French investment group, Groupe Bernard Tapie, has reached an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department that could pave the way for the group to take control of beleaguered online poker operator Full Tilt Poker, an attorney for the investor group said Thursday.
Under the deal, the investment group, Groupe Bernard Tapie, will buy the company for $80 million, the attorney, Behnam Dayanim, said. The investor will try to restart Full Tilt's operations outside of the U.S., he said.
The deal, which presumably needs to be approved by a two-thirds vote by FTP shareholders, also states that GBT will be responsible for paying back players outside the U.S., and the Department of Justice will pay back players in the U.S., who are owed approximately $150 million. Specifics are not known, but U.S. players will have to apply for compensation through the DOJ.
According to PokerNews.com, the DOJ has agreed to dismiss the civil forfeiture proceedings against FTP, which removes liability for the company's shareholders; however, it will not impact the individual proceedings against those individuals named in the indictments including Howard Lederer, Chris Ferguson and Ray Bitar.
The deal also states that current FTP directors cannot hold shares in the company.
The DOJ has repeatedly said it cannot confirm or deny the deal, while Ray Bitar from Full Tilt Poker released a statement to PokerStrategy saying, “I am extremely pleased with the efforts of the Department of Justice, and the Groupe Bernard Tapie corporation, and appreciate their continued dedication in working towards a mutually beneficial agreement that will facilitate repayment of the players."
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