A claim was filed by Full Tilt Poker CEO Raymond Bitar on September 28th, 2011, against the forfeiture allegations by the United States Department of Justice. The Federal Rules for Civil Procedure encompasses Rule G of the Supplemental Rules for Admiralty and Maritime Claims and Bitar's claim is filed in accordance with Rule G.
Admiralty Law generally covers offenses that are maritime in nature - the law also covers "commercial activities that are land based or occur wholly on land, that are maritime in character." In effect since December of 2006, Rule G also "governs procedures for civil asset forfeiture actions in federal courts."
Bitar's claim states that he has "legal and equitable ownership in various companies (set out in the Government's First Amended Complaint) in varying percentages including ownership interests in Full Tilt Ltd. and Tiltware LLC." The government is attempting to forfeit his ownership in the domains of those entities according to Bitar's claim.
Bitar attests that he not only has ownership in Full Tilt and Tiltware but goes on to state he has "legal and equitable ownership interests in the bank accounts of those companies as well as a bank account in my name."
Three accounts that were set out in the first amended complaint are referenced in Bitar’s claim:
- account numbered 1892947126 held at Comerica Bank, Dallas, Texas in the name of Tiltware, and all funds traceable
- account numbered 1892947134 held at Comerica Bank, Dallas, Texas in the name of Tiltware, and all funds traceable thereto; and
- account numbered GB81 RBOS 6095 4234 0877 66 held at NatWest, in the name of Raymond Bitar, and all funds tranceable thereto.
Bitar is disputing the "government's forfeiture allegations" and he is also requesting "an opportunity to challenge the government's forfeiture claim; both the factual allegations and legal claims, as contained in the Complaint." Bitar states that his "claim to the specified property is superior to the government's interest" in the properties and the "assets subject to forfeiture are neither proceeds nor instrumentalities of any crimes in any jurisdiction in the United States or elsewhere."
Ray Bitar's entire claim can be found here.