For the first time since Black Friday, Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar is on American soil. Bitar surrendered to the FBI in New York on Monday to begin dealing with the Black Friday charges laid against him by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Bitar was one of 11 defendants originally indicted on April 15, 2011. Shortly afterwards the DOJ called Full Tilt Poker a “ponzi scheme”, a phrase that also appears in a new superseding indictment against Bitar that was released Monday. The new indictment indicates that Bitar knowingly misled Full Tilt customers outside of the U.S. after Black Friday and lied to Alderney Gambling Control Commission about the solvency of Full Tilt.
Bitar is also alleged to have taken $3,000,000 in salary following Black Friday.
Prior to leaving Dublin, Bitar sent an email to the remaining Full Tilt staff thanking them for their efforts and all but confirming that the long-rumored purchase by PokerStars is close to being completed. The email was originally posted Monday morning on the TwoPlusTwo forums by “PS<3FTP”.
To all Dublin Staff,
By now you probably have heard that I have returned to the US to deal with civil and criminal case that are pending against me in New York. We have all worked hard over the last 15 months to preserve Full Tilt’s assets and potential in order to provide for the repayment of all players, and that continues to be our top priority. It is as important as ever that we all do everything possible to make that happen and, hopefully our deal with Poker Stars will very soon make our goal a reality. My return to the US is part of this process.
I am particularly grateful to all of you here in Dublin for your hard work, patience and understanding during this difficult time. I believe that your hard work and dedication should not go unrecognized, and we have made arrangements for Poker Stars to guarantee all July salaries. You should therefore have no concern about coming to work during this period. After that, we expect that your employment contracts will be assumed by the buyer of the company’s assets.
For those that need to reach me, I expect to continue to be available by email and phone starting late Monday, New York time.
In the meantime, please refer any operational questions to **REDACTED**, and any HR questions to **REDACTED**.
Thank you all again.
Raymond J Bitar
As Bitar indicates in his email, his arrest appears to be a step in the process of PokerStars’ purchase of Full Tilt Poker and the repayment of money owed to Full Tilt players that has been locked up since April 15, 2011.
Click here to read the entire superseding indictment against Ray Bitar here.