Entain gets final approval for agreement over bribery allegations

An investigation into Entain began in 2019.
An investigation into Entain began in 2019.

Operator has received final judicial approval for the agreement related to historic failings in Turkey.

UK.- Dame Victoria Sharp, president of the King’s Bench Division at the Royal Courts of Justice, has granted final judicial approval to Entain’s Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The gambling giant hopes the agreement will draw a line under historic failings in Turkey.

The agreement covers allegations under Section 7 of the 2010 Bribery Act. Entain was found to have failed to ensure adequate procedures to prevent bribery in a former Turkish-facing subsidiary.

Entain will pay £585m in a financial penalty and disgorgement of profits, will donate £20m to charity and pay £10m towards costs incurred by the CPS and HM Revenue & Customs. The payments will be made in instalments over four years.

Investigations began in late 2019 and relate to an online betting and gaming business that targeted Turkey, where online gambling is illegal. Entain (then GVC Holdings) owned the business between 2011 and December 2017, selling it shortly before it bought Ladbrokes Coral for £3.6bn. Entain admitted that there may have been historical misconduct involving former third-party suppliers and employees of the former subsidiary.

Entain hopes the voluntary agreement will allow it to close the issue. However, the agreement relates only to Entain and does not rule out the possibility that former executives could face separate investigations or charges. 888 dropped plans to appoint former Entain CEO Kenny Alexander as its own CEO this year after the Gambling Commission said the move could cause it to lose its licence.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange Group’s Regulatory News Service (RNS), Entain chairman Barry Gibson said: “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 recognised by the Court. Entain has now fundamentally and profoundly changed. We can now concentrate on the future.”

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