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Saturday, June 4, 2011

Australian Federal Police - FBI Gambling On Success, by Greg Tingle - 4th June 2011

Australian news media continues to be swamped with gambling news. Today we probe the FBI - Australian Federal Police probe into gambling in Australia and its relationship with mainstream sports brands, banking and more! Media Man and Gambling911 probe the prober's - Gambling911 - Media Man - Gambling911 style...

Our friends at the Australian Federal Police has been instructed to assist a US investigation into alleged bank fraud by online gambling (casino and poker websites) in which the FBI alleges $US540 million ($507 million) was laundered by an Australian online payments - e-commerce processor.

As one might imagine charges laid in New York's Southern District Court have also put a significant question mark over sponsorship arrangements by James Packer's Crown Casino, whose Aussie Millions Poker Championships tournament was this year sponsored by controversial online poker firm Full Tilt Poker, and the NRL's Cronulla Sharks, who proudly sports the equally controversial PokerStars as their shirt sleeve sponsor.

"It's a US investigation, but we're assisting," an AFP spokeswoman said.

The charges, which come with jail sentences of up to 30 years and fines running into the millions of dollars, have also kicked along a public feud between Full Tilt and its star poster boy player, Phil Ivey, who has days ago filed a lawsuit in Nevada alleging the company owes gamblers more than $US150 million in unpaid winnings.

Public allegations Full Tilt has been implicated in money laundering also caused him "public ridicule, humiliation, and loss of personal and professional reputation," Ivey stated in a complaint filed with the Clark County District Court on Wednesday.

It was in April, the FBI unsealed a grand jury indictment charging 11 people, including the founders of Full Tilt, Pokerstars and another "Big 3" online poker site, Absolute Poker, with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling. Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment (formally PartyGaming) we're not dragged into the mess and they had previously come to financial and legal terms with the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ). It's understood Party have not accepted U.S players for over 5 years.

United States feds and other investigator types launched a civil suit against the igaming websites and some of the companies that processed their payments claiming a total of roughly $2 billion.

In its indictment, the FBI alleges Intabill, a British Virgin Islands-registered company associated with bankrupt Australian information technology entrepreneur Daniel Tzvetkoff, "processed at least $543,210,092 of transactions for the poker companies from mid-2007 through March 2009".

US authorities charged gambling e-commerce poster boy Tzvetkoff with money-laundering offences last year, but he has since been released on bail and is reported to be one of three confidential witnesses who are co-operating with the FBI investigation, shored up in a safe house for safe keeping.

It needs to be noted that Tzvetkoff is not named in the case brought by US authorities, the indictment alleges Intabill had a central role in processing payments for the poker companies.

The FBI alleges "Intabill disguised the gambling transactions as the transactions of dozens of phony financial service merchants".

Many Australian media and commentators continue to call Australia's the biggest gamblers in the world. Hope the Aussies are taking the title as a compliment.

Friends, good punting, know your limits and bet with your head, not over it.

Punters, er readers, stay glued to Media Man and Gambling911 reports for more "can't miss" information on Australian pokies, gaming and casino wars.

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming. Media Man also publishes Media Man News

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