Mark Scheinberg, the son of PokerStars founder Isai Scheinberg and the company’s acting Chairman of the Board came to an agreement this week on a $50 million settlement with the US Department of Justice. The settlement clears Scheinberg of any wrongdoing stemming from PokerStars online poker activities and allows PokerStars to recoup any frozen assets currently being held by the DOJ –which is the first we’ve heard of this.
Scheinberg’s settlement is worded very similarly to the other Black Friday settlements of Howard Lederer, Rafe Furst, Chris Ferguson, and PokerStars itself, in that Scheinberg admits no wrongdoing and seems to have been a preemptive move, as you’ll see below. It was also noted that this settlement is not connected to the earlier PokerStars settlement in 2012.
Scheinberg ascended to the leadership position at PokerStars when his father was forced to step down as part of the settlement he brokered with the DOJ last year; a settlement that saw PokerStars fork over a total of $731 million to the DOJ, in order to get off the hook civilly and criminally, while also receiving Full Tilt Poker as a consolation prize. Get VIP access with your online poker experience only at Titan Poker VIP.
As far as I can tell, the first outlet to break the news was OnlinePokerReport.com, where the story has been updated throughout the day and as more and more details emerge. Unlike his father, Mark Scheinberg has never been criminally of civilly charged by the US DOJ, but based on the wording of the forfeiture a case may have been in the pipeline or that the DOJ still has frozen PokerStars assets as Chris Grove theorized.
Rational Group (the parent company of PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker) Head of Corporate Communications Eric Hollreisser issued a statement to the poker news website PokerFuse.com earlier today stating:
“Mark Scheinberg, the CEO of PokerStars, has agreed to forfeit USD $50 million to the US Government. This forfeiture settles potential claims against Mark’s assets based on the allegations contained in the April 15th 2011 US Government complaint against PokerStars. The agreement is not in response to any action that had been brought against Mark and contains no admission of wrongdoing, culpability or guilt on his behalf.”
Others have started speculating that the settlement will increase PokerStars chances of securing an online poker license in the US, be it in New Jersey, or in another state down the road, which was first speculated on by New Jersey blogger John Brennan, who has been following the politics of New Jersey online gaming since the outset.
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