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Australia Cracks Down on Online Poker

Australian Federal Police authorities are cooperating with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to pursue online poker sites and their related payment processors for felonies in both countries. Both Australia and the US have laws against allowing banks to process transactions with offshore gaming sites.

The Australian law targets only online casino games, such as blackjack, roulette and slot machines, where the US law prohibits most forms of online gaming, including sports betting and poker. Australian law also forbids online gaming sites to advertise on television, but PokerStars and Full Tilt, two major poker sites whose domain names were seized by US prosecutors, sponsor two prominent rugby league teams.

The center of the investigation is Daniel Tzvetkoff, an Australian citizen who created several hundred bank accounts to process online poker payments. When the major poker sites he worked with threatened to sue him, Tzvetkoff turned informant and provided the FBI and the US Justice Department with the means to shut down the sites. When the indictments against the poker site executives came down and the FBI seized the domains on 15 April, the poker world called it “Black Friday”.

Tzvetkoff currently resides in a New York safehouse while he waits for his turn to testify against his former business associates. However, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission still wants to question him regarding allegations of securities fraud and bookkeeping irregularities.  According to reports, Tzvetkoff still has over US$100 million stashed away in various locations in both the US and Australia.

30-May-2011, 12:24

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