Absolute Poker Issues First Statement on Indictments

Hands tied

Absolute Poker has finally responded to last Friday's online poker indictments.

The Manhattan U.S. Attorney charged the principals of three of online poker's biggest sites with bank fraud, illegal gambling and laundering billions of dollars.

In all, 11 defendants were charged, including PokerStars' Isai Scheinberg, Fill Tilt Poker's Ray Bitar and Absolute Poker's Scott Tom.

The Internet domain names used by PokerStars, Full Tilt, Absolute Poker and Ultimate Bet were seized and began redirecting to a message from the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI.

Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced the office had entered into an agreement with PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker to release the domain names and allow U.S. players to register for refund requests directly with the sites.

An offer was also extended to enter the same agreement with Absolute Poker.

Thursday, Absolute Poker responded.

"Absolute Poker has retained Blank Rome LLP as United States counsel to provide legal advice in relation to civil and criminal matters filed in federal court in Manhattan and made public on April 15, 2011," the statement reads.

"Absolute Poker is aware that on April 19, 2011, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York entered into separate agreements with Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars. These agreements concern the use of the respective www.fulltiltpoker.com and www.pokerstars.com domain names. The US Attorney, in a press release dated April 20, 2011, stated that the government is willing to enter the same agreement with Absolute Poker and UB.

"At this time, Absolute Poker’s top priority is, and must be, the refund of balances to its and UB’s U.S. players. However, given the far-reaching consequences of the U.S. Attorney’s actions for Absolute Poker and for the entire poker community, Absolute Poker believes that the responsible course of action is to review with its attorneys the relevant court filings before taking any action.

"Absolute Poker believes that the U.S. Attorney shares the view that refunds to U.S. players are an immediate and pressing concern, and Absolute Poker wishes to make clear that it wants to work cooperatively with the U.S. Attorney to safely and efficiently return its players’ funds. To that end, Absolute Poker’s counsel has initiated communications with the U.S. Attorney’s office and plans to continue proactively advancing those discussions."

The statement also says further information will be provided directly to Absolute Poker and UB’s players.

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