Everleaf Gaming poker players may be one step closer to repayment after former company director Jean Pavili was arrested by Maltese authorities on charges of having misappropriated player funds and failing to pay for licenses and fees while the firm was still in operation.
Pavili is the second director to have been arrested in connection with the allegations, following the apprehension of fellow director Michael Zwi Oros in September.
Pavili was taken before Magistrate Dr. Saviour Demicoli, who granted him bail after ensuring that the former director put up enough in assets to guarantee that all damages could be paid should Pavili ultimately be found guilty on all charges.
That included a bail of â‚¬10,000 ($12,400), another personal guarantee in the same amount, and having a total of â‚¬900,000 ($1.12 million) in assets frozen, both in Malta and abroad.
Like Oros before him, Pavili was accused of misappropriating â‚¬800,000 ($994,000) in player funds, as well as failing to pay â‚¬100,000 ($124,000) in licensing and other fees. The former Everleaf directors are also accused of not notifying the Maltese Lotteries and Gaming Authority (LGA) Â as to the relocation of the company’s control system, and failing to deposit winnings or to disclose all of their beneficiaries, among other charges.
The Everleaf Gaming Network was once a fairly large poker operation that ran worldwide, including in the American market. The network’s operations in the USA continued even after Black Friday, but it quickly became apparent that there were problems within. After $27,000 was reportedly seized from a payment processor associated with Everleaf in February 2012, the company finally withdrew from the United States.
Players heard little from Everleaf about the US shutdown, and those in the USA found it impossible to recover their funds. Some processors even suggested that Everleaf was passing up opportunities to make good on payments to its American clients. Players throughout the rest of the world soon reported that the formerly fast withdrawals from Everleaf skins were now often taking months to process.
That lead to plenty of complaints against the network, most of which were directed to the LGA, which regulated the company. While the regulator reportedly filed sanctions against Everleaf, it continued to let the network operate for well over a year, and even suggested that player complaints had been exaggerated, a claim that those same players vigorously disputed.
Finally, the LGA suspended the Evergreen Gaming licenses in July 2013. That effectively meant that the company could no longer stay in operation, though it didn’t offer any immediate help for players who were looking to recover their lost funds. The LGA’s slow response to the situation drew plenty of criticism from both industry officials and players alike.
But there are signs that the organization may be working to improve its reputation and become more player-focused going forward.
New executive director Joseph Cuschieri has said that the organization will accept responsibility for recovering player funds, and that the LGA’s own funds may even be used to help provide compensation if necessary. He has also suggested that the LGA will be taking steps to ensure players can be confident in the quality of their regulation, as consumer confidence is critical to the LGA being a successful regulator.