Absolute Poker Strikes Deal With DOJ

In case you haven’t heard, Absolute Poker and its sister site UB.com are having quite a month. There is no denying that the CEREUS Network poker rooms were the hardest hit by the Black Friday seizures, and the latest news makes it hard to believe that either can or will bounce back. Having said that, there has also been some good news coming from that direction this week, especially for American members that are wondering if they will ever get their funds back.

As we reported last week, many industry analysts were predicting that Absolute and UB would shortly be filing for bankruptcy. Those predictions were backed not only by the sites’ inability to pay withdrawals to their members, but also by a recent company-wide layoff of employees that was followed by an office raid by Costa Rican authorities. Furthermore, Blanca Games – the CEREUS Network’s parent company – sent notice to some of its debt holders that it would be unable to fulfill any financial obligations for the foreseeable future, and as a result some of those supporting companies (namely Madeira Fjord of Norway) have already filed for bankruptcy.

The upside to this grim scenario is that UB.com and Absolute Poker issued a statement the very same day that news of the raid broke. The statement insisted that the poker brands were merely “restructuring” and that not only would they be hiring back a portion of their employees, the changes would “strengthen the company and its future.” The press release made many CEREUS Network fans hopeful going into the weekend, but by Monday the general consensus was negative again with the announcement that UB.com had broken contracts with its entire team of pros, many of whom – like Prahlad Friedman – were only recently signed as part of the site’s rebranding efforts.

Continuing their post-Black Friday roller coaster ride, Absolute Poker and UB.com announced today that they have finally reached an agreement with the Department of Justice that will allow them to access American membership funds that have been frozen since the FBI shutdown on April 15. It’s a step that the other effected poker brands – PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker – took over a week ago, but it is still good news for CEREUS Network players that thought they would never see their money again.

The bad news – because there is always bad news – is that neither Absolute Poker nor UB.com are giving a date when American members can expect to start withdrawing their currently inaccessible player funds. While the CEREUS Network sites have been firmly optimistic about their ability to retrieve the funds from the necessary third party processors, they have also admitted that there are still “several legal issues” that they need to overcome in order to start processing withdrawals. In other words, former Absolute Poker and UB.com players that were hoping to transfer their bankrolls to another site and get back in the game ASAP may still have a long wait ahead.

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