Entain faces fine over Turkish gaming business
Entain has revealed it expects to be hit by a large fine by UK authorities over historic corporate misconduct at its former Turkish online gaming business.
As previously disclosed, on 28 November 2019, Entain Holdings (UK) Limited, a subsidiary of the Company, received a production order from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) requiring it to provide information relating to the Group’s former Turkish-facing online betting and gaming business, which it held from 2011 until it was sold in 2017.
At that time, the Group understood that HMRC’s investigation was directed at a number of former third-party suppliers, relating to the processing of payments for online betting and gaming in Turkey. On 21 July 2020, the Company announced that HMRC was widening the scope of its investigation and was examining potential corporate offending by an entity (or entities) within the Group.
The offences under investigation include, but are not limited to, section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010.
The Company understands that the HMRC investigation, which is ongoing, includes a review of its former Turkish-facing business and acknowledges that historical misconduct involving former third party suppliers and former employees of the Group may have occurred.
The Group continues to co-operate fully with HMRC and the CPS.
It is not possible at this stage to say how the investigation into the Company will conclude. Whilst prosecution of a Group entity or entities, which may defend the action successfully or be convicted, remains a possibility, the Group is seeking to conclude DPA negotiations with the CPS. Negotiations remain ongoing and any resolution would be subject to judicial approval.
While the Company cannot say at this stage what the consequences of the investigation will be, it is likely that they will include a substantial financial penalty which is yet to be determined. The Company cannot identify reliably at this stage the size of any financial penalty.
Since the investigation first commenced, the Group has undertaken a comprehensive review of anti-bribery policies and procedures and has taken action to strengthen its wider compliance programme and related controls.
Whilst the discussions with the CPS remain ongoing, the Board is content with progress to date and looks forward to pursuing an orderly conclusion to this matter.
The information contained within this announcement is deemed to constitute inside information as stipulated under the Market Abuse Regulation (EU) No. 596/2014. Upon the publication of this announcement, this inside information is now considered to be in the public domain.