The public hearing into the suspension of poker website Full Tilt Poker’s licence by the Alderney Gambling Control Commission (AGCC) has been adjourned after lawyers for the troubled company called for the public to be removed from the Park Plaza Victoria Hotel in London so proceedings could continue in private.
With the hearing halted until September 15 – at the latest – Full Tilt solicitors are thought to be deep in talks with the AGCC over the likelihood that the case will be heard in private.
Michael Heslop, Full Tilt’s lead solicitor, addressed the crowded hotel in Britain’s capital city by saying that “it is not in the interest of justice that this should be aired in public”.
He added that “there is a real risk that it may be detrimental to these interests and highly prejudicial to this decision”.
Moreover, it is highly probable that Full Tilt are worried that negative reports will hamper the proposed takeover of the company by an unnamed group of European investors.
Many rumours have circulated that Full Tilt are close to striking a deal with the investors, who would help pay back the frozen accounts of their many customers, although it is still unclear whether these potential saviours would be interested in buying the company’s US assets.
Full Tilt was, of course, shut down by the US Department of Justice (DoJ), along with PokerStars and Absolute Poker, on April 15 in relation to allegations of fraud, bribery and money laundering, but has yet to return the estimated $150 million (approximately £91.4 million/€103.4 million) in unpaid player funds.
Additionally, some reports have suggested that the European investors are only interested in the poker room’s UK and Irish assets, and possibly some of the firm’s other European licences, which will only add to the worries of Full Tilt’s American customers.
Full Tilt’s operating licence was suspended on June 29 by the AGCC as a result of major concerns that the poker room had broken the terms of the agreement – including allegations of unpaid licence fees of approximately £250,000 (about $410,259/€282,771) – with the Channel Islands authority releasing a statement at the time that pointed out that “the purpose of the hearing will be to make public evidence from both AGCC and Full Tilt regarding the suspension of Full Tilt’s license and to adjudicate the findings transparently”.