Shock as PokerStars Founder Isai Scheinberg Hands Himself Over to US Authorities

3 weeks ago
Shock as PokerStars Founder Isai Scheinberg Hands Himself Over to US Authorities
09:29
26 Jan

PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg appeared in a Manhattan court this week to plead not guilty to five Black Friday indictment charges that have been hanging over him for almost a decade.

The 73-year old Israeli-born Canadian was one of eleven men indicted on April 15th 2011 after US Attorney Preet Bharara went after those who were conducting poker business in the grey area left by the 2006 UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gaming Enforcement Act).

The other ten men, including Full Tilt CEO Ray Bitar and Absolute Poker’s Scott Tom, have all made various deals and had sentences delivered in their cases.

In 2012, Scheinberg helped US authorities to solve the mess left behind from the Full Tilt scandal by buying the company and paying $731million – much of which was returned to players whose funds were stolen by Bitar and others.

However, his own outstanding Black Friday charges have never been settled, and last week Scheinberg voluntarily flew to New York to hammer out a compromise.

With reports that the US had started extradition proceedings after Scheinberg flew to Switzerland several months ago, Scheinberg this week appeared in a Manhattan federal court.


Forbes.com revealed that Scheinberg pleaded not guilty to charges listed as: Operation of an Illegal Gambling Business, Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud, Wire Fraud and Money Laundering Conspiracy, as well as two UIGEA violations.

Scheinberg reportedly surrendered his passports and was released on bail of $1million. In court, federal prosecutor Olga Zverovich related that the government has been negotiating a deal with Scheinberg.

“We have an agreement in principle on the basic terms,” Zverovich stated.

In 2012, Scheinberg handed over control of PokerStars to his son Mark on the back of the Full Tilt buyout deal, the company sold in 2014 to Amaya Inc, a Canadian conglomerate later renamed The Stars Group.


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Andrew from Edinburgh, Scotland, is a professional journalist, international-titled chess master, and avid poker player.Read more

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