Jeff Ifrah, one of the legal representatives of Full Tilt Poker, spoke to PokerNews about the settlement agreement recently finalized between the US government on one side and Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars on the other side.
When asked if a deal has been really finalized or if it is just one of the rumors circulating around, Ifrah said that he believes that a deal has been definitely finalized although the paperwork and the signatures are pending. According to Ifrah, the judge assigned the paperwork only today although the deal consummated on Monday.
Responding to speculations that PokerStars sabotaged the deal between Full Tilt Poker and Groupe Bernard Tapie, Ifrah said that he cannot appreciate the use of the word “sabotage” because PokerStars appeared on the scene only after the US Department of Justice (DoJ) terminated the deal between Full Tilt Poker and Groupe Bernard Tapie. He also expressed his opinion that players can hope of getting back their money only because PokerStars arrived on the scene.
Speaking about the refunding of US players and players from other parts of the world, Ifrah said that PokerStars will pay $547 million to the US government, part of which will be used to repay ex Full Tilt Poker players in the US. He said that nothing is known about how exactly the US government will pay back the US players at present.
When asked if Ray Bitar’s surrender and Nelson Burtnick’s decision to surrender is somehow related to the settlement agreement, Ifrah said, “The Department of Justice does not make civil deals contingent upon resolutions of criminal cases. I know there’s been a lot of speculation, and I know it’s not totally illogical to assume there’s a connection, but in fact it’s very important that civil and criminal branches are kept separate at all costs. You could imagine the type of leverage that a civil attorney at the DOJ could have if he or she was able to bring a criminal prosecutor from down the hall into a meeting at any given moment.”
Mr. Ifrah also said that this deal will have absolutely no effect on the case against Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer, and Rafe Furst because “the charges against individuals on the civil case are different than what was just resolved today.” Clarifying that “civil forfeiture of charges against the corporate defendants” was resolved today, he said that “fraud charges against individuals” remain open.