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Poker News | World Poker News

Interview – Paul Leggett, COO of Tokwiro Enterprises, Part 2

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The interview with the Chief Operating Officer of Tokwiro Enterprises continues as Mr. Leggett entertains questions regarding the investigations and names like Russ Hamilton, Annie Duke, and Phil Hellmuth. See Part 1 of the series for background information on the parent company of Absolute Poker and UltimateBet.

Due to the length of the interview and the desire to print Mr. Leggett’s answers in their totality, this will be a three-part series of articles.

Let’s move on to the investigation itself. It seems that Tokwiro has wrapped up its end of the investigation. Is that correct?

That is correct. I think it was July 20-something that the press release came out, and we submitted our final report to the regulatory body, the KGC. They’ve been doing their own independent investigation. They have full access to our systems. We started our investigation the day after we were notified about it, we handed over a complete copy of our UB database at that time or a few days shortly after, and we’ve been in constant communication with them about our investigation.

On July 25th, we provided them with a full report saying that we believe we’ve identified everything that’s gone on here, we’ve collected all the evidence that we can, and we’ve identified all the cheating and everyone believed to be involved in this. They’re still completing their independent investigation, and their auditors have full access to our systems. They’ve been asking us questions, and we’ve been going through everything that we found. But we’ve completed our internal investigation, and we want to verify it by their independent one.

Their independent auditors are Gaming Associates?

It is Gaming Associates, but they’ve just announced publicly about a week ago about the appointment of Frank Catania as an independent monitor to make sure that the investigation is complete, thorough, and that our business is safe and indeed deserving of regulation and license from the KGC. There could also be some corrective actions and whatnot, and I believe he’ll be making his recommendations in a report. KGC is probably the best people to talk to about that independent monitor and exactly what the scope of that investigation is, but I believe they will be making public announcements.

Our company welcomes anything that will work with our business to make sure that our investigation was complete and thorough and that we haven’t missed anything, to make sure that players are paid back completely, and that those responsible are held accountable for this entire thing.

Did the appointment of that independent monitoring team come as a surprise, or was part of the overall plan?

It was a surprise to me; I only learned about it the day before their public announcement. But again, I welcome anything that’s going to help our regulator feel better about us as a company and what we’ve done here, that we’ve done the right things, and that we’re not involved in any way. We want to help reassure the public that the facts are all being brought to light, that our company had nothing to do with this, and that every penny has been paid back. We welcome it with open arms. I think it’s great for the industry and for us personally.

Do you have any expectation on when all of the investigations will conclude?

It’s impossible for me to say that. It’s really dependent upon Frank’s team, and I don’t want to speak on their behalf. I am very, very hopeful that in this month of August that we, as a company, will be able to release more information that will help satisfy the public with more information about what occurred here. Hopefully, we can then commence with the refund process once the KGC and Frank Catania verify that we’ve identified all the cheaters. I’m very hopeful that that’s going to happen in the month of August and that there will be additional information that will come out in September as Frank’s team and the KGC come out with more information.

But I will assume that this investigation will probably go on for several months, and that even after their investigation report comes out, there’s going to be ongoing risk assessments and audits of our company just to make sure that nothing like this can happen again. Even though this investigation may take awhile, I’m hopeful that enough information will be coming out about our legal actions and the investigation and regarding refunds in the next two months.

You mentioned the repayment process to players. I was under the impression that was done, but am I incorrect?

It had begun. The first statement that we made on May 29th, all of those accounts that we had identified at that point and concluded were for sure involved in the cheating were immediately refunded. Now we’ve submitted another list of user names in our final report that we believe are involved, but our legal team and the KGC, of course, wants to verify that this is correct before we move forward. As I understand it, it is in interest of everyone at the KGC, Frank, and us that those additional refunds are completed as soon as possible.

I’d like to touch on a few names associated with UB. You probably knew this was coming, but Russ Hamilton’s name has been brought into the fray by Nat Arem. Can you tell me anything about his former and/or current role with UB?

I’m reluctant to talk about anybody’s former role because I honestly don’t know all of the facts there. I probably know as much as yourself or Nat Arem would know about it. Maybe contacting the previous owners to confirm actual information about his role is the best place to get that. All I can tell you about his current role is that he doesn’t have one with the company. I know that there are tons of rumors about him receiving compensation from us, that he might own us, and other false information out there. Absolutely in no way does Russ Hamilton receive any compensation from us or have any role in this organization.

He has retained legal counsel and is not speaking with the press. Can you confirm that he is part of the investigation?

I cannot confirm or deny anybody that is involved or not involved at this point. Every time I give an interview, obviously people want me to say exactly who is the perpetrator or who is part of the investigation, and I simply can’t. There’s nothing that would give me more personal satisfaction than to do that, but unfortunately, our situation is very complicated.

But I have a ton of evidence – IP addresses, withdrawal information, transfer information, addresses, names – and I’m confident in my own mind that I know exactly what occurred. We’re involved in complicated legal action, and our litigators have forbidden me to say anything about who is or is not involved at this point.

I’m very hopeful that we’re going to be receiving a very large sum of money as a result of our legal actions, something that represents some kind of justice in this whole thing, and I’m very hopeful and committed to doing everything I can to make sure that enough information comes out about this, whether it be through our legal actions or whatever, to make sure that the poker community and the public at large are satisfied at the end of this.

Can you say if there is one person that you’re pursuing or a group of people?

I cannot. But there are several legal actions that we are pursuing.

Regarding Annie Duke and Phil Hellmuth, what are their exact roles with UB?

They’re both professional poker players who endorse the site. Annie Duke has also put her face on the poker tournament schedule for UltimateBet as our tournament advisor, so she comes up with a lot of the ideas we use in our tournament schedules. But they are professional endorsers of the site, and we pay them to wear logos and endorse our brand.

There have been rumors that they were privy to some information about the alleged cheater, and I’m wondering if they are involved deeply enough in the company that they would receive such information.

They are privy to rumors and things like that. Annie does do some interviews, and I know that both of them have tried to relay the information that I’ve put out publicly, but they are not privy to any information that the public at large isn’t aware of coming from me through press releases. There are tons of rumors out there, and I hear all kinds of crazy things.

To be continued and concluded in Part 3…

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