The last couple of weeks at Cereus have shown that they are in a bad situation financially. Not only have U.S. players not been paid anything but non U.S. players have only received $250 if they have even received that. Many non U.S. players have reported not getting paid anything yet and none of them have been paid over $250. On top of this most if not all affiliates have canceled all of their Cereus promotions. It is safe to assume that Cereus not being able to pay them weighed into that decision. Today the poker forums have been active with Cereus inside information.
The first topic is that Blanca Games, the latest shell company to own Absolute Poker and UB, has notified debt holders that they cannot make payments on their notes. They also notified debt holders that there would not be any future payments. This is what was posted by Mookman5, someone very involved in reporting on the Cereus scandal. Note that Madeira Fjord is a shell company created so that debt holders could receive payments.
April 30th, 2011
Dear Madeira Fjord, AS Shareholder,
Since the last meeting of shareholders, there have been a number of developments that affect our Company.
Most importantly, Blanca Gaming has provided notice to our subsidiary Avoine that it is currently unable to make any payments toward its debt obligations. Additionally, Blanca has further advised that there will be no future payments.
Over the past 60 days, the Company has accumulated current debts in excess of $250,000 which are increasing at $100,000+ per month. These obligations are primarily legal and professional fees in Norway.
With no cash on hand and no prospects for any cash flow for the foreseeable future, the Board of Directors is required by Norwegian law to enter the bankruptcy process. The Oslo court will appoint a Receiver who will review the affairs of the Company including the assets, liabilities, and its recent transactions. After a full assessment, the Receiver will make a determination how to enforce any applicable rights, obligations, and obtain the maximum value for its assets in the best interest of the Company.
As the Receiver is a court appointed 3rd party, we can be assured that the Receiver will evaluate all relevant options including any applicable soliciting proposals from interested parties related to the assets of the Company. Funds accumulated through the Receivers’ efforts will be disbursed according to Norwegian law.
As of the date of the filing, the Board of Directors is relieved of duty, and all future matters are in the sole control of the Receiver.
Madeira Fjord, AS Board of Directors
In addition to this it seems that Absolute Poker and UB are laying virtually all of their employees. Often times emails that get leaked like this come from anonymous sources but I think it is safe to assume they are authentic. A lot of this information came from this Two Plus Two thread.
Cereus has never been a safe place to play. I was a prop there back when they first started and I am quite certain their cheating scandal dates back to almost the beginning of Absolute Poker. UB also had their own long running cheating scandal that destroyed many lives. For some reason online poker players still decided to play on these rooms. Even after the cheating scandals it came out that Absolute Poker was not using secure connection and they still continued to be one of the biggest online poker networks. Cereus even defaulted on its note to the former Ultimate Bet owners and lost the Ultimate Bet domain and players continued to flock there as Cereus created the shell company Blanca Games to shield the network from its creditors.
The poker forums were full of these warnings for years and Googling Absolute Poker brings up a Youtube video of the cheating scandal as well as many pages dedicated to the scandals in the top results. It is hard to imagine there were many players that did not know they were playing on a site that has displayed rogue, dishonest behavior over and over again. If a player did not know it was because they failed to use due diligence when selecting an online poker room. It seems now the time has come where the ponzi scheme has collapsed and has run out of money.
Even though the poker room is still technically open it is becoming more and more apparent that they are bankrupt. Defaulting on bond holders, declaring that they have no cash flow for the foreseeable future, ignoring cashout requests, laying off most if not all of their staff and not keeping communication lines open with players shows that the time to say goodbye to Absolute Poker and UB is coming near. All I can say is good riddance. I will leave you with the email sent out to employees letting them know they no longer have jobs.
To: All Staff
From: The Executive Management Team
Date: Monday, May 2, 2011
As all of you are aware, action was taken by the U.S. Department of Justice on April 15th and we have closed our US-facing operations. We now have to focus our resources on developing our non-US operations and software business. Unfortunately, this also means we must immediately restructure our organization and significantly downsize our operations.
It is a very sad day for all of us, as we have worked so hard to create a truly amazing company that is filled with extraordinary people. We have always been and remain fully committed to the employees and consultants of this business.
TBT employees will be paid full liquidations in accordance with Costa Rican labor laws. Consultants will be paid severance based on length of service. IDS liquidations have been previously funded in full to Olman Rimola.
Some of you will be approached by the business for a new role with a much smaller company that is focused on continuing our non-US operations and software businesses.
HR or direct managers will initiate individual meetings with everyone to provide full details, and we hope to get through all of these over the next few days.
Today’s decision has not been made lightly, or in haste. It comes after considerable review from all angles of the impact Black Friday has had on the business as a whole. We are disappointed that events of the past two weeks have effectively forced us to take this action, with downsizing of the business now unavoidable.
We ask that all of you work from home tomorrow and you will be updated with new work arrangements soon.
It truly has been a pleasure working with all of you. We thank you for the significant time and dedication you’ve all shared with us over the years and wish you all the best in your future endeavors.