After meeting with the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday, the Poker Players Alliance reported that little progress has been made in repayment of more than $200 million to Full Tilt Poker's U.S. customers.
PPA Executive Director John Pappas said in a press release that he and PPA counsel had a "cordial and productive meeting" with officials from the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section of the DOJ. Pappas explained that he provided the officials with information and insight into what the player community expects from a remission process that was set forth when the DOJ made a deal with PokerStars in July.
As part of the deal, PokerStars acquired the assets of Full Tilt Poker and agreed to repay non-U.S. players within 90 days. The U.S. Department of Justice was thereby responsible for reimbursing U.S. players.
Pappas added that the PPA and DOJ also discussed a timetable for completing repayment, as well as the DOJ's hiring of a third-party claims administrator to assist in the remission process.
However, after the hearing Pappas said it was clear that "no decisions have been made at the DOJ regarding the manner of repayment of player balances."
"This is certainly not good news for those poker players still awaiting the return of their money, but it is all the news the PPA can provide at this time," Pappas said in a statement on Tuesday. "Beyond that the PPA can only pledge to continue its work with the DOJ and do everything it can to help the DOJ get the process moving as soon as possible. The PPA’s legal team is already working on specific methods to help accomplish this objective.
According to Pappas, completion of a refund claims process is a "long way away" and there is no date set for selecting a third-party claims administrator. Pappas says progress is being hindered by the DOJ's lack of staff and resources in addition to numerous other forfeiture cases being administered.
Pappas says that the PPA has offered to help the DOJ expedite the process and that the organization's legal team is working on ways to make cooperation happen.
Players in the U.S. remain in the dark about their funds, but Full Tilt Poker reopened to much of the world last week and made available more than $184 million in customer funds. That includes segregated markets like France, Belgium and Spain, where Full Tilt Poker's new operation is not available, but players could withdraw their funds through PokerStars.
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