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Absolute Poker strikes deal with US Govt

Absolute Poker announces it has reached agreement with the US Justice Department...but US players still can't have their money back

by Alligator Blood PokerJolt May, 10th 2011
Overall: 5
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Absolute Poker has struck a deal with the US DoJ

Above: Absolute Poker has struck a deal with the US DoJ

Absolute Poker still cannot say when it will return funds to US poker players

Absolute Poker reached agreement with the US Department of Justice tonight on a deal to pave the way for the return of funds to US players - but refused to say when it would happen.

The company, which includes Ultimate Bet and UB.com, formally agreed to close all its US operations.

It also said it hadn't requested the return of its main domain names - www.AbsolutePoker.com, www.UltimateBet.com and www.UB.com - in the hope that officially abandoning its core business would persuade prosecutors to release funds.

But, although the DoJ accepted the company's formal closing of its sites, it has not yet allowed the firm to release money to players.

An Absolute Poker spokesman said: "The 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."

He added: "Blank Rome LLP [the company's US attorneys] will continue to engage in discussions with the authorities 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 US Attorney's office believe Absolute Poker's liability may exceed the company's total worth, including player deposits, which is why the accounts have been frozen.

Absolute Poker's sites, as well as those of Full Tilt and PokerStars, were shut in the US on April 15, dubbed Black Friday,

The sites had continued to operate in the US in defiance of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) - which was passed by George W Bush in 2006 and forced most poker sites, including all European-based gaming groups, from America.

Some 76 bank accounts in 14 countries were frozen, including an estimated $500m in player funds.

The prosecutors are seeking jail sentences for the 11 criminal defendants, which include founders and executives of all the sites.

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