Former EPT Director 'Stole Hundreds of Thousands of Euros'3 years ago
A 7-year old ‘rumour’ concerning a former EPT Tournament Director and missing PokerStars EPT Madrid prizemoney has resurfaced this week, with a Finnish poker journalist claiming that the well-known Thomas Kremser was responsible for stealing possibly hundreds of thousands of euros from EPT side events.
Juhani "AdMinister" Tyrisevä was reminiscing on his career as a live reporter at many of Europe’s biggest poker events when he brought up the subject of Kremser being “given the boot” at EPT Madrid, the event notable for a well-documented shortfall of €20,000 in a side-event, which sponsors PokerStars had to reimburse, the company ending their association with Kremser almost immediately afterwards.
“My prudent guess is that Kremser and his partners have stolen hundreds of thousands of euros along the way”, Tyrisevä stated in an interview with Pokerisivut.com, alluding to the fact that Kremser had a seven-year working relationship with the EPT’s main sponsor PokerStars.
Kremser himself has long claimed that he parted company with PokerStars amicably after he decided not to renew his contract, but many in the industry had raised eyebrows at the timing of the departure back in 2011 – almost exactly when the tournament shortfalls were discovered.
When asked at the time if there was ‘any link between the parting and the controversy in Madrid’, Kremser stated, “No, I made my decision long before”, but as journalist Tyrisevä claims:
“No one knows with certainty whether the decision to terminate the agreement had already been made before the theft came to light, but the case itself was quite clear. The whole story came out thanks to Juha Helppi, who was one of the three players left in the $5,000 side tournament. The players were negotiating a chop and Helppi noticed that the event had 80,000 chips more than there should be. It was quite obvious that the buy-ins of four players had been misguided from the prize pool. PokerStars returned those 20,000 euros in the prize pool, but I do not know whether the money came from Kremser or the company's own pocket.”
Kremser explained back in 2011 that:
“We made a chip inventory, looked at player lists and counted all the money back stage but couldn’t find a mistake. A meeting was called between PS and TK and it was decided to add money to the prize pool for the avoidance of doubt which was agreed by the players.”
Tyrisevä states that “Kremser's wife and a gentleman named Gerard manually handled the entire EPT money transfer for seven years until PokerStars developed a computer-based system”, adding that the main events were well-regulated by Madeleine ‘Mad’ Harper.
This, he alleges, is why “it was far less risky” for Kremser to skim money from “the side tournaments that nobody controlled".
“At that time, all the purchases were made in cash, so it was not a difficult process to give players a badge and put that buy into their own pocket," he says.
The Finnish website interview has brought old wounds to the surface for some players, 2+2 poster ‘Chuck Bass’ posting:
"It’s actually super interesting because this whole mess got swept under the rug pretty hard by PokerStars and they still owe players hundreds of thousands of euros (rough estimation) from this."
"A PokerStars employee basically stole players' funds for many years and once Stars found out, they decided to not tell anyone and not refund anyone. There are hundreds and hundreds of people who fell victim to this scam, myself included."
The Finnish journalist ended his piece by stating:
“Perhaps something should be said about Kremser having an interesting hobby - he collects sports cars."
PokerTube have reached out to Thomas Kremser and PokerStars to respond to these historic allegations.
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