Just Conjecturin', Vol. 42: The Troublesome, Off-Topic Record
Back with a tale from the development of back stories for the upcoming book, and this time it's with a mostly unconnected piece that really won't fit into the book's greater monologue in any meaningful way. It might get a mention, but it's off on such a tangent, and it's such a troubling thing, that it just needs to be published and dealt with, for better or for worse.
The last couple of times out I've published a handful of records from the spammer data drop generally referred to as the leaked UB files. Those two posts showed record details for two people, UB's Russ Hamilton and AP's Brent Beckley, both of whom had executive roles in their respective companies. The data in the six records I released was interesting, but hardly earth-shattering or story-changing.
Yet there was one record I've stumbled upon in my many, many nights of scouring these leaked files that has caused me some internal bother, and it circles around to a very dark poker-related episode from a couple of years ago. This tale, however, requires some advance explanation.
Among these roughly 225 files and three million mostly UB player accounts, I've sifted and filtered and finally stumbled upon a curious relic of the company's inner workings. There were a handful of accounts that were very special -- they received unique tags denoting them as being "wire only" accounts, and almost without fail they've been attached in some way to site VIPs. I've found 15 of the things so far, after several hours of specific filtering, and I might find a few more. I would guess that a couple of dozen more may have existed and were deleted prior to these records' transfer over to the AP/Cereus system, which is where these data dumps seem to have been created.
Fourteen of the 15 accounts have relevance to various book topics, so if you're the owner of one of these and I've found it... congrats, you'll be in the book, even if just as an innocent high-roller mention, which describes three of four of these occurrences. Nine or ten of these accounts appear to have other special purposes, and despite the relative anonymity of some of the account holders, I've already determined the purpose or connection behind each. Several are quite important in fleshing out behind-the-scenes tales.
And then there is this damnable 15th wire-only account. It belonged to a man named Andreas Oscarsson, though the last name in the record -- munged a bit, as with many important UB accounts that I've found -- appeared as "Oskarsso". The "n" was dropped due to other stuff in the "Last Name" field making everything too long to fit, but other data within the record satisfies me that this account was Oscarsson's, despite the intentional misspelling.
Those of you knowledgable about the poker industry's inner workings probably already know where this is headed. Sweden-born Andreas Oscarsson was well known as the co-founder of one of the largest affiliate sites of all, PokerListings, before retiring from the industry a few years back. But that's not the whole story. Oscarsson seems to have been involved in bitter legal disputes with his former business partners over the de-valuation of PokerListings' market worth, post-UIGEA, and was murdered shortly after returning to Sweden, just before he was set to testify in a blackmail trial. Those two things may or may not have been connected. It's a murky topic, and people don't talk about it.
A Swedish thug was arrested for Oscarsson's murder, done allegedly at the behest of Oscarsson's one-time business partner, but this man was later released, and the whole case lies there, officially unsolved. I remember writing a couple of years back that Oscarsson was possibly the first victim/fatality of the UIGEA, but that turned out to be not altogether true. Quite some time before Oscarsson's murder, a second Swede with the same name was murdered in what authorities believe was a case of mistaken identity. That poor random somebody's child/husband/friend was the UIGEA's first true fatality.
Back to the present. Having recognized this account as Oscarsson's, I also recognized that this account stood out like a sore thumb among these other wire-only records. It is the only such record I can find connected to any sort of affiliate operation, and it sticks out for a second reason as well -- major affiliates were paid separately through another channel, not via an account like this. I've searched for accounts of several other people I know to have been major affiliate players at UB and none of them have a wire-only player account that I've been able to find, though for most of them I've found regular player accounts, as one would expect.
In short, there is no ready explanation as to why this account existed in the way it did. It could be just a favor to a friend, and that needs saying, too.
It is inherently unfair to the deceased to even have to bring this stuff up, because there may very well be an innocent explanation, and Oscarsson is no longer here to explain it or to defend himself from the suppositions that will inevitably arise. And yet the opposite is also true: If something untoward was going on -- and God knows, there was enough of that crap going on at UB -- then the matter has to be brought public, if only for the very slim chance of benefiting those close to that other Andreas Oscarsson, whose only mistake was having the wrong name.
Thus came a handful of restless nights and hours of thought on the matter, and discussing the pros and cons with a couple of trusted friends. Yes, this shit does get to me after a while.
The final choice was to publish this, but it was not a decision easily reached. A week or two back I was in contact with a PokerListings rep discussing this matter, so they're aware of this blog's pending publication, but that's just a professional courtesy. I don't think anyone at today's PL would've had a clue as to this account's wire-only status back in the day.
Mind you, the Oscarsson record itself is not incriminating. Its presence is the curiosity. It just seems like it shouldn't be there in the manner that it is.
With the "Guainia" in a secondary address field and unexplained (I think it's a misspelled city or street), but with a date of birth for Oscarsson that seems to match, here's a slightly redacted version of most of the record. With that I wash my hands of it:
Andreas [(Bank WIRE only) Oskarsso] United States email@example.com 241 299 03/29/1973 New York Guainia NY 10028 188.8.131.52 11/24/2008 22:11 UltimateBet 100000 52 [212 phone number] [212 phone number] 3102.73 0