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Absolute, UB Reach Agreement with DOJ, Players Funds Still in Limbo
Absolute Poker and UB have reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice, but U.S. players shouldn't expect any money on the sites to be returned just yet.
"Absolute Poker has reached an agreement with the United States Attorney's office for the Southern District of New York," reads a statement from the sites.
"Under the agreement, the US Attorney's Office has agreed to provide all necessary assurances that third parties may work with Absolute Poker to facilitate the return of funds to players located in the U.S. This provision is an important step to returning U.S. player funds.
"Unfortunately, the Company still faces several legal issues which must be navigated before funds can be paid out to U.S. players."
April 15, 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.
PokerStars, Full Tilt, Absolute Poker and UB have all since pulled out of the U.S. market and began the process of defending themselves against the charges.
Absolute Poker issued a statement in late April claiming it had retained council and parent company Blanca Games Inc. said last week it has downsized and streamlined operations significantly at both UB and Absolute.
After letting its roster of sponsored pros go earlier this week, the company says it has notified authorities that it has closed its U.S. operations, stopped real-money poker play in the U.S. and will not be asking for the return of its worldwide domain names, www.AbsolutePoker.com, www.UltimateBet.com and www.UB.com.
In the meantime, the company says its top priority is the refund of account balances to U.S. players.
"The company's U.S. attorneys, Blank Rome LLP, continue to work diligently to resolve these issues, which is a necessary further step to facilitate the return of funds to players," the statement reads. "Player funds, therefore, will not become immediately available for withdrawal as a result of today's agreement with the DOJ.
"Today's signing of the agreement with the DOJ is an important step towards the safe and efficient return of funds to our U.S. players. We can now move as expeditiously as possible to establish proper mechanisms for the return of funds to our U.S. players.
"Blank Rome LLP will continue to engage in discussions with the SDNY in order to complete the necessary agreements for the final transfer of balances to our U.S. 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."