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News : Irish Economy Last Updated: Sep 21, 2011 - 9:00 AM

Dublin jobs in peril as US calls Full Tilt Poker a 'global Ponzi scheme'; 500 Irish Aviva jobs at risk
By Finfacts Team
Sep 21, 2011 - 7:12 AM

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The US on Tuesday accused the owners and the board of directors of online poker site Full Tilt Poker of operating a 'global Ponzi scheme.' Hundreds of jobs in South Dublin are in peril at Pocket Kings, an administration unit of the firm. Meanwhile, it has been reported that Aviva, the insurance giant, may cut as many as 500 off its Irish payroll.

Last April Finfacts reported that the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York announced the unsealing of an indictment charging eleven defendants, including the founders of the three largest Internet poker companies doing business in the United States - - Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker - - with bank fraud, money laundering, and illegal gambling offenses. In Dublin, the company called Pocket Kings employs about 700 people and provides services to Full Tilt Poker.

"Full Tilt was not a legitimate poker company, but a global Ponzi scheme," Preet Bharara, the US attorney, said in a statement (pdf).

The office of the United States Attorney said Full Tilt Poker "defrauded players by misrepresenting that their funds on deposit in online gambling accounts were safe, secure and available for withdrawal at any time.

"In reality, Full Tilt Poker did not maintain funds sufficient to repay all players, and in addition, the company used player funds to pay board members and other owners more than $440m since April 2007."

"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 with the company," Bharara said.

The statement added that in March 2011, Full Tilt Poker owed $390m to players around the world but had only $60m in the bank.

Last week, Pocket Kings said it may have to cut 250 jobs in Dublin but following the new charges on Tuesday, the situation may be more dire.


Aviva, the UK headquartered global insurance giant that was previously known as Norwich Union, is  reported to be finalising restructuring plans that could see the loss of up to 500 jobs at its Irish business operations where it currently employs about 2,000.

RTÉ’s Prime Time programme reported last night that the insurer is said to be finalising a major restructuring plan with Irish staff advised to expect an announcement as early as next month.

The company is reported to be considering relocating part of its general insurance business to the UK with the company's UK headquarters said to be increasing its role in the Irish division.

Prime Time said correspondence it had seen showed that between 300 and 500 jobs are under review.

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