The April 2011 Black Friday scandal is still a topic of discussion more than six years later.
And now, a new story involving the scandal has emerged with BBC News reporting that money laundered by Ray Bitar, one of Full Tilt Poker’s founders, has been recovered by US authorities.
Bitar, an American citizen, was found to have laundered millions of dollars through the Channel Island of Guernsey.
In 2015, the US Department of Treasury and Guernsey agreed on a deal for both countries to split the money illegally laundered by the former online poker site executive.
Both governments praised each other for working together to find a solution. Guernsey agreed to seize Bitar’s bank accounts from 2012 to 2015 during an investigation into his finances.
“Guernsey has an ongoing and exemplary commitment to international co-operation and mutual legal assistance and we are therefore extremely pleased to announce this asset share,” Guernsey Attorney General Megan Pullum told the BBC.
Prior to Black Friday, Full Tilt Poker was an online poker giant, along with PokerStars. The poker site hired numerous big name pros to represent its brand, including executives Howard Lederer and Chris Ferguson, Phil Ivey, and Tom “durrrr” Dwan.
Players such as Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond, durrrr, and Viktor “Isildur1” Blom, would often compete in the highest stakes games in the world at FTP. Getting to watch these games from the rail is part of what drew millions of poker players to the site.
But things all fell apart for the once popular online poker site in April 2011 when the US Department of Justice shutdown the site. Due to mismanagement by Bitar, Lederer, Ferguson, and others, when FTP went under, there wasn’t money available in reserves to pay out player balances.
Spared Jail Time
Many customers were forced to wait a few years before receiving their money. Bitar, in 2013, plead guilty to unlawful internet gambling and conspiracy to commit wire fraud, but served minimal jail time when US District Judge spared him a lengthy stay behind bars due to the executive’s alleged heart condition.
Bitar, along with Ferguson and Lederer, went into hiding for years to escape the media scrutiny and angry former Full Tilt Poker customers.
He resurfaced in 2015 when married Jacquelyn Lucas in a multi-million-dollar ceremony, leaving many disgruntled ex-FTP players wondering where he got the money.