By Lou Krieger and Shari Geller
May 10, 2011—Absolute Poker and UB issued a statement earlier today stating that they reached agreement with the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in which the US Attorney’s Office agreed to provide all necessary assurances that third parties may work with Absolute Poker to facilitate the return of funds, currently held by third party processors, to players located in the US. This provision is an important step toward returning US player funds.
Absolute Poker neither requested the return of its worldwide domain names, www.AbsolutePoker.com, www.UltimateBet.comand www.UB.com, nor did today’s agreement provide for their return. The agreement does provide for the appointment of a monitor, approved by the US Attorney’s Office, to assess the Company’s compliance with the terms of the agreement.
A press release issued by Absolute and UB said, “Unfortunately, the Company still faces several legal issues which must be navigated before funds can be paid out to US players. The Company’s US attorneys, Blank Rome LLP, continue to work diligently to resolve these issues, which is a necessary further step to facilitate the return of funds to players. Player funds, therefore, will not become immediately available for withdrawal as a result of today’s agreement with the DOJ.”
A Company spokesperson who was not identified was quoted as saying: “Today’s signing of the agreement with the DOJ is an important step towards the safe and efficient return of funds to our US players. We can now move as expeditiously as possible to collect player monies from third party processors as a prelude to establishing proper mechanisms for the return of funds to our US players. As previously announced, we have already taken specific actions to exit the US market by closing our US-facing operations. Blank Rome LLP will continue to engage in discussions with the SDNY in order to complete the necessary agreements for the final transfer of frozen fund balances to our US players. This remains our highest priority. We will continue to update our players and the poker community, as we move forward to resolve outstanding issues.”
The questions that remain are two:
- When will funds be returned to players, and
- Will each player receive dollar-for-dollar on his or her funds on deposit, and if not, how much on the dollar will be returned?