After months on the lam Full Tilt Chief Ray Bitar has handed himself in to the US authorities in New York and been formally arrested by the FBI according to the US attorney's office for the Southern District of New York.
According to an email from Bitar to his staff in Dublin leaked on the 2+2 forums earlier today he claims that his return to the States is part of the process which will lead to the take over of his company by PokerStars and the repayment of the players whose funds have been in limbo for the past 15 months.
Bitar will have a lot to answer for however as, according to Forbes.com, "Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have also filed a superseding indictment against Bitar detailing fresh allegations regarding Bitar’s alleged efforts to conceal Full Tilt’s cash crunch following the April 2011 crackdown on online poker".
The Ponzi scheme accusations which Bitar and his company strenuously denied are being upheld by Federal prosecutors noting that after the events of Black Friday when Full Tilt clearly did not have the liquid funds required to pay back its US players they continued to take deposits from other countries as they were dependent on them to meet the backlog of withdrawl requests. The fact that during this time Bitar and fellow owners of Full Tilt still continued to pay themselves millions of dollars in salary rather than use these funds to pay back players has not exactly won Bitar any friends.
Since Federal prosecutors indicted 11 people involved in the online poker industry for operating illegal gambling businesses last year they have so far obtained seven guilty please and are also pursuing a $3 billion civil forfeiture case against the online poker companies.
For more details visit the 2+2 thread here and the Forbes.com article here