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Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar Surrenders To U.S. Authorities

Internal Email Confirms PokerStars Interest In Buying Full Tilt Poker Assets


Ray BitarOn Monday, an email posted to poker forum TwoPlusTwo broke the news that Full Tilt CEO Ray Bitar has returned to the U.S. and surrendered himself to the FBI at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Bitar was among the 11 indicted in April of 2011 for violation of the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act, as well as money laundering. The allegations stated that the online poker companies illegally coerced banks into processing payments after the UIGEA was passed.

In the leaked copy of an internal email sent to Full Tilt staff, Bitar confirmed his surrender, as well as the rumor that began circulating in May that PokerStars was in the process of purchasing the company’s assets.

The DOJ has yet to release a public statement on Bitar’s surrender.

Below is the email:

To all Dublin Staff,

By now you probably have heard that I have returned to the US to deal with civil and criminal case that are pending against me in New York. We have all worked hard over the last 15 months to preserve Full Tilt’s assets and potential in order to provide for the repayment of all players, and that continues to be our top priority. It is as important as ever that we all do everything possible to make that happen and, hopefully our deal with Poker Stars will very soon make our goal a reality. My return to the US is part of this process.

I am particularly grateful to all of you here in Dublin for your hard work, patience and understanding during this difficult time. I believe that your hard work and dedication should not go unrecognized, and we have made arrangements for Poker Stars to guarantee all July salaries. You should therefore have no concern about coming to work during this period. After that, we expect that your employment contracts will be assumed by the buyer of the company’s assets.

For those that need to reach me, I expect to continue to be available by email and phone starting late Monday, New York time.

In the meantime, please refer any operational questions to REDACTED, and any HR questions to REDACTED.

Thank you all again.

Kind regards,

Raymond J Bitar

Former Utah banker John Campos was sentenced to three months in prison last week for his part in processing over $200 million in online poker payments.



over 9 years ago

Never trust a fat man who plays poker. I have a hard time trusting any fat people, add poker to the mix and, well, you know the rest. Case in point: Howard Lederer. He used to be real fat, but then he had the surgery to cover his tail... I'm mean trail.

I'm serious about this folks. Not all fat people/players, but most.


over 9 years ago

I wonder if he is getting a plea deal? I kinda feel like all of these guys are going take deals. I also have to admit that his press release makes me almost believe that Poker Stars would by a dead company with no assets, no player base and no brand name value just so they can repay their 200+ debts.... almost. There is no business reason for Poker Stars to buy Full Tilt but I have to admit his press release kinda made it seem real. I'll eat crow if it happens.


over 9 years ago



over 9 years ago

Ray "Butterball" Bitar.


over 9 years ago

I'm not excusing what Bitar did. I wish FT had been smart enough to keep player funds separate.

However, US banks are allowed to keep only 10% of their deposits to cover loans. Also, Social Security is the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of mankind.

Again, FT blew it but I do find it hypocritical that the US government has the nerve to call FT a Ponzi scheme given their ethics and regulations for banks.