by Haley Hintze
NORWEGIAN TAX AUTHORITIES SEEK ABSOLUTE POKER MONEY
Norwegian tax authorities filed a lien with American authorities for accounts frozen on Black Friday, hoping to recover $30 million. Since Absolute’s operating profits were channeled through Madeira Fjord AS, a Norwegian holding company, the revenue is taxable in what has been called by Norwegian business outlets “the largest tax fraud in Norway’s history.”
GUILTY PLEA FOR “BLACK FRIDAY” DEFENDANT RUBIN
Ira Rubin became the second “Black Friday” defendant in as many months to reach a plea agreement with Department of Justice officials regarding his role in processing payments for offshore online-poker sites PokerStars, Full Tilt and Absolute Poker. Rubin is expected to receive an 18- to 24-month sentence in exchange for his cooperation. Rubin follows Absolute Poker exec Brent Beckley in accepting a deal, while Black Friday defendants Chad Elie and John Campos have opted to continue their legal battle.
IOWA RECONSIDERS ONLINE POKER LEGISLATION, INTRASTATE COMPACT
Iowa State Senator Jeff Danielson (D-Cedar Falls) will introduce onlinepoker legislation following last month’s publishing by the Department of Justice of an opinion favorable to the legality of online poker. Danielson envisions partnering up with states such as Nevada in an operational manner similar to that used for the 33-jurisdiction Powerball lottery.
FORMER ULTIMATEBET PLAYERS FILE RICO ACTION AGAINST UB SOFTWARE COMPANY
Eight former high-stakes UltimateBet players filed a civil RICO lawsuit in California against the former software firm behind UB, Excapsa Software (currently known as 6356095 Canada, Inc.), and up to ten as-yet-unnamed individuals. The action taken by Daniel Ashman, “Yukon” Brad Booth, Dustin “neverwin” Woolf, Tom “tommyboy83” Koral, Dan Smith, Greg Laverly, Dave Lizmi, and Joseph Sanders seeks over $15 million in compensatory and punitive damages.
WINNINGS CONFISCATED FROM THREE AMERICANS AFTER CARIBBEAN PCA TRIP
Million-dollar paydays weren’t the only poker stories emanating from January’s PCA, as New Jersey brothers Sean and Michael Ruane and cousin Thomas Freeman, Jr. ran afoul of Bahamian customs declaration, ending up forfeiting over $26,000 in winnings from the PCA events. The three split the money evenly to slide beneath a perceived $10,000 per person cash limit, then discovered to their dismay that the law applied per family, not per individual, and that a proper declaration would have saved them at least some of their funds. The three quickly pled guilty to the customs charges in exchange for relinquishing the cash before returning to the US.
BAIL DENIED FOR TWO IN DUHAMEL BRACELET ROBBERY
Citing transient housing and lack of regular employment, Canadian judge Pierre Belisle denied bail for two of the four defendants arraigned in the home-invasion mugging of 2010 WSOP main event winner Jonathan Duhamel. Bianca Rojas-Latraverse, 20, Duhamel’s one-time girlfriend and alleged mastermind of the robbery, and John Stephen Clark Lemay, 22, remained in custody awaiting a late-February hearing. Bail was granted to Anthony Bourque and André-Robert Perron, in whose possession police found a WSOP-commemorating Rolex given to Duhamel by PokerStars. Duhamel’s official WSOP bracelet and over $115,000 in cash remain missing.
$3 BILLION BUDGETED FOR KOREAN CASINO PROJECT
Korean airport corporation Incheon International Airport Corp. has announced plans to build a $3 billion casino/entertainment complex as part of an overall strategy to increase its Pacific Rim market. The new casino complex is planned for South Korea’s western shore, an hour west of downtown Seoul, and will be modeled on major Las Vegas and Macau gambling venues. Veteran poker-industry writer/editor Haley Hintze is the author of an upcoming book on the Absolute Poker and UltimateBet online cheating scandals, to be released later this year.