Blanca Games, the parent company of the Cereus Poker Network, issued a statement over the weekend in an attempt to explain the offices raided in Costa Rica on Friday, in which agents of the Organismo de Investigaciones Judiciales (OIJ) raided the offices of both Absolute Poker and UB.
As noted in a Costa Rican news broadcast, the raid of the two poker rooms occurred at the offices of Innovative Data Solutions (IDS), the customer service center for both Absolute Poker and UB.
Speculation were running rampart that the office raids were somehow related to the Black Friday indictments involving Scott Tom and Brent Beckley of Absolute Poker, but Blanca Games claims this is not true.
The Blanca Games press release read, in part, “The Organismo de Investigaciones Judiciales (“OIJ”) took action yesterday to further their investigation of Olman Rimola, the owner of IDS, Scott Tom, who was also recently named in the indictment list issued by the Department of Justice on April 15th, and a third lesser known party, Oldemar Vargas.”
In reply, a representative of Blanca Games commented:
“We want to correct the rumors being reported in poker circles and the wider community that yesterday’s events are related to the recent Department of Justice indictments. Our understanding is that this is not the case, and that they were driven by local investigations of a separate matter in Costa Rica that involves a concerted effort to locate and apprehend Rimola, Tom and Vargas for questioning in relation to a money laundering investigation.”
Other than what Blanca Games has come out and said, it is still unclear exactly what the OIJ raids which occurred on Friday May 6th were all about or if they had anything to do with the online poker indictments.
Appearing on the QuadJacks radio show, A.J. Green, a former Vice President of Operations for Absolute Poker and Costa Rica law enforcement agent, said that both the FBI and Interpol were likely the driving forces behind the Costa Rica raids on both Absolute Poker and UB.
Interestingly, the same day the raids on Absolute Poker and UB offices took place, law enforcement officials also raided the PokerStars offices located in Costa Rica. Later it turned out that it was a case of mistaken identity as it was thought they were targeting Absolute Poker and UB.
The past week has been a complete nightmare for Absolute Poker and UB. On May 5th the company laid off approximately 95 percent of its workforce in order to reduce costs as much as possible to refocus on its non-U.S. operations. The U.S. based Team UB pros were not immune from this either, and as a result 11 pros including Prahlad Friedman, Eric “Basebaldy” Baldwin, Joe Sebok, Maria Ho, Brandon Cantu, Tiffany Michelle, Scott Ian, “Hollywood” Dave Stann, Adam “Roothlus” Levy, and Bryan Devonshire, were laid off.