Vensure Federal Credit Union in Mesa, Ariz., taken under conservatorship by the National Credit Union Administration two weeks ago, claimed that the NCUA knew all along that it was processing online bets for the two biggest poker websites.
Vensure on Monday filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging its takeover as "arbitrary and capricious," claiming that it gave the NCUA up to 50 legal opinions backing the legality of providing automated clearing house services for Trinity Global Corp.
Vensure also claimed that it had agreed at the NCUA's behest to get out of the business of clearing such transactions.
Trinity's credit union account was seized by federal prosecutors along with funds at 32 banks on April 15 in a worldwide sting aimed at shutting down illicit gambling sites.
Lawyers for Vensure said that the credit union would not be insolvent if federal prosecutors force it and the other banks to forfeit those funds.
The lawyers insisted the credit union is financially stable, has strong management and significant resources.
Vensure said that the NCUA issued it a cease-and-desist letter on Jan. 18 insisting that it exit the online poker business and that its board voted Jan. 31 to do so.
Officials at the NCUA, which has never lost a court challenge to one of its conservatorships, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.