Following the FBI’s closure of Full Tilt Poker, PokerStars and Absolute Poker and the arrest warrants issued for the owners of these three US poker sites, poker players all over the world are getting antsy. The FBI has also issued restraining orders for 76 bank accounts linked with these three US poker sites, many of which are in different countries. Furthermore, online access to these US poker sites has also been blocked and poker players trying to visit them are not able to access their accounts. They can only view a message from the FBI instead indicating that the sites have been seized.
Australian poker players tied up to these sites are pulling out their funds from their poker accounts afraid of having it locked down as authorities turn up the heat on these three poker giants. “A lot of people will withdraw money from these sites as a precaution because they don’t want their money stuck in there,” stated one Australian poker pro who preferred to remain anonymous.
In the meantime, Full Tilt Poker, one of the largest US poker sites on the internet today, released a statement regarding the charges faced by its founder, Raymond Bitar. “Mr Bitar and Full Tilt Poker believe online poker is legal – a position also taken by some of the best legal minds in the United States,” the statement claimed. Bitar is currently facing charges of money laundering together with Nelson Burtnick, an employee of Full Tilt Poker; authorities are now on the lookout for both Burtnick and Bitar, who are to be arrested. Raymond Bitar does not appear to believe that he has done anything wrong and hopes that this issue will soon be resolved. “I am surprised and disappointed by the government’s decision to bring these charges. I look forward to Mr Burtnick’s and my exoneration,’ he stated.
Allegedly, the root cause for the sudden crack down on the PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker may have been information leaked by Daniel Tzvetkoff, a tech tycoon. Tzvetkoff, who is worth $80 million, was arrested in April 2010 under the accusation that he was behind the $US540 million money laundering scam. However, reports claiming that Daniel Tzvetkoff co-operated with authorities and gave out information on the very people who threw him under the bus may have led to him being mysteriously released in June. According to a Harold Copus, an ex – FBI agent, “He’s (Tzvetkoff) turned the corner, seen the light and is co-operating. The defendants bet the house that they could continue their scheme, and they lost.”

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