Guernsey Returns $14.3m that Ray Bitar Laundered

ray-bitar-full-tiltFour years ago, former Full Tilt Poker CEO Ray Bitar was ordered to return $40 million of ill-gotten funds. But it turns out that this money doesn’t represent the entire amount that Bitar took from Full Tilt customers.

A recent BBC report sheds light on how Bitar laundered funds through the British Crown dependency, Guernsey.

The English Channel island recently returned $14.3m (£10.6m) in laundered funds to the US Department of Treasury. This money was related to both the Full Tilt case and a separate legal matter.

The island of Guernsey is a frequent target of criminals looking to launder money. That said, they have deals in place with various countries to bring down these perpetrators.

Guernsey calls itself a “reliable partner” of the US when it comes to seizing criminal assets and laundered money. They often keep part of the money they recover as payment for helping. In Bitar’s case, they kept a matching £10.6m of what was returned to America.

Guernsey Attorney General Megan Pullum QC praised both her island state and US authorities for their efforts.

“Guernsey has an ongoing and exemplary commitment to international co-operation and mutual legal assistance and we are therefore extremely pleased to announce this asset share.”

The Story of Ray Bitar

full-tilt-poker-ray-bitarRay Bitar was put in charge of Full Tilt Poker by fellow founders Chris Ferguson, Howard Lederer, and Rafe Fuerst.

All four founders dealt with the US Department of Justice after Full Tilt failed to ring-fence player deposits. The world’s second largest poker site was using player funds to pay lofty salaries and sponsor top pros.

When the US DoJ cracked down on Full Tilt Poker for violating banking laws in 2011, they didn’t have enough money to repay players.

Much of the blame was put on Bitar since he was running the company. However, he was able to avoid jail time through a plea bargain since he had a serious heart condition. Bitar has since had heart surgery, lost weight, and gotten married.

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