Full Tilt Poker (FTP) is back in the news again. Last week, Behnam Dayanim, the legal representative of Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT), said that professional poker players previously sponsored by FTP, such as Erick Lindgren, Phil Ivey, David Benyamine, Mike “The Mouth” Matusow, and Barry Greenstein, who have debts with the online poker room, are threatening to sabotage GBT’s acquisition of FTP.
Initially, Dayanim had stated that several players such as Ivey and others owed FTP in the range of $10 million to $20 million, but later changed his statement that the amount owed is $16.5 million, and Tapie has confirmed that the latter statement is accurate.
Tapie has also confirmed that GBT will not acquire the debt, but has expressed his satisfaction that a number of players, who are yet to be identified, have agreed to repay the online poker room.
Shortly thereafter, Greenstein, the professional poker player who won the World Series of Poker (WSOP) three times and is widely acclaimed for his charity, posted on Two Plus Two poker forums that GBT had contacted him to see if he is willing to repay his debt to GBT. He also stated that Dayanim offered to discount his debt “if the US players don’t get paid in full,” but had decided to wait for the DoJ to establish a fund for US players before making a final decision.
Meanwhile, Dayanim has stated that several professional poker players associated with FTP have been causing delays in GBT’s acquisition of FTP although Greestein has rubbished the claim, stating that he does not believe that his debt has anything to do with GBT’s acquisition of FTP. Greenstein, however, expressed concern about taking money belonging to US players and handing it over to GBT because, according to GBT’s deal with DoJ, it won’t be refunding FTP’s ex poker players in the US.
Laurent Tapie has stated that professional poker players have misled FTP’s ex players because US players will be refunded only if GBT completes its takeover of FTP and that “the bulk of money owned by the pros” must return to FTP if the acquisition is to take place.
Some of the 19 pros who owe money to FTP have expressed willingness to work with GBT “on a repayment plan to clear their debts,” he said.