The failed 28-year-old Australian e-processing operator Daniel Tzvetkoff, recently arrested at a Las Vegas conference on several serious charges under a sealed New York indictment, has been released on bail.
The decision to release the former high flying online gambling cash facilitator was opposed unsuccessfully by prosecutors, who branded Tzvetkoff as a flight risk, claiming he may still have access to secret stashes of cash that could be as much as US $100 million.
Despite Australian reports that the crash of his Intabill company had resulting in his losing his home, luxury cars and other assets, Tzvetkoff appears to have no shortage of cash, flying in high-profile Boston-based defence lawyer Robert Goldstein to argue for bail, according to reports in the Brisbane Times.
Tzvetkoff, who stands accused of a $US 540 million internet poker and blackjack money laundering scheme and related charges, appeared in a khaki prison jumpsuit with his feet shackled during the bail hearing before Judge Peggy A Leen in the US District Court.
The young entrepreneur's father, Kim Tzvetkoff was present, and played a key role in ensuring his son's release on bail, volunteering before Judge Leen to put up his $US 1.17 million Brisbane home as surety and drive his son cross-country from Las Vegas to New York where the case will be tried.
Judge Leen agreed to grant Tzvetkoff bail with strict conditions despite objections from prosecutor Nicholas Dickinson, who described the allegedly bankrupt Tzvetkoff as a flight risk, noting that Tzvetkoff was an Australian citizen with "zero ties" in the US. The prosecutor said that the whereabouts of some $US 100 million from the accused's former Intabill business remains unknown, and that Tzvetkoff could tap into the cash and flee to a country without an extradition treaty.
Judge Leen did not buy his argument, saying: "If he was a US citizen this would be a no-brainer. He would be released."
In contrast, Tzvetkoff's Boston lawyer described him as a "good young man of good character" and a devoted father to a three-year-old son and committed partner to eight-month pregnant fiancee Nicole Crisp. Tzvetkoff, he said, was desperate to prove his innocence on the US charges.
He added that if Tzvetkoff was released Ms Crisp and her children would live in New York and would help him fight for his innocence, a process that could take two years in court because of the complexities of the case.
"Daniel is not the kind of person who should be locked up in jail for a year or two," Goldstein said, pointing out that his client was not a drug dealer, mobster or had any mark on his criminal record before last week's arrest.
Judge Leen agreed to release Tzvetkoff on bail, ordering that he surrender his passport, submit to electronic monitoring, maintain a verified residence in New York and abide by a curfew. His father is to drive him to New York where his trial will be held.
However, US immigration authorities have placed a "detainer" order on Tzvetkoff, making it unlikely that he will be immediately set free.