TheHendonMob.com – a poker affiliate website best known for its industry-leading poker player database and a poker forum – announced on Sunday it has chosen to end its “exclusive relationship” with Full Tilt Poker online poker site. Along with Hendon Mob website's departure from Full Tilt Poker affiliates, its four founders – brothers Barny and Ross Boatman, Joe Beevers, and Ram Waswani – have all left the Full Tilt Poker Team pro as well.
In a statement issued Sunday night the Hendon Mob members explained that due to Full Tilt's actions (or lack of action, to be more precise) following Black Friday and their inability to ensure the return of player funds, the site has come to the decision to no longer associate themselves with Full Tilt.
“We have therefore chosen, as well as ceasing to be Full Tilt Pros, to end The Hendon Mob.com’s exclusive relationship with Full Tilt Poker. This frees us for new opportunities, both as a website and as players and we look forward to an exciting future that we hope you will all be a part of,” said Hendon Mob members in the statement.
They have also expressed their concern about the current situation regarding the frozen money in Full Tilt accounts, especially of players who registered on the site through TheHendonMob: “We are well aware that a great deal of players including many who signed through The Hendon Mob still have money on FTP, as well as steps tickets, player points etc. going forward, and in any scenario where Full Tilt Poker resumes trading, we will as an affiliate continue to look out for the interests of our players and to try to achieve the best possible outcome regarding their funds. We do not take the loyalty of our community for granted.”
However, the four seem optimistic about the future and tend to use this as a new opportunity both for themselves and the Hendon Mob community: “This frees us for new opportunities, both as a website and as players and we look forward to an exciting future that we hope you will all be a part of.”
Unsurprisingly the statement came out just a few hours before Full Tilt Poker's and the Alderney Gaming Control Commission's (AGCC) hearing which started off again on Monday. The hearing which took place at the Riverbank Park Plaza hotel in Vauxhall, South London and was closed to both members of the press and the public is supposed to clear things out between Full Tilt and the AGCC which suspended FT's egambling license back in June.
AGCC's chief executive André Wilsenach said he was very “disappointed” with the decision to keep the hearing private. “I believe the public has a right to know the reasoning behind the decisions to suspend FTP’s licenses and call a hearing,” stated Mr. Wilsenach.
Still, The Hendon Mob's reaction to Full Tilt's license being suspended was completely the opposite to that on Sunday. In June, the site owners stated that they did not want to cause Full Tilt more problems than they already had: “We do not see how it would help a single player right now were we to seek to deny our association with FTP or take any action that would add to their current problems,” was The Mob's response in June.
However, now Full Tilt appears to have even more problems than it did after Black Friday and even after their egambling license suspension. On Tuesday – just one day after the start of the Full Tilt's and AGCC's hearing, staggering news came from the Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s Office. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara announced that the prosecutors were amending their original complaint, which was issued on April 15th indicting Full Tilt's founders and shareholders of money-laundering and illegal online gambling activities.
The new amendment accuses Full Tilt's CEO Ray Bitar and board members Howard Lederer, Chris “Jesus” Ferguson and Rafe Furst of defrauding FT players in a Ponzi scheme: “Full Tilt was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme. Full Tilt insiders lined their own pockets with funds picked from the pockets of their most loyal customers while blithely lying to both players and the public alike about the safety and security of the money deposited,” claimed Mr. Bharara.
PokerWorks will bring you more on this as the story develops.