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DoJ denies unfreezing Full Tilt bank account; FBI talking to PokerStars lobbyist

TAGs: Barney Frank, Black Friday, Full Tilt, Joe Barton, PokerStars, Richard Perkins

DoJ-Full-Tilt-No-Deal-Unfreeze-Bank✖ Two developments on the Full Tilt Poker front to report. First is the latest announcement from ‘FTPDoug.’ In emails sent to customers, FTPDoug admitted that the company’s “lack of communication reflects poorly on us, and rightfully so.” While emphasizing (again) that Full Tilt is not bankrupt because “FTP’s worldwide business is healthy,” company bigwigs “still do not have a specific timeframe” for US players to see their deposits refunded. The statement also seems to confirm rumors that FTP was seeking to raise capital from outside investors “to ensure that the US players are paid out in full as quickly as possible.”

FTPDoug clarifies that the ongoing silence from FTP pros about Black Friday was “not their choice. But they are constrained by the pending legal actions.” As for the company’s low public profile, “It has not been easy to stay silent and watch the damage being done to our company brand and personal reputations, but we need to be mindful of the complicated and serious legal issues raised in the pending cases.”

The Alderney Gambling Control Commission released a statement dated May 16, saying (in part): “The AGCC’s investigation into the affairs of it [sic] licensee Vantage Limited, trading as Full Tilt.com, is ongoing; initial investigations indicate no reason to believe that player fund transactions are fundamentally threatened by any consequence of the US authorities’ actions. Delays caused by these actions are in the process of resolution, with normal service now being restored for non-US players. We understand that progress in respect of US player fund repatriation is anticipated and will be the subject of a separate statement from Full Tilt in due course. The Commission will remain engaged in this process.”

✖ In less encouraging FTP news, a report on Subject: Poker claims that last week’s eGamingReview article, which stated the Department of Justice had unfrozen one of FTP’s bank accounts, is bunk. The Public Information Office of the US Attorney’s Office told Subject: Poker that no such deal had been struck with FTP, and that if it had, it would have been accompanied by a DoJ public statement to that effect. No statement, no deal, no joy.

✖ Sources have told Nevada journalist Jon Ralston (@RalstonFlash) that the FBI has contacted lobbyist Richard Perkins over his dealings with Nevada legislators on behalf of PokerStars pre-Black Friday. Ralston’s sources haven’t yet been able to confirm that the FBI also plans to interview elected officials with whom Perkins discussed the PokerStars-friendly (at least, in its initial version) AB258 online poker bill.

GamblingCompliance.com has reported that Rep. Rob Andrews (D-NJ) attempted last week to attach language from Rep. Barney Frank’s July 2010 HR2267 online poker bill to a Department of Defense bill. Andrews, one of HR2267’s 70 co-sponsors, suggested that the revenue from taxing online poker could help pay for military veterans’ benefits, but the House Rules Committee rejected Andrews’ bid. A Frank spokesperson said that Frank did not support Andrews’ move because Frank saw the issue of online gambling “in terms of personal freedom rather than revenue raising.” Andrews has not signed on as co-sponsor for Rep. John Campbell’s HR1174 poker bill because Andrews doesn’t think Campbell “has the jurisdictional reach to move his bill.”

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) is hoping Rep. Mary Bono Mack (R-CA) takes a jurisdictional shine to his as-yet-unseen online poker legislation. Bono Mack heads the commerce, manufacturing and trade subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce committee, through which Barton hopes to guide his poker bill. However, while Bono Mack has previously been described as ‘receptive’ to Barton’s bill, her spokesperson clarified that the congresswoman “simply said she is open to the idea. That said, the congresswoman does not have plans at this time to move any legislation through her subcommittee. There are a lot of people in our district she would want to consult with first.”

✖ Finally, Victory Poker players received an email informing them that their accounts will ‘automatically upgrade’ to a Cake Poker account on June 1. Victory CEO Dan Fleyshman, who previously announced he was withdrawing from the US market post-Black Friday, has apparently decided to transform Victory into a “strategy/news/affiliate site for poker and non-poker related products.” Victory oven mitts, anyone?

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