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Absolute Poker Changes Story Again, Digs Deeper Hole, AJ Green Implicated

So maybe unicorns aren't real. Absolute Poker has finally released an official statement on the insider cheating scandal that has rocked the online poker world this past week, and not surprisingly, no one is buying it.

JtnOn deck to deliver the Absolute bs word this time is Joe Norton (photo at right), an ex Grand Chief of the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake and owner of Tokwiro Enterprises, which holds a 100% interest in Absolute Poker.

While the statement (which you can read in its entirety after the jump) consists mostly of a bunch of empty words written by lawyers and spinsters that gloss over many of the glaring questions raised over the past month, we do learn that Absolute Poker is changing its "geek employee trying to prove a point to senior management" story and is now going with "a high-ranking trusted consultant whose position gave him extraordinary access to certain security systems."

So who be that?

Well Nat Arem and Serge Ravitch, two of the online poker players who've dedicated a ridiculous amount of time to uncovering the truth in the AP case and who should be hired by another online site and paid ridiculous amounts of money as security consultants, are suggesting on 2+2 that AJ Green is the man at the center of the cheating scandal. If you recall, Green is reportedly Potripper and Scott Tom's best friend. He was formerly the VP of operations at Absolute, was ousted and was a manager at Nine.com BUT, and that's a BIG BUTT, according to Arem, Green has in fact been "running daily operations at AP" and is actually the guy who was sending out and approving the early AP statments on the scandal.

So why don't they crucify Green for the sake of saving Absolute? As Arem surmises on 2+2:

"Think about how much he knows about both the money flow, ownership, other scandals, etc within AP and UB. Lots of people with heavy interests in both of those either don't want those stories coming out or they don't want their dirt being told to law enforcement. Basically, he has them by the balls because he has their dirt. Described at the simplest level as blackmail."

If this is true, expect Absolute to continue digging its hole deeper as online poker players refuse to let up until heads roll or Absolute is shut down. Or both.

We have more to say on this but it's time to go eat some tacos.

Read the 2+2 thread on Norton's statement here. See what the P5ers are saying here. Find out what Kemo Sabe means here.

ONE OTHER THING: Meant to post this earlier but unrelatedly, Scott Tom and Oscar Hilt Tatum were passengers in a plane that skidded off the runway in Costa Rica this past September. Some accounts suggest Tom is still the CEO and Hilt the CFO of Absolute and UB. Read the translated news story on the accident here.

UPDATE: Gambling911.com's Christopher Costigan offers some insight on AJ Green, including that he "is described by those who know him in Costa Rica as an 'a**hole'" and that he does not appear to be a part of the fraternity all the original founders belonged to. He also heard a rumor that the person implicated has a coke problem. Read his story here.

October 21, 2007

Dear AP Player:

I am the former Grand Chief of the Mohawk Territory of Kahnawake and the owner of Tokwiro Enterprises ENRG, which holds a 100% interest in Absolute Poker.

As many of our players are aware, there has been a security breach in our system that allowed unlawful access to player information that resulted in unfair play. I am writing to you today to let you know what we know so far in order to set the record straight, and to assure you of AP’s commitment to player security. I am sure that this letter will not address all of the questions and concerns you may have, nor will it extinguish the heated discussion surrounding this issue. At this point, our intention is to let you know all we can disclose and to assure you of our continued efforts to keep you informed as best we can as the investigations continue.

We deeply regret this situation has occurred. A breach in security in online poker is serious and of great concern to players and the industry worldwide, and this particular situation has been the subject of debate within the poker player community and in the media, giving rise to the creation of several websites and hundreds and hundreds of comments, opinions, and theories of what occurred – some of which are accurate, and some that are not.

Like you, I have not been happy that during the initial stage of our investigation, AP has not been more forthcoming in providing a timely or comprehensive explanation on this matter, giving rise to anger, suspicion, and concern on the part of our valued customers. I hope that our customers can appreciate that this remains an incredibly complex and sensitive issue, and I want to give you my strongest possible assurance that we will be as forthcoming as possible on how this breach occurred and what we are doing to remedy the situation.

What We Know and Actions We Have Taken

AP was notified by a customer that a possible cheating incident occurred during a recent tournament, and in response forwarded players’ hand logs. This disclosure of the hand logs prompted our customers to determine that a more serious security breach had occurred. We immediately launched an internal investigation and also requested a formal audit by Gaming Associates, an acknowledged world-wide expert in audits, interactive gaming tests, and information security.

Based upon our preliminary findings, it appears that the integrity of our poker system was compromised by a high-ranking trusted consultant employed by AP whose position gave him extraordinary access to certain security systems. As has been speculated in several online forums, this consultant devised a sophisticated scheme to manipulate internal systems to access third-party computers and accounts to view hole cards of other customers during play without their knowledge. As this consultant was aware of the details of our fraud detection process, the likelihood that the scheme would be uncovered through our normal procedures was minimized. We consider this security breach to be a horrendous and inexcusable offense.

We will pay for all losses suffered by the affected players as soon as our audit is finished and the amounts are determined. Although we are in the process of attempting to recover all the winnings of this consultant, any unrecovered losses of affected players will be paid by Absolute Poker so that all affected persons will be made whole.

Next Steps

We are still investigating whether the consultant was acting alone or in concert with others, and it appears at this time that all account holders are innocent of collusion and were unaware of any wrong-doing by the consultant, who was immediately terminated. We continue to investigate this matter aggressively, and all of these preliminary findings are subject to the audits currently underway. We have recently uncovered additional accounts used by the consultant that have not been publicly reported. So as to not compromise the investigation, we are not releasing the names of these additional accounts at this time, and will contact these affected customers individually.

The specific allegations of unlawful activity are being investigated both by AP and by the authorized authorities, including the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. We will continue to actively cooperate with these authorities in full compliance with the Regulations Concerning Interactive Gaming. In addition to our own investigation and the audit by Gaming Associates, we have also submitted to an audit by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission.

Please be assured that we have corrected the problem that allowed the system to be unfairly manipulated. We are working furiously to increase the safeguards within our systems. While we are satisfied that our systems are secured, we realize that our security systems must be continuously monitored and enhanced.

Without question, this incident has been unfortunate for all concerned, and we will emerge as a stronger company. I realize it will take some time and much more information for AP to re-earn the trust and confidence of our customers who are in doubt of our commitment to the highest levels of security, privacy and integrity. As we move to address and correct this situation, our valued customers have played a vital role in uncovering this scheme through various online forums and have become an active part of the solution.

With my full sincerity, I thank you, and I promise to keep you updated as we bring this situation to a close.


Joe Norton

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