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Fiona Simmons May 31, 2023 3 min read
Entain Publishes an Update on HMRC Investigation
Entain hopes to resolve the matter regarding its former Turkish subsidiary in an orderly manner and is prepared to pay a fine
Entain, a global gaming and betting giant, unveiled that it is in deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) negotiations with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). This company seeks to resolve the ongoing HM Revenue & Customs investigation (HMRC) hurdles related to a former Turkish subsidiary.
Back in November 2019, an Entain subsidiary received a production order from the HMRC, asking it to provide information about its former iGaming and betting business in Turkey. The business in question was held by the company from 2011 to 2017, after which the group sold it.
The investigation, Entain said, was at first directed at several former third-party suppliers that processed iGaming payments in Turkey. On July 11, 2020, the scope of the investigation was expanded to include potential corporate offenses by entities within the Entain group.
Entain noted that the offenses under investigation include, but are not limited to, section seven of the Bribery Act 2010.
The Company May Receive a Fine
Entain continued that it understood that the ongoing investigation includes a review of the former Turkish-facing business. It admitted that it is possible for misconduct involving former third-party suppliers to have occurred in the past. Because of that, Entain emphasized that it is committed to cooperating with the HMRC and the CPS.
Entain noted that, at this point, it is still impossible to say what the investigation will yield. It is possible that an entity within the group may defend its action successfully or be convicted. In any case, Entain is now seeking to conclude DPA negotiations with the CPS. The resolution, the gambling giant said, would be subject to judicial approval.
Entain warned that the case might result in a fine of undetermined size.
In the meantime, Entain has started a comprehensive review of its anti-bribery protocols and policies. The company said that it has taken necessary action to reinforce its compliance program and related controls.
Entain said that its board of directors is satisfied with the compliance progress the group is making and is also happy with the progress regarding the ongoing investigation. The company’s board will seek an orderly conclusion to the matter.
This is not the only trouble Entain has faced in recent times. Around a week ago, the company was accused of allegedly funding an organization that incentivizes gamblers to protest against the United Kingdom’s ongoing gambling reforms. Some UK officials were not very happy with these lobbying efforts and called Entain’s methods “underhanded.”
Entain Released an Additional Statement
A few hours after the initial publication, Barry Gibson, chairman of Entain, addressed the issue:
We are keen to achieve a resolution to what is an historical issue relating principally to a business that was sold by the Group nearly six years ago. Entain has been through a period of extraordinary transformation since then, and has taken decisive action to be a best-in-class, responsible operator with outstanding corporate governanceBarry Gibson, chair, Entain
He added that the company’s board and leadership are completely different than they were a few years ago. Furthermore, Entain is now much more committed to compliance and is taking no revenues from unregulated market.
To prove his company’s good intentions, Gibson promised to collaborate with the CPS and HMRC to resolve the matter as soon as possible.