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PokerStars unveils Full Tilt player repayment plan 26/09/2012
• $184m repayment plan for Full Tilt’s non-US players

PokerStars has unveiled details of a $184m repayment plan for Full Tilt’s non-US players and confirmed that will re-open for business in the first week of November. PokerStars reached an agreement with the US Department of Justice in July to obtain the assets of Full Tilt and as part of the deal agreed to pay the $184m outstanding to Full Tilt’s customers outside the USA.

The repayment programme will see former Full Tilt Poker players in France, Spain, Denmark, Estonia and Belgium repaid through the locally-licensed PokerStars platform. Players will ‘pair’ a PokerStars account with their Full Tilt account which will enable them to withdraw or use their balances on the licensed PokerStars site. The situation for Italian players is less clear after PokerStars revealed that is still in discussions with Italian regulators regarding the withdrawal procedure. It expects to release more information ‘as soon as possible’.

Players in all other jurisdictions (including the UK and Ireland but excluding the US) will have full access to their accounts when re-opens for business during the opening week of November.

“PokerStars has been working with regulators in all relevant jurisdictions to ensure that repayment is conducted in strict compliance with local regulatory requirements that ensure the security of player accounts and confirmation of the rightful ownership of those accounts,” read a statement from the Isle of Man based site.

As part of the DoJ agreement, PokerStars also paid the U.S. Government USD$547 million, which will in part be used to reimburse former Full Tilt Poker customers in the United States through a remission process to be administered by the U.S. Government.

The return of funds is part of a $731m settlement secured by US district attorney Preet Bharara, America's leading white-collar crime prosecutor, who had targeted Full Tilt and rival site Pokerstars, which dominated the multibillion-dollar global poker market

Bharara has alleged that the sites engaged in bank fraud and money laundering on an industrial scale to get around rules barring companies from processing payments for online gambling activities. His intervention led to further revelations of millions of dollars missing from player accounts at Full Tilt.

Under the terms of a three-way settlement, the Full Tilt assets will pass to Isle of Man-based Pokerstars, which forfeits $547m to the US authorities and has pledged to reimburse $184m owed by Full Tilt to its players outside the US.

The settlement has ended civil proceedings against the two sites but Bharara is still pursuing a parallel criminal indictment against 11 individuals, including Pokerstars founder Isai Scheinberg, who remains at large. He has promised to step down as a Pokerstars director after the Full Tilt takeover.

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