Groupe Bernard Tapie has reached a deal with the US Department of Justice that could result in the sale of online poker site Full Tilt and a potential refund of money owed to former customers.
The deal would see Full Tilt forfeit its assets to the US government, which would in turn sell them to Groupe Bernard Tapie for $80 million.
The US government would then be responsible for refunding the estimated $150 million owed by Full Tilt to former US customers, with Groupe Bernard Tapie refunding money owed to international players.
While the US Department of Justice has signed off on the deal, it still must be approved by Full Tilt shareholders, many of whom are facing potential civil litigation related to illegally serving the US market.
In April 2011 the Department of Justice indicted Full Tilt and PokerStars, seizing their domains and freezing bank accounts amid charges of money laundering, wire fraud, and breaking US anti-gambling laws.
PokerStars quickly refunded over $100 million to US players but Full Tilt never repaid a cent to players, claiming various difficulties and uncertainties. The site continued to operate until its gambling license was suspended in June, with it remaining dark and inoperative ever since.
Groupe Bernard Tapie will have its work cut out for it in rehabilitating the tarnished image of Full Tilt but history may be on its side, as the investment group has successfully taken over several struggling businesses and brought them back to profitability.