Ponzis are often described as the worst kind of fraud, but this one is even worse, according to a new report.
The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has found that some of the owners of PokerStars, the Australian poker company, have made huge losses from their scheme, which is still operating after being taken over by the US-based online poker firm.
“The Ponziology phenomenon has gone global,” ASIC chairman Peter Smith said in a statement.
“The PNP, in particular, has demonstrated its willingness to make money from Ponzicias.”
The scheme was taken over in September last year by US-headquartered online poker giant PokerStars after being purchased by US billionaire Mark Cuban, who has become one of the biggest players in the online poker business.
PokerStars is now the third-largest online poker company in the world with more than $5 billion in revenue, according the company.
It has also been accused of operating an aggressive Ponziologist-like scheme that failed to repay the investors.
A number of Pokerstars investors have sued the company, and the Australian Securities Commission (as ASIC) has ordered the company to repay investors in the scheme, but the owners have not paid back the money.
The ASIC report said that at least 20 of Pokerstar’s shareholders, including its founder Mark Cuban and other directors, have been charged with Ponzification offences.
After the company was taken to court, Cuban offered to settle the case with the ASIC, but said he would not accept the offer, according a statement by the company on Monday.
Cuban also said he was confident he could repay the money to investors.
“I have a lot of respect for the Australian government, and I believe they have the right to investigate this,” he said in an interview with the Financial Review newspaper.
“I am confident I will be vindicated and I will repay the investor to whom I have given the money.”
The company said it would continue to pursue its legal action against the alleged owners.
“This is not about money,” it said in the statement.
This is about integrity, integrity is what we’re doing here and that’s why I will continue to be aggressive.
“Cuban’s lawyer, James Mancuso, told the Financial Press that the Australian Tax Office was investigating the scheme and he expected to win the case.”
We are not the target of the investigation, but we do have to defend ourselves against the allegations of the Australian tax authorities,” he told the paper.”
It is a very serious matter that will be pursued vigorously.
As the investigation continues, we will not be making any further comment at this time.””
We are investigating the actions of PokerStar’s former directors, former officers and other stakeholders and are confident we will find it appropriate to pursue any relevant action,” a spokesman said.
“As the investigation continues, we will not be making any further comment at this time.”
A spokesman for the PokerStars said: “We will continue our aggressive pursuit of all relevant authorities.”
This article has been updated with the latest ASIC report.