Posted - 04/22/2011 : 04:45:21 AM
| Witness protection likely for Tzvetkoff
One-time Australian internet high-flyer Daniel Tzvetkoff is likely to have entered the FBI's witness protection program and could be housed in a jail facility on the US east coast, a highly-respected former FBI special agent believes.
Tzvetkoff's last known location was a jail in New York where US government prosecutors fought at bail hearings to keep him but, on August 23 last year, he was moved under a veil of secrecy.
It is believed the 28-year-old Gold Coast businessman, once worth $A82 million, has become a star witness for the FBI and prosecutors.
Last week, they charged 11 people - including the founders of the giant PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker internet poker companies - with bank fraud, money laundering and illegal gambling offences.
"He's in a lock-up somewhere," said James Wedick, a decorated former FBI special agent who worked with the crime-fighting agency for 34 years and specialised in handling confidential informants and cooperating witnesses.
Tzvetkoff was arrested a year ago in Las Vegas and faces 75 years in US federal prison for allegedly creating a scheme to illegally process more than $US500 million ($A469 million) in transactions between US gamblers and internet gaming websites.
Wedick said if Tzvetkoff had agreed to become a government witness, it would not guarantee his release from custody.
"There's no way they'd let him walk out," he told AAP after examining details of the cases.
It was also unlikely Tzvetkoff would be held in a safe house.
Jails had special wings or floors for prisoners in the witness protection program and these were separate from the general prison population, he said.
"If he's gone into the witness protection program, he is merely in one of the protection wings of the prison," Wedick said.
The FBI and prosecutors from the US Attorney's Southern District of New York office have declined to comment on Tzvetkoff's whereabouts.
Court proceedings in Tzvetkoff's case are held behind closed doors and filings sealed from the public.
"You are going to have to call the US Attorney's office on this," said a FBI spokesman, declining to comment on the Tzvetkoff case.
A call to the US Attorney's office was met with a similar response.
"It's our policy to not comment on ongoing cases and investigations," the spokeswoman said.
A few years ago, Tzvetkoff was touted as one of Australia's smartest and most successful young businessmen after creating Brisbane-based internet payment processing company Intabill.
Tzvetkoff drove Lamborghinis and Ferraris and created headlines when he bought a $A27 million home on the Gold Coast.
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