ but with Congress – opinion, by the end of the year PS/ FTP will have engineered a resolution to the legislative murkiness

    • BAH _ You Americans are so suspicious and paranoid about government. (well right wingers) Never ever heard so many people whine non stop – like children.Anyhow – what interest could the DOJ have in prolonging this. it is an administrative nightmare – so of course will take time… have they ever distributed 550 million to a few hundred thousand players.This could have gone the other way – the DOJ could have not accepted this resolution…And on when the US market will be open – fact, it has nothing to do with the DOJ but with Congress – opinion, by the end of the year PS/ FTP will have engineered a resolution to the legislative murkiness

      Well said my friend…..who cares whether or not we get paid a little less…what was our expectency before this deal…yes a big “ZERO” …..all those whiners out there should be grateful that they are getting something and should THANK all those involved in closing the deal!!!!….like the previous writer mentioned the DOJ could of not accepted a resolution and then you would have a reason to whine …BUT NOT NOW….get on your hands and knees and thank them dearly….(ok maybe just get on your knees..:)…. and like i said you will see poker back in the USA very very soon, so another reason to celebrate and be very thankful again!!!
      So lets end it with the negative crap and be a little more positive as this epic moment should be a day of celebration…..and please don’t forget to give credit to those that help close the deal…..actually i send an email to PokerStars to simply say “Thank you”..they emailed me back within 1 minute with appreciation..(these guys are with it!!!)….tomorrow i will send an email to the DOJ to say simply “thank you”….:)….what will you do?

    • I wonder how many U.S. players will put in claims. I’d think that for an amount like $100, it might not be worth it?

      Why is that?

    • I spent last fall in costa rica, but am now in the US again. If I go back to CR or Canada will I be able to withdraw funds via PS since im currently listed as a non us player?? I just feel like Id get the full amount if I went back to CR, vs the US govt paying us?

    • UB/AP WAS THE MOST CRIMINAL(JUST LIKE OUR GOVERNMENT) THEY WILL GET THE WORST TREAMENT IM GUESSING!

    • I spent last fall in costa rica, but am now in the US again. If I go back to CR or Canada will I be able to withdraw funds via PS since im currently listed as a non us player?? I just feel like Id get the full amount if I went back to CR, vs the US govt paying us?

      No the process of how you will be reimbursed will be determined by your location as of April 14. 2011.

    • This is actually bringing tears to my eyes!!!!!!!!!!! Pokerstars should be commended for the way they have dealt with proceedings following BF. Big up yourself!!!!!!!!