02 Feb 12

Exclusive: Groupe Bernard Tapie Unable to Collect Owed Funds from Several Pros

In an exclusive statement to PokerStrategy.com, Groupe Bernard Tapie attorney Behn Dayanim has revealed that the French investment group has discovered a significant sum of money still owed to the company by several pros.

As most poker players already know, Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT) is a French investment group which is currently in the process of taking over Full Tilt Poker. The group already has a signed agreement with the US Department of Justice to purchase the assets of the company for $80 million, assuming several other conditions are met.

GBT has recently been conducting due diligence in order to gain a complete awareness about the financial situation and inner workings of Full Tilt. Behn Dayanim, an attorney representing GBT, told PokerStrategy.com that the due diligence stage of the takeover is currently "nearing completion, but not yet done."

During this process, GBT discovered that the financial situation of the companies comprising Full Tilt is substantially worse than they had hoped. One of several financial issues negatively impacting the situation is that many well-known poker players still owe the company substantial amounts of money. Most of these players have expressed a lack of willingness to address this.

"It could put the deal in serious jeopardy."

Due to the fact that the Full Tilt companies are in worse financial condition than had been anticipated, the collection of these debts has assumed increased importance.

Behn Dayanim explained the situation to PokerStrategy.com:

"GBT doesn't want to acquire assets which will need to be litigated over later. In total, the sum owed to the company is between $10 and $20 million. Several of the players who owe money and have not yet expressed a willingness to pay their debts include Phil Ivey, Layne Flack, David Benyamine, and Erick Lindgren. Barry Greenstein, Mike Matusow, and others owe a smaller but still significant amount.

If the money doesn't come in, it creates a serious obstacle to completion of the deal. This isn't the only issue with the takeover, and the deal won't end on any one issue - but this is a substantial item."

Some pros have argued in the past that they don't want to pay GBT and that they would only consider paying their debts if the money goes directly to players. Today, this argument can reasonably be viewed as disingenuous taking into account that the completion of this deal would lead to a substantial infusion of cash to players from GBT.

As always, PokerStrategy.com will continue to keep you informed on this and any other developments related to Full Tilt Poker.

By Matt Kaufman