It appears that the Scheinberg family – the previous owners of the Oldford group who sold to the Canadian company Amaya Inc. for $4.9 billion – remain adamant that they are not going to release money from an escrow account required by Amaya to fight expensive legal disputes .
Our readers will recall that the $300 million escrow account was set up during the Oldford sale negotiations and was intended to cover any outstanding legal costs arising in respect of the period during which the Scheinbergs were managing Oldford, a group that includes the Rational Group, Pokerstars and Full Tilt.
Amaya is deeply embroiled in tough litigation with legal companies acting on behalf of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, where Judge Thomas Wingate of the Kentucky Circuit Court, recently handed down a punitive $870 million judgement against Pokerstars in respect of its activities in the state prior to the sale to Amaya (see previous reports).
Amaya has already been required to furnish a $100 million supersedeas bond in order to delay payment of the ridiculously high judgement, having claimed that Pokerstars Kentucky revenues at the time did not exceed $18 million…but it wants cash from the escrow fund to assist in the fight, and the Scheinbergs are resisting, although the grounds for their refusal to cooperate are not clear.
It was not always thus; earlier this year the disputed escrow fund coughed up Euro 5.9 million in Italian back tax following an audit on the Pokerstars subsidiary Halford Media Italy.
Amaya is now in a position where it has to pay more legal expenses in an attempt to get at the escrow funds, all at a time when it is fighting the Kentucky ruling on appeal.