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UB, Absolute Restructure, Refute Bancruptcy Reports
Rumors regarding the demise of UB and Absolute Poker have been slightly exaggerated according to a release from their parent company today.
While several news outlets and online poker affiliate sites with news-like content reported the sites were filing for bankruptcy Wednesday, the site's parent company, Blanca Games Inc., has issued a statement claiming they are simply restructuring.
"As previously stated, Absolute Poker and UB ceased their U.S.-facing operations due to recent legal developments in the United States," the statement reads. "The company is currently restructuring and is focusing its resources on consolidating its non-U.S., rest-of-the-world operation and software business."
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 Blanca Games Inc. said Wednesday it has downsized and streamlined operations significantly at both UB and Absolute.
"This decision comes after considerable review and analysis of the impact that ‘Black Friday’ has had on the business as a whole," the statement reads. "The workforce has been liquidated, and the process of rehiring approximately 20% of staff in key positions has commenced. All affected employees have been informed of this necessary restructure."
The sites employed more than 300 people in Costa Rica.
”We regret that we have been compelled to take these actions," a company spokesperson said.
"We have worked tirelessly to create a truly amazing company that is filled with extraordinary people. We have always been and still remain fully committed to our employees and players. At the same time, we are confident that this restructuring will strengthen the company and its future.”
As to the erroneous reports regarding the site's Bancruptcy, the company claims these stem from the fact that Blanca recently informed a debt holder, Madeira Fjord, that it was terminating its relationship and debt payments.
"As a result, Madeira Fjord apparently filed a notice of bankruptcy in Norway," the spokesperson said. "This notice has no negative impact upon Blanca, the operating company, or its brands. As stated previously, Abolute Poker and UB continue to operate their non-U.S. facing business around the world."
In the meantime, both sites have increased their maximum withdrawal limits to $1,000 for Visa withdrawals and $500 for all other methods.
Players are still restricted to one transaction per week, but the site's claim to be working to return non-U.S. withdrawals to normal service levels as quickly as possible.
The company’s legal counsel is in continuing discussions with the U.S. Attorney’s office to formalize an agreement that would facilitate the return of funds to U.S. players.