[credit provider=”Courier-Mail” url=”http://www.couriermail.com.au/ipad/web-kings-life-on-the-line/story-fn6ck45n-1226039907165″]
The internet is still coming to grips with the huge online gambling bust that just took down the U.S.’s three biggest online poker sites.But Australia’s Courier-Mail newspaper already has the scoop on the one man who may have single-handedly built the online industry … then handed it to the U.S. government on a platter.
According to this story, Daniel Tzvetkoff was a young Australian entrepreneur who set up the payment processing schemes used by the biggest poker sites to handle their (mostly illegal) transactions.
He is described by those who know him as a “boy wonder” and “genius” who started his first company at 13 and knew all the intricacies of e-commerce.
He made Full Tilt Poker and Poker Stars millions of dollars — and made as much as $150,000 a day for himself — but then got even more greedy and started taking their. They sued him, accusing Tzvetkoff of taking more than $100 million of their money.
Then last April, Tzvetkoff was arrested in Las Vegas and charged with the same crimes those sites’ founders were charged with today: money laundering, bank fraud, wire fraud. As an Australian citizen with a lot of cash, he was considered a flight risk and denied bail.
Then after a “secret” meeting with prosecutors last August, he was suddenly out on bail. And now his former colleagues are the ones facing serious prison time.
Daniel Tzvetkoff knows the operations of these poker sites inside and out. It was knowledge of the financial industry that allowed them to operate. He’s the one man positioned to give the U.S. Attorneys everything they needed to take down their businesses.
And it looks like that’s exactly what he did, cooperating with the authorities to avoid his own lengthy jail sentence.
All the major gambling prosecutions in the U.S. since Tzvetkoff’s arrest have been run out of the office of Arlo Devlin-Brown, the Manhattan Asst. U.S. Attorney who is Tzvetkoff’s “handler.”
According to a source, Tzvetkoff “knows how to reverse-engineer transactions to determine its original source,” making him very valuable to investigators.
And the biggest irony of all? It’s been rumoured that the only reason the FBI got their hands on him is because Full Tilt or Poker Stars (the companies he used to work for and stole from) tipped off the FBI that he was going to be travelling to the United States last year.
They ratted him out … and he turned the tables. No honour among thieves.
And as the Courier Mail put it, if this were still the old days, he’d be buried in the Las Vegas desert right now.