Entain sets aside £585m to potentially settle HMRC investigation

Entain sets aside £585m to potentially settle HMRC investigation

Entain sets aside £585m to potentially settle HMRC investigation
Entain, the owner of Ladbrokes and Coral, has confirmed that it has set aside £585m ($744.5m), to settle an ongoing investigation by the HM Revenue & Customs into the company’s former business assets in Turkey, which the company divested and sold back in 2017. The investigation cites alleged breaches of Section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010. Entain has outlined a scenario in which it is expected to pay more than half a billion pounds as part of a deferred prosecution agreement with the regulator. This settlement has long been coming according to industry observers, which initially pinned the cost of the settlement at something closer to £300 million. The new amount of the settlement will most likely not be paid at once or in one instalment but be spread over several payments in the space of four years. Entain is confident that it will receive what it has described as a full credit for cooperating with the investigation as well. Specifically, Entain is being investigated over the sale of its business in Turkey back in 2017 where online sports betting is not regulated. The sale was necessary so that the company could move forward with the purchase of LadbrokesandCoral. One of the key people of interest is Kenny Alexander, who was Chief Executive Officer at the company at the time of the sale, and who supposedly sold the business to what Times and Standard, two media outlets, have called a “friend.” Meanwhile, Entain has said that this chapter of the company’s history, known as GVC Holdings back in the day, is now behind it. Barry Gibson, Entain Chair, argued that the probe looked into the company’s operations dating back prior to its rebranding and that Alexander was no longer part of the company – he left in 2020. Gibson confirmed that investigators have recognized Entain’s willingness and readiness to cooperate in the matter and that Entain’s present-day operations had no resemblance to the way GVC was running a business during its time. Meanwhile, the investigation has not been necessarily contained to Entain per se. Alexander and a group of investors showed interest to assume leadership positions in 888 and bought up a stake in the company, arguing that they could help guide it to better and stronger results in future. However, the HMRC investigation made 888 ill at ease to appoint Alexander and his cohort of proven industry veterans to senior positions in the company. Image credit: Unsplash.com

10 AUG 2023

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