FTSE 100 operator to also hand over £20m charity donation and £10m to HRMC and the CPS’ costs to bring long-running case to a close
Entain has confirmed the agreement in principle of a settlement totalling more than £600m relating to an HMRC investigation into allegations of bribery relating to its previously owned Turkish-facing business.
As part of its deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) the operator has agreed to repay profits totalling £585m, while also making a charitable donation of £20m and a further contribution of £10m to pay costs incurred by HMRC and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
Entain received preliminary approval for the settlement from Dame Victoria Sharp, President of the King’s Bench Division, at a hearing today at the Royal Courts of Justice sitting as the Crown Court at Southwark.
Details of the prospective financial settlement were first revealed by Entain back in August.
HMRC’s investigation concerned the activities of former third-party suppliers and former employees of Entain under section 7 of the UK Bribery Act 2010, in particular the failure of the firm to have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.
Entain sold its Turkey-facing business in 2017, with the operator stressing the alleged offences occurred under previous management.
HMRC had launched an investigation into Entain’s historical Turkish operations, with Entain entering DPA negotiations with the CPS in May.
An entirely voluntary agreement, the DPA is subject to final judicial approval something Entain has said will take place at a hearing on 5 December.
The financial penalty, repayment of profits and the charitable donation will be paid in instalments over the term of the DPA, which will be four years from the date of the final court approval.
“The company has co-operated extensively with HMRC and the CPS and will continue to co-operate with the authorities into the future, pursuant to the terms of the DPA,” Entain said in a statement confirming the news.
Entain chairman Barry Gibson pointed out the failings were under previous management, a time when Entain was known as GVC.
“This legacy matter concerns a business which was sold by a former management team six years ago,” Gibson said.
“The group has changed immeasurably since these events took place, and the DPA process has provided a reminder of the stark differences between the GVC of yesterday and the Entain of today.
The Entain chair continued: “We are committed to continuing our journey towards operating only in regulated markets, and are now widely recognised as a best-in-class, responsible operator with the highest levels of corporate governance across all aspects of our business.”
Shares in Entain dipped 2% on the London Stock Exchange to 856p. The stock is down 35% this year.