Raymond Bitar, the CEO of the Full Tilt Poker Gambling empire was finally arrested after surrendering to US authorities. He was already arranged in court and plead not-guilty to a variety of charges including money laundering plus a litany of fraud charges claiming Full Tilt cheated players.
According to MSNBC:
Full Tilt and Bitar have denied the Ponzi scheme accusations.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman at Monday’s court hearing denied a prosecutor’s request to refuse bail for Bitar, and set his release on a $2.5 million bond. He will, however, remain jailed until all the bail conditions are met.
Prosecutor Arlo Devlin-Brown said Bitar’s decision to stay in Ireland rather than face U.S. charges showed he was at risk of flight. Devlin-Brown said that Bitar had remained in Ireland to operate Full Tilt’s fraud against its players.
Since unveiling the case, prosecutors have expanded both their civil and criminal charges against Full Tilt. They say it operates as a Ponzi scheme and paid its directors more than $440 million while defrauding players, even after the charges were filed.
Prosecutors say Full Tilt, founded in 2004, has taken in about $1 billion from players in the United States. They estimate that Full Tilt still owes $350 million to customers in the United States.
“I know that a lot of people are very angry at me. I understand why,” Bitar said in a statement emailed to El Reg. “Full Tilt should never have gotten into a position where it could not repay player funds. For the last 15 months, I have worked hard on possible solutions to get the players repaid. Returning today is part of that process.
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