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Par Jake Pollard - 30 septembre 2011

Full Tilt exclusive: In his first interview, Laurent Tapie says he believes in the Full Tilt project and has the funds to repay players, but admits there is “still a long way to go”

Laurent Tapie has confirmed he has agreed to take over Full Tilt Poker and in his first interview with a media outlet, he told iGaming France that he “wouldn’t have undertaken such a project if he didn’t believe in its potential”.

Full Tilt Poker and Groupe Bernard Tapie, the company bearing his father’s first name that is carrying out the deal, put out a statement today saying they had signed an exclusive agreement to sell the company and all of its associated assets.

The agreement would include the repayment of Full Tilt Poker’s world-wide players in full, is subject to several conditions; the first of which is a favorable resolution with the United States Department of Justice.

Tapie wouldn’t be drawn on the specifics on how much money his company would put on the table, but added: “We have shown that we have the funds necessary to repay player debts. We want to find ways where we don’t have to put in all the money and will be talking to the US Department of Justice next week.”

He would also not be drawn on what kind of compromise he would agree to with the American authorities that could lead to players getting their funds back, but Full Tilt is believed to have player debts of more than US$200m and a figure of US$300m has been widely touted as the minimum amount any acquiring company would need to get it up and running again.

However, the DOJ has frozen around US$331m of Full Tilt players’ funds that were held by online payment companies for the operator. A potential solution could therefore see the DOJ agreeing to return as much of that money as possible to players, while pursuing its civil and criminal cases against Full Tilt’s management. Tapie would then be able to finance any outstanding debts (which would be considerably less) and reopen the site.

He also confirmed the site would keep the Full Tilt Poker brand: “The brand is not in question, it’s a well-known brand and the technology is widely recognized as being possibly the best in the industry. The management of the company is being questioned and it will be changed (should the takeover be concluded). I believe we have the tools necessary to once again make the site one of the leaders in the online poker sector.”

Tapie added there was “still a long way to go” before the deal is definitely done but said he hoped to have the site reopened by January 2012.

iGaming France understands the deal signed by Tapie is a binding agreement which he can exit if he doesn’t reach agreement with the different parties he’s in discussions with and that Groupe Bernard Tapie is currently the only investor, but there could be new investors coming into the structure as the project develops.

A French version of this article will be available shortly.

Catégories : Droit/Législation, Europe, Finances, France, Interview, USA

Vos réactions

  1. Full Guilt Poker - 30 septembre 2011 21:42

    You can get your « FULL GUILT POKER » t-shirt on ebay!

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