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UltimateBet, Absolute owner reaches settlement
Tokwiro Enterprises, the owner of Absolute Poker and UltimateBet, announced Wednesday it has come to a settlement agreement with Excapsa Software to reimburse players who were affected by the recent cheating scandal.
Under the terms of the agreement, Excapsa will pay $15 million to Blas-Off Ltd., the Tokwiro-controlled company that originally acquired UltimateBet.
"This payment will be used immediately to refund players who were affected by the cheating scandal that Tokwiro inherited when it purchased the business from Excapsa," said Tokwiro in a press release.
The agreement was endorsed by the Honorable Madame Justice Sarah E. Pepall of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Monday.
"We are pleased that we have finally agreed to a settlement with the previous owners of UltimateBet, and we are happy to announce the completion of the final refunds to players," said Paul Leggett, Tokwiro's chief operating officer.
"Together with our regulatory body, the Kahnawake Gaming Commission, we have fought long and hard to hold those responsible accountable for the fraud, to refund players, and to ensure this can never happen again."
Leggett said that now that the main perpetrator had been named, the settlement with the previous owners of UltimateBet is behind the company, and players are receiving their refunds.
He also pointed out it should be apparent now that Tokwiro had no involvement in the cheating and fought to correct it with every tool at the company's disposal.
The Kahnawake Gaming Commission confirmed on Wednesday that it had received information about the settlement as well and that the decision it had made in the cheating scandal was being addressed.
"In particular, the KGC has confirmed that UltimateBet has commenced reimbursing approximately US$15M to players who were adversely affected by the cheating incidents. This is in addition to the US$6.1M that Ultimate Bet has already reimbursed to players," said the KGC in a press release.
The KGC said it will defer its final decision in the matter for a short period of time for the purpose of ensuring that all required reimbursements have been made.
"In addition to reimbursements to players, the KGC is considering the available evidence and will decide whether Ultimate Bet has satisfied all of the other terms of the KGC interim decision. The KGC's final decision in this matter is expected to be issued once all player refunds have been confirmed," the commission said.
The KGC released the results of its investigation into UltimateBet at the end of September. The commission concluded that former WSOP Main Event winner Russell Hamilton, who was associated with UltimateBet's affiliate program, was the main person responsible for the multiple cheating incidents.
The investigation was prompted earlier this year after numerous online poker players noticed strange play on the site and started to keep track of the suspicious players. UltimateBet's sister site Absolute Poker was involved in a similar cheating scandal as well where the online player known as POTRIPPER was identified as having a super-user account that enabled them to see all the other players' hole cards at the tables.
After an investigation into UltimateBet, the KGC found that cheating had taken place and that the poker site had failed to implement and enforce measures to prohibit and detect fraudulent activities.
In addition to reimbursing the players affected by the cheating, UltimateBet had to pay a $1.5 million fine to the KGC.
Leggett said that even though it has settled with Excapsa, it reserves the right to pursue further legal action against any individual or individuals involved in stealing from the company or its customers.
"With this settlement, however, our claims against Excapsa are satisfied, and all player refunds will be completed," Leggett said. "This brings us significantly forward in our search for justice in the aftermath of the cheating scandal."
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