Laurent Tapie of Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT), the French investment company specializing in resurrecting fallen companies, said that GBT’s acquisition of Full Tilt Poker (FTP) is on the verge of getting completed. Speaking to iGaming France, an online gambling journal, Laurent Tapie, the managing director of GBT, said that he hopes the deal will be completed by February end.
FTP has been up to its neck in trouble ever since the US Department of Justice (DoJ) cracked down on it in mid-April last year, a day popularly known as Black Friday in the online poker gaming community. Moreover, the DoJ indicted key people associated with FTP of money laundering, illegal gambling, and bank fraud. Later, the DoJ also amended its civil complaint against FTP to accuse it of being a giant Ponzi scheme that had cheated loyal players of nearly $440 million.
Laurent Tapie has expressed confidence that the acquisition of FTP will be completed by February, unless there are “last-minute surprises.” According to the agreement, GBT will renew FTP’s license to provide real money online poker with Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC), after which FTP and its assets will be acquired from the DoJ, which has seized those assets, for $80 million.
Meanwhile, Leonard B. Sand, the US federal judge, has dismissed a complaint registered against FTP by four professional online poker players Robin Hougdahl, Todd Terry, Steve Segal, and Nick Hammer, demanding that FTP should not only refund player deposits, but also compensate them for damages. According to this complaint, the players were not allowed to access their funds.
Judge Sand dismissed this complaint, filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), on grounds that it was not clear whether the players were unable to retrieve their funds because of DoJ’s crack down on FTP, the firms associated with FTP, or certain individuals associated with the online poker room.
The judge has also ruled that the claim can be continued against Pocket Kings, Filco, and Vantage Limited. He said, “Plaintiffs have pled sufficient facts to establish a plausible inference that defendants Pocket Kings, Vantage and Filco ‘played some role’ in the conversion. The fact that the three defendants worked together to maintain the Full Tilt website makes it plausible to infer that they also worked together to block plaintiffs’ access to the money in their accounts. We therefore deny defendants’ motion to dismiss the conversion claims against defendants Pocket Kings, Vantage, and Filco.”