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BLACK FRIDAY: Another indicted individual in US custody

Black Friday indicted Ira Rubin arrested✖ A Bloomberg report has revealed that Ira Rubin, one of the 11 individuals indicted on Black Friday, was arrested April 25 in Guatemala. Rubin, a US citizen residing in Costa Rica, appeared before US Magistrate Judge Andrea M. Simonton in Miami on Wednesday. His hands shackled, Rubin told Simonton that while he’d “signed an agreement” with a New York lawyer on April 22, he “hadn’t been able to make a phone call” since his arrest and therefore had “no idea” if said lawyer had been paid. The attorney in question, Stuart Meissner, later spoke to Simonton on the phone and confirmed that he was still waiting to be paid. (Ironic, given Rubin’s role as payment processor, no?) The judge then set a hearing for Friday, April 29 to figure out whether Rubin needs to hire alternate counsel to represent him at another hearing on Monday, May 2.
Of the 11 indicted individuals, Rubin, John Campos, Chad Elie and Bradley Franzen (all US citizens) are currently in custody. Of the lucky seven still at large, three others – Raymond Bitar, Scott Tom and Brent Beckley – are also US citizens. Presumably, they will be giving Guatemala a wide berth for the foreseeable future.

Antigua and Barbuda are currently hosting a two-day summit to discuss their ongoing feud with the US over America’s unwillingness to abide by multiple World Trade Organization online gambling rulings. In the wake of Black Friday, Minister of Finance and the Economy Harold Lovell hopes to enlist support from the international gaming community “to explore ways in which our country’s historic victory at the WTO can be used to open the door to fair and responsible trade in remote gaming services to consumers in the United States, as the WTO has held we are entitled to do. We are hopeful that by engaging more with major industry participants outside of Antigua we might be able to bring more force to bear on what have proven to be very intractable anti-free trade interests in the remote gaming space in America.” Don’t leave the man hanging, people…

The US refusal to honor its WTO commitments vis à vis Antigua is even more galling when compared with how loud they’re crying over China’s refusal to observe a month-old WTO ruling to open its market to US-made feature films. On March 28th, US trade reps said they were “troubled by the lack of any apparent progress by China” on complying with the WTO ruling. America, meet Karma.

✖ The San Francisco Gate is reporting that traffic at Bay Area card rooms has “skyrocketed” since Black Friday. But with the rooms having strict limits on how many tables they can operate, there is little they can do to adequately accommodate the influx of new players. They can, however, offer helpful hints as to how to identify these new converts to the live poker game, such the fact that they refuse to make eye contact with anyone and they won’t tip the dealers. Plus they keep tripping over chair legs in their frenzied attempts to multi-table.

✖ This really has nothing to do with poker, but it’s worth noting. AIG, the insurance group that would be pushing up the daisies if US taxpayers hadn’t given them a $182b bailout during the 2008 economic meltdown, is back trying to peddle dodgy financial instruments. The new can’t-lose moneymaker? So-called ‘death bonds,’ i.e. complex, opaque securities backed by life insurance settlements instead of sub-prime mortgages. For the moment, they’re having difficulty moving the things, as ratings agencies are refusing to rate them. Still, its nice to know that while the Feds are cracking down on online poker, it’s business as usual for the real fraudsters. Priorities, people…