ONLINE POKER: Path cleared for Full Tilt Poker sale to proceed

After days of rumours and broken embargoes, Full Tilt Poker has confirmed that the terms of agreement have been finalised with the Department of Justice for Group Bernard Tapie to purchase the site. With thanks to, the statement from Full Tilt Poker co-founder Ray Bitar read:

“Full Tilt Poker is pleased that the terms of the agreement between Groupe Bernard Tapie and the Department of Justice have been finalized, and that the agreement provides for GBT to repay or make whole players outside of the United States and for the Department of Justice to permit United States players to request compensation out of the forfeited funds. Since Black Friday, repaying customers has been FTP’s number one priority.

I am extremely pleased with the efforts of the Department of Justice, and the Groupe Bernard Tapie corporation, and appreciate their continued dedication in working towards a mutually beneficial agreement that will facilitate repayment of the players.
Now that the agreement with DOJ has been reached, GBT and Full Tilt Poker will now turn to memorialising the final terms of their agreement, to bring this matter to a complete resolution as soon as possible. Full Tilt Poker would like to thank all its customers for their continued patience since Black Friday and during this negotiation process.”

Under the deal, the investment group, Groupe Bernard Tapie, will buy the company’s assets for $80 million, according to an agreement letter signed by Jason Cowley, an assistant US attorney in Manhattan, and Group Bernard Tapie attorney Behnam Dayanim. The investor will try to restart Full Tilt’s operations outside of the US, Dayanim said.

The deal allows for some money in bank accounts associated with Full Tilt that were seized by the US government to be given to the investment group, according to the agreement letter. Accounting for that, PMA believes the amount spent by Groupe Bernard Tapie for the assets would actually be around $40 million.

The deal will require Full Tilt’s current owners reaching a settlement of a civil lawsuit brought by the Justice Department against the company and forfeiting the company to the government, the agreement states. Groupe Bernard Tapie would then buy the company’s assets from the government, and the government could use those funds to pay back players owed money by the company. Full Tilt has denied the civil suit’s allegations.

The deal is expected to pave the way for US poker players to be paid back much of the money credited to them that was never paid by Full Tilt, said Jeff Ifrah, an attorney for Bitar. Ifrah also said Bitar wouldn’t profit in the sale or gain a stake in the new version of the company.

Under the deal reached between Groupe Bernard Tapie and the Justice Department, the investors will “repay or make whole” poker players outside of the US who are believed to be owed about $150 million, according to the agreement.

The agreement would allow most of Full Tilt’s 23 current shareholders to take a small percentage of the new entity. However, Bitar and three other company board members named in the Justice Department’s civil lawsuit against the company wouldn’t be allowed to own a piece of the company going forward, the agreement states.

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