Bribery Probe Ends with Ladbrokes and Coral Owner Settlement
Gambling company Entain has reached a finalized settlement on its Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) over bribery investigations conducted by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) into its formerly-owned Turkish-facing business.
The settlement, which was approved by Dame Victoria Sharp, President of the King’s Bench Division at the Royal Courts of Justice, will see Entain pay a total of £585m, inclusive of financial penalties and profits disgorgement.
The Ladbrokes and Coral casino brands owner will also commit an additional £20m to charity and a £10m contribution towards covering HMRC and CPS costs.
Largest DPA Settlement in the UK
These payments are part of a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) scheduled to be paid in instalments across the next four years. This arrangement permits the suspension of prosecution against an organization for a set duration after meeting specific conditions.
DPAs only apply to corporate entities involved in fraud, bribery, and various economic crimes, excluding individuals. This DPA stands as one of the largest corporate criminal settlements in the UK and the first of its kind for the CPS.
Lack of Adequate Anti-Bribery Procedures
HMRC's investigation had focused on a Turkish-oriented firm divested by the Group in 2017. The probe examined the allegation that Entain, which was at the time known as GVC, breached the Bribery Act 2010 by lacking adequate procedures to prevent bribery.
However, Entain stated that since then, the group has conducted an extensive review of its anti-bribery policies and procedures.
This is the final step in a process that has hung over our business since HMRC launched its investigation into a business that was sold by a former management team six years ago. We have cooperated extensively and proactively at every stage of the process, which, I am pleased to say, has been recognized by the Court. Entain has now fundamentally and profoundly changed. We can now concentrate on the future.
BetCity Netherlands Fine
Last week, an Entain-owned brand, BetCity was also fined €3m by the Dutch Gaming Authority, the Kansspelautoriteit (KSA), for violating Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and terrorist financing regulations.
According to the regulator, Betent has been ‘lax’ when looking into the source of income of its clients. There were many instances when the gaming operator had failed to investigate large bets from its customers. The operator had also been initially warned before the issuance of the fine.