Home > Online Poker > Ivey and Benyamine in FTP Scandal

Ivey and Benyamine in FTP Scandal

Pros in $10m loan controversy

This weekend saw the jaw-dropping release of Phil Ivey’s Full Tilt Poker account information, revealing that he owed the company up to $6.2million. Ivey, one of the leading faces of Team Full Tilt, was shown to have received a total of $10.2million from the site in loans between June 2009 and April 2011. 

The story was broken by Subject: Poker editor-in-chief Noah Stephens-Davidowitz, who claims on the Two Plus Two forums that he came into possession of the raw data not from ‘someone looking to harm somebody’, but because he went looking for it.

Ivey originally sparked his fair share of controversy when he entered into a lawsuit (now withdrawn) against Tiltware, Full Tilt Poker’s software provider, following the events in the weeks after Black Friday. Ivey condemned the company, stating that he was ‘deeply disappointed and embarrassed that Full Tilt players have not been paid money they are owed’, even taking the drastic step of choosing to boycott the 2011 WSOP in protest.

Tiltware hit back hard, describing Ivey’s lawsuit as ‘frivolous and self-serving’ and an attempt ‘to further enrich himself at the expense of others’. They even went so far as to let slip that ‘Mr. Ivey has been invited – and has declined – to take actions that could assist the company in these efforts, including paying back a large sum of money he owes the site.’

Stephens-Davidowitz makes a number of allegations based on the account information, the highlights of which are as follows:

 Ivey received a loan totalling $10.2million in $500k and $1million installments credited to his Full Tilt account over the course of two years.

 In October and November 2009, he made repayments to the total of $3million.

 After this, save for his last recorded repayment in the spring of 2010, Ivey continues to receive large sums but ceases to pay them back.

 It is possible the money was repaid in cash or bank wires for which no information is available, but Tiltware’s ominous reference to Ivey’s debt suggests otherwise.

Another big name to be embroiled in the fracas is none other than Full Tilt Red Pro David Benyamine. Stephens-Davidowitz asserts that:

 Benyamine appears to have been indebted to FTP dating back to 2008.

 Sizeable deductions were being made from his salary and bonuses almost as soon as he received them, with the transactions noted as ‘loan collections’.

 By 2010, Benyamine was collecting a hugely increased yearly salary of $500k. However, it was clear he still wasn’t debt-free, with his hourly payments and rakeback going out of his account the same day they went in.

 Benyamine managed to withdraw with apparent ease a sum of $5,500 for ‘travel expenses’ seventeen days after Black Friday, while thousands of Full Tilt players remain to this day unable to touch their frozen funds in the wake of April 15. 

This is a further slap in the face for all players awaiting reimbursement, following the recent news that the hearing into Full Tilt’s potentially unlawful actions has been postponed until mid-September. It is still uncertain whether or not rumours of prospective investors in the site will come up trumps, but for now all that the masses of frustrated players can do is wait.   

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Categories: Online Poker
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