I’ve just completed the 3 hour interview called “The Lederer Files” (you’ll find all 7 parts on youtube), created by a suspect journalist at PokerNews.com. I say suspect as he was obviously very passive in his questioning which was disappointing. Louis Thereaux would have been much more enteratining!
For those of you who aren’t aware who Howard Lederer is, or what on earth I’ve been posting messages about the past few days, let me summarise in a few short sentences for you:
Howard Lederer was a co-founder and shareholder of Full Tilt Poker along with a few other pro’s. Full Tilt engaged in some very dodgy dealings, and were operating for a large period of time when they knew they didn’t have funds to cover player deposits (which is highly illegal and against their licensing regulations) – Even when the owners discovered this, they CONTINUED to accept deposits from European players which is comparible to a pozni scheme, as these covered withdrawl requests from other players to cover any issues up.
Finally, the world came crashing down as the Department of Justice indited certain share-holders, and the reality of the situation was exposed. Who lost out? Well, any US player with a Full Tilt Poker account containing funds, as these people are still today unable to retreieve their money (some accounts containing substantially large sums).
Howard Lederer is hardly the only person at fault, but since the problems began, no major player has come out to give their account or reasoning behind what happened. No apologies, no explanation, nothing. Now that FTP has been sold to PokerStars, Lederer agreed to do this interview to try and clear his name.
However, in a 3 hour interview, no apology to Full Tilt Poker players was made. In fact, Lederer used this interview to try and push his colleagues under an already fast moving train and try and get himself away from it. The unfortunate thing for Lederer is that this was incredibly transparent to anyone with 2 brain cells… Bad decision Howard!
I’ve never been an owner or shareholder of a business, especially not one that has $500 million being paid out in dividents over a few years, but I’m pretty sure that if I was, I’d have an idea of the businesses finances and how well it’s doing. Howard completely denied knowing that the company had a difference of $250 million between player accounts and what the company actually had in terms of cash in the bank. Not only were they crediting poker accounts BEFORE the money had been withdrawn from a players bank account (to the sum of $146 million!), but they were giving out loans wrecklessly to “friends” within the game.
Let me give one good example of the disaster that was full tilt. Erick Lindgren supposedly received a $2 million loan from full tilt. However, without being known to the share-holders, this was double credited. Yup. The guy recevied $4 million by accident, and no one even attempted to retrieve this or even knew about it until the ship came crashing down…!
Lederer continued to justify this as a company that grew out of control, which is true, but yet there was still no apology, and just a string of excuses as to how he himself is the good guy in all of this.
The title of this blog could, in a way, lead to some liability issues for defamation of character. I mean, he’s not been found guilty in any court (yet!!!!), but he is at least guilty of an incredibly moral crime if not a legal one. He was ultimately responsible for this, and even had the cheek in the last part of the video to almost ask for sympathy for when he returns to the poker world so that he is accepted by the poker community. HA! I think if anything, this interview has made him even more hated…!
The world of poker has a lot of negative stigma associated with it, and this situation will re-iterate that but also bring it into the 21st century due to taking place in the online world rather than the physical one. It’s ashame as with business such as PokerStars, PartyPoker, Betfair Poker and more, they don’t deserve to be hurt by the actions of criminals, but that’s exactly what’s going to happen. It will also harm the chance of the a US turnaround in reintroducing the legalisation of poker within the US.
One thing I’m surprised at is the lack of press this interview has got. Nowhere in the UK’s paper or news media have I seen a mention of what’s happened?! I mean, this is a company that was worth billions of dollars, with one of the men primarily responsible giving a 3 hour interview! For an industry that’s worth over $100billion, you’d think it would get at least some publicity?!
Final thought for the day: Ivey, Lindgren, John Juanda, and other players associated with this horrible situation.. They made judgement calls. Some right, some wrong, most with their own profits in mind, but these guys were NOT decision makers, they did NOT know about what was going on, and when they did they quickly showed their unwillingness to “help” these crooks. Ivey suing FTP may have been counter-productive but completely understandable, and Lederer’s stupidity in commending this as disgraceful shows how deluded he is in terms of considering himself as a “good” player in the mess….
Online poker may never be the same again.. Sad times. Anyway, here’s part 1 of the Lederer Files. I really recommend watching this even if you don’t want to brave the full 7 parts!
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