It’s encompassed more drama than most TV crime series, but finally, late Monday night, Phil Ivey and Andrew Robl’s $2.5 million combined bail money secured the federal release of father and son Paul and Darren Phua. Let out of Henderson Detention Center, where the Phuas were being held by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, attorney David Chesnoff expressed relief that the pair were finally free, presumably to be held under house arrest until their trial.
“We are gratified that our clients are free, and they’re looking forward to telling their side of the story in court,” Chesnoff said in front of the center.
It has been a dicey few days, leaving all involved wondering if the Phuas would ever be released from federal custody, with rumors circulating that ICE was initiating deportation proceedings for the duo. Good friends Phil Ivey and Andrew Robl had combined to spend $2.5 million in an effort to post bail for Paul and Darren Phua, who were facing charges related to their alleged role in operating an illegal sports betting ring out of Caesars Palace. Ivey contributed $1 million to the effort, while Robl pledged another $1.5 million.
Ivey’s money had been set to pay for the $500,000 bond set for Darren, who is Paul Phua’s son. The other $500,000 was put towards the $2 million bail set for Paul, with Robl contributing the rest of that amount.
ICE Agents Take Custody
That money should have been enough to automatically free the Phuas, who had their bail set by US Magistrate Judge Bill Hoffman. The bail amount was to be combined with a private jet owned by Paul Phua valued at $48 million that was to be used as collateral, after which the defendants would stay on home detention with electronic monitoring under the custody of a Las Vegas physician.
But that release didn’t happen as automatically as anticipated. While Ivey and Robl did put up the money according to court papers, ICE agents in the Department of Homeland Security swooped in to take custody after the bail was posted, and held them at the Henderson Detention Center, from which they were finally released on Monday.
Support from High Stakes Poker Players
The Phuas have received tremendous support from a few of the biggest names in poker, many of whom know Paul Phua through his play in some of the world’s biggest cash games and poker tournaments. Along with the financial help from Ivey and Robl, the Phuas have also had moral support from Tom “durrrr” Dwan, who was with the two men when they were arrested earlier this month.
Dwan, in fact, signed a sworn affidavit that questioned the tactics of the FBI agents involved in the arrest. He was also seen at the Phuas’ court appearances, and was reportedly having private conversations with their defense lawyers throughout their legal proceedings.
The Phuas were among a group of defendants that were arrested in the days after a raid on three villas at Caesars Palace. Those venues were allegedly being used to run an international sports betting operation that was taking millions in bets on the World Cup, an operation that authorities say was the continuation of one that was broken up in Macau back in June.