Jeremy Johnson claims Harry Reid took $1m from Full Tilt to change poker stance

jeremy-johnson-harry-reid-full-tilt-pokerIn what may count as one of 2013’s least surprising news items, it seems Dublin-based Pocket Kings, the former technology hub behind Full Tilt Poker (FTP), has appointed Declan McDonald of PricewaterhouseCoopers as liquidator. The full extent of Pocket Kings’ red ink is unknown, but we’ve now been offered a suggestion as to how at least one of those millions got added to the tab. Full Tilt has made an appearance in the Salt Lake Tribune‘s followup to its original report in which former Utah businessman/accused telemarketing fraudster Jeremy Johnson claimed to have paid big bucks in a failed bid to get Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to quash a Federal Trade Commission investigation into Johnson’s alleged dirty dealings.

According to a recording Johnson made of a meeting with then Utah chief deputy attorney general John Swallow, Johnson believed Reid was amenable to monetary persuasion because Johnson was told someone at Full Tilt Poker paid Reid $1m to change his stance on federal online poker legislation. Johnson, whose Elite Debit firm processed online poker transactions through Utah’s SunFirst Bank, claims he was told by someone associated with Full Tilt Poker that Reid had done an about-face on the poker issue because Reid “got a little something in his retirement fund.” Johnson then mentions that he was asked to withdraw $1m from SunFirst’s poker funds via an “untraceable $1m check” to be “sent to some entity.”

The attorney for FTP’s former CEO, Ray Bitar, declined comment on Johnson’s claims as Bitar’s criminal case is still pending. Reid’s office called the allegations “absurd and utterly false” and said the senator “will not have his integrity questioned by a man of Mr. Johnson’s low record and character.” Johnson has since responded with a hyperbolic statement reminding Reid that “he lives in a glass house that is filled with shady real estate deals, secret meetings and questionable fund raisers. He should be careful where he throws rocks.” Perhaps, but Johnson should be equally careful when he bends over to pick up the soap in that federal prison shower…