Tapie Lawyer Optimistic DOJ Deal Can Be Finalized in Two Weeks

Published on Nov 5th, 2011

In an interview that appeared on iGamingFrance on Wednesday, Laurent Tapie, Managing Director of Groupe Bernard Tapie, told the industry that he expects an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice concerning Full Tilt Poker to be finalized in the next two weeks. Tapie told the French news site, "Payment terms are set. We will draft an agreement to be signed within 15 days to come and we will issue a statement shortly that will provide more information."

PocketFives spoke to Tapie legal counsel Behnam Dayanim, who commented that he was "optimistic" that a deal with the DOJ could be finalized within Laurent Tapie's time frame. According to the Wall Street Journal and independently confirmed by PocketFives, Dayanim noted, "We have an oral agreement that is in the process of being reduced to writing and expect to resolve all outstanding issues." The outstanding issues that exist are not known.

An e-mail from Full Tilt Poker's Ray Bitar (pictured) posted on Subject: Poker outlined what the final payment terms could be: "In exchange for an agreed-upon payment by GBT, and a GBT commitment to assume responsibility for payment of ROW players, DOJ will reimburse U.S. players and settle the outstanding civil litigation with the companies comprising FTP. Beyond these conditions, issues like the time frame and process for repayment of players remain unclear at this point and time."

Full Tilt Poker attorney Barry Boss told the Journal in an article that appeared on Friday, "We have made significant progress towards a settlement, but there are still issues to be resolved." Groupe Bernard Tapie's acquisition of Full Tilt Poker was contingent on a deal being struck with the DOJ.

The Journal further revealed, "Under the terms worked out in the tentative agreement for the civil suit, Groupe Bernard Tapie would pay an amount of money to the Justice Department to resolve the civil dispute with the Justice Department and pay back money owed to players based outside of the U.S., where it plans to restart the internet poker site. The amount the Tapie investment vehicle would pay to the Justice Department couldn't be determined." Tapie officials originally planned to retain the Full Tilt brand name.

Full Tilt Poker players in the United States have been waiting patiently to be reunited with their funds since Black Friday seven months ago. Players from the rest of the world joined them in late June, when the Alderney Gambling Control Commission suspended Full Tilt's operating license due to insolvency. In September, the AGCC officially revoked Full Tilt's license, although the room maintains a secondary license from the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.

According to Subject: Poker, any deal involving the purchase of Full Tilt must be approved by a vote of two-thirds of the company's stakeholders.

In a thread in the Poker Sites forum, posters debated the tax implications of the DOJ overseeing the repayment of U.S. players. In a recent interview with PocketFives, poker tax expert Ann-Margaret Johnston (pictured) told poker players, "If we don't get [our Full Tilt funds] by the end of the year, then my opinion is that we can't pay taxes on money we can't get. My advice would be if you have the money before you file your tax returns, then you can put it on your 2011 taxes."

A poster on PocketFives guessed, "If and when FTP does come back online, I'm not gonna be expecting to withdraw a large portion of my money right away. But, I do kind of expect for them to have some kind of a payout cap, say weekly or monthly for a while until the site begins to [get] more player traffic."

We'll keep you posted on the latest on Full Tilt right here on PocketFives.


  1. These GBT statements and internal emails floating around are nice and all but I'm still waiting until the DOJ releases an official statement about our funds being returned before I start jumping for joy.

    It would also be nice if that DOJ statement included a time frame for the return of our funds. I don't expect anything in the US govt to move quickly but it would be nice to have some idea when I can expect to get my money back.

  2. once again blah blah blah

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