Most online poker players are already aware that Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT), the French investment group is currently working on taking over Full Tilt Poker and in the process making sure that all players’ bankrolls worldwide are repaid. GBT has been in discussions with the US DOJ and have reached a signed agreement with them which includes the purchase of the Full Tilt Poker for $80 million provided that certain conditions are fulfilled.
GBT has subsequently been investigating the financial inner workings of Full Tilt and have uncovered that several former pros owe large sums of money to the company totaling $16.5 Million. Considering the purchase price of $80 Million, the $16.5 Million in outstanding professional player debts to Full Tilt Poker is significant and could potentially put the deal in serious jeopardy.
To date GBT has been quiet about the deal for the most part, preferring to hold closed meetings keeping issues encountered private, however in this case Groupe Bernard Tapie have made the issue public regarding several pro's outstanding debts in order to apply pressure to those owing money to the company and possibly to educate the public that those implicated are not all as guilt free as they claim to be regarding players getting their money back from FullTilt.
Full Tilt Poker Reopening : Pros Hold Up Deal
Groupe Bernard Tapie lawyer Behn Dayanim was quoted saying that:
"GBT doesn't want to acquire assets which will need to be litigated over later. In total, the sum owed to the company is between $10 and $20 million. Several of the players who owe money and have not yet expressed a willingness to pay their debts include Phil Ivey, Layne Flack, David Benyamine, and Erick Lindgren. Barry Greenstein, Mike Matusow, and others owe a smaller but still significant amount.
If the money doesn't come in, it creates a serious obstacle to completion of the deal. This isn't the only issue with the takeover, and the deal won't end on any one issue, but this is a substantial item."
Tapie Lawrence confirmed the remarks made by his lawyer Ben Dayanim; that the refusal of some 19 former professional players Full Tilt Poker to repay the money they borrowed from poker site could block the takeover agreement, as Group Bernard Tapie is not ready to assume the extra cost $16.5 Million generated by the debts of those players.
He also went on to say that some of the pros implicated have already signed contracts to repay the outstanding amounts and hopes that those who have not responded to requests from the GBT will do so soon.
However, he did not say which players were cooperative or not.
While no end seems insight yet for Full Tilt players wanting to cash out their money, we can all just continue to hope that the deal eventually goes through but complications like this seem to continually arise putting doubt in everyone’s minds that the former #2 online poker room Full Tilt Poker will ever be reopened and see outstanding players bankrolls paid worldwide.