Laurent Tapie, Director of the Bernard Tapie Group, has confirmed that unpaid pro debts could jeopardize the impending Full Tilt deal.
Responding to a recent interview with BTG lawyer Behn Dayanim, Tapie confirmed to iGamingFrance that the unpaid debts of 19 poker pros, including Phil Ivey, Erick Lindgren and David Benyamine, could threaten the impending deal to purchase Full Tilt Poker's assets.
The unresolved debt of $16.5 million is not something the Group is willing to take on, Tapie says, especially since the overall financial situation at Full Tilt is "worse than expected."
Still, Tapie says they have reached out to all of the pros and some have even signed repayment contracts already. Some have yet to respond.
Tapie also specifically said Full Tilt players will only be refunded if GBT completes the takeover, which will require "the bulk" of that money returned.
If it isn't repaid, Tapie says it is true it could block the deal.
Said Tapie, roughly translated:
"The poker community, and particularly that made up of former Full Tilt players waiting to recover their funds, deserves to know the reality of the behaviour of some major poker figures who say they are ‘sorry for the situation of Full Tilt players and want to do everything they can to help them get their funds back, blaming the old management, but also refrain from saying how much they have borrowed from Full Tilt, and lost, playing on the site.
"However these losses represent some of the funds owed to the players who are waiting to be reimbursed. When you are a poker player, a great player at that, recognised and admired, the basic rule, it seems to me, is to honour your gambling debts.
"Fortunately, among the 19 players we have attempted to contact, some have immediately called back and worked with us on a repayment plan to clear their debts, and we are already finalising contracts to that effect."
Read the rest of Tapie's comments at iGamingFrance.