DOJ Releases Some Stars Funds

September 3, 2011 - 9:53 PM EDT

The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York has agreed to release an unspecified amount of money to PokerStars.

The agreement does not say how much money has been released. Instead, it says only that the DOJ has agreed to release all funds in a particular Luxembourgish account except for $5.5 million. It explains that the $5.5 million was derived from the real money play of US players. Presumably, the remaining funds in the account were released because they were demonstrably not derived from US players.

The account, one of the many listed as subject to forfeiture as part of the April 15th civil complaint is held in Bank Hapoalim Luxemburg in the name of Sphene International, a company which held many of the accounts seized. Before April 15th, Sphene received deposits and processed withdrawals for PokerStars players both in and out of the United States.

It is unclear at this time what, if anything, caused this account to receive special attention from SDNY and PokerStars.1 Perhaps this account has some unique feature that allowed PokerStars to secure the release of some of its funds, or perhaps this agreement will be the first of many. Subject: Poker will continue investigating this issue, and we will report what we learn.


  1. Various DOJ documents refer to “all accounts held at Bank Hapoalim (Suisse) SA, Luxembourg, in the name of Sphene International.” So, it appears that there are other such accounts that have not had any of their funds released.

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7 Responses to DOJ Releases Some Stars Funds

  1. reemas
    September 4, 2011 at 1:30 AM EDT

    Lost a big flip when I chose FTP over Stars…

    • Alex
      September 4, 2011 at 11:49 AM EDT

      So true!

    • dwayman
      September 5, 2011 at 12:15 PM EDT

      It was more TT v AKs. The hints were in the customer support. I’m never folding in this spot though.

  2. Shizzmoney
    September 4, 2011 at 1:29 PM EDT

    I, of course, had to be a degen and play both!

  3. Rodolfo
    September 4, 2011 at 3:48 PM EDT


    how can US lock a non-us bank account?

    • Noah Stephens-Davidowitz
      September 4, 2011 at 3:53 PM EDT

      It varies based on country. They either have some sort of agreement with the other government or they make a request to the other goverment and/or local authorities and get approval.

      I don’t know how it specifically happens in Luxembourg.

      • Simeon
        September 8, 2011 at 1:46 PM EDT

        I thought Luxemburg had bank secrecy?

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