Entain receives court approval for £585m HMRC settlement amid “exemplary” cooperation

London-listed operator’s nine-figure penalty package concerning legacy Turkey-facing business investigation finalised  

Entain has received final court approval of its Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with HMRC and the Crown Prosecution Service over a probe into historic allegations of bribery relating to its legacy Turkey-facing business.

Approval of the DPA was given today by Dame Victoria Sharp, president of the King’s Bench Division at the Royal Courts of Justice sitting as the Crown Court at Southwark. 

The approval follows the initial ascent to the DPA being given by the court earlier this month.

The DPA, which will now come into effect, fully resolves the outstanding investigation.

“The court has applied the full discount generally available to the financial penalty in recognition of the company’s ‘exemplary’ co-operation with HMRC and the CPS,” Entain said in a press release concerning the final approval.

Entain also confirmed it has undertaken a comprehensive review of anti-bribery policies in place, with the aim of significantly strengthening its compliance controls, something which contributed to the approval of the DPA.

The London-listed 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 Prosecutions Service (CPS). These payments are to be made over the next four years.

The investigation concerned the activities of former third-party suppliers and former employees of Entain under section 7 of the 2010 UK Bribery Act, in particular the failure of the firm to have adequate procedures in place to prevent bribery.

The firm 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.

Entain also confirmed a summary of the court’s judgement would be made available in due course.

Entain chairman Barry Gibson welcomed the resolution of the investigation with the DPA.

“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,” Gibson explained.

“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,” he added.

Entain’s share price was relatively unmoved by the resolution of the DPA, with shares increasing by 0.28% to 799p in trading on the London Stock Exchange.

 

​EGR Intel

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