GBT Attorney Behnam Dayanim Explains Situation to PokerStrategy.com

PokerStrategy.com spoke to Groupe Bernard Tapie attorney Behnam Dayanim to find out additional information on the GBT takeover deal of Full Tilt Poker falling through.

Earlier today, it was reported that Groupe Bernard Tapie's highly anticipated takeover deal of Full Tilt Poker fell through, and rumors have surfaced that PokerStars may end up purchasing Full Tilt.

Behnam Dayanim, an attorney representing Groupe Bernard Tapie (GBT), explained to PokerStrategy.com where things went wrong:

"The deal ultimately foundered on two points - the first was rest-of-world (ROW) player repayments. We made clear from the very beginning of negotiations that we were committed to making ROW players whole. As long ago as February, we had discussions with DOJ about the timeline for that repayment.

We indicated that we were not able to repay ROW players in full immediately. It would have to be a process over time - people would be able to play with their full balances immediately, but we were not able to allow full withdrawal of all funds immediately. This is not an uncommon way to handle creditor claims in financial reorganizations of this nature.

We continued to negotiate with DOJ on that basis, but in the final stages of negotiating DOJ came back to us and said that they could not agree to any deal that didn't involve complete repayment of all players within 90 days - we said that we couldn't do that."

GBT's second point of concern was the interpretation of the deal by countries outside of the United States:

"The other issue that we had continuing concerns over was the possibility that the forfeiture would be regarded as a fraudulent transaction in foreign courts if challenged by creditors of Full Tilt. As a result, the acquirer might incur the liabilities of the company along with the assets."

Basically, this means that in some countries outside of the United States, it may have been possible for Full Tilt creditors to challenge the legality of the forfeiture and claim that GBT was responsible for all Full Tilt liabilities even though they would have technically only purchased the company's assets.

"In fairness, that was a risk that we had understood for a while, but it was still there. If it were the only risk, we likely would have gone ahead with the deal, but that combined with the last-minute change on the position of ROW players just made it not make sense anymore."

Dayanim did not know whether or not PokerStars had actually entered the picture as a new purchaser of Full Tilt. He commented:

"If there is a deal with PokerStars, it very well could be the case that they decided that the two risks I just outlined were acceptable in light of an overall resolution to the DOJ legal position. They could have decided that those risks were small in the grand scheme of their situation, and that they would therefore be willing to deal with them."

PokerStrategy.com will continue to closely follow and report on this story as it develops.

by Matt Kaufman 

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