December 5th saw an announcement by Entain PLC, parent company of Ladbrokes and Coral, that it has reached a final settlement with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) over the Turkish bribery probe launched by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in 2019. Dame Victoria Sharp, President of the King’s Bench Division at the Royal Courts of Justice sitting as the Crown Court at Southwark, is the judge who approved the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA).
The investigation has now been officially resolved, and as per the previously agreed upon terms, Entain pay will pay £585 million in financial penalties. The company has also agreed to donate £20 million as well as pay £10 million to cover the costs of HMRC and the CPS. Entain has four years to pay the full sum in instalments.
The case concerned alleged offences that fall under Section 7 of the UK’s Bribery Act 2010. HMRC alleged that GVC Holdings, as Entain was known previously, had not been successful in implementing proper and adequate bribery prevention measures when it came to the operations of a Turkish gambling business that used to be under the company’s ownership. Entain’s former management team was behind the said Turkish-facing business’ purchase in 2011, and they were also the ones who sold it six years later in 2017.
Entain Has Undergone Significant Changes
According to the Tuesday announcement, Entain displayed willingness to work with authorities in order for the case to be resolved. Moreover, the company has also reviewed its anti-bribery policies and has introduced significant improvements to its compliance programme. Entain’s efforts played a crucial role in them successfully entering into a DPA with the CPS.
Entain’s announcement contained information on the fact that the company was granted a full discount for its “exemplary” cooperation with HMRC and the CPS. The company also included a statement by Chairman Barry Gibson, who began by saying that the case has “hung over” the company since the investigation’s beginning, and he did not fail to emphasise that the probe involved a business that was controlled and sold by the entity’s former management team. He continued, expressing his satisfaction with the court’s acknowledgement of the Entain’s willingness to fully cooperate throughout the entire process. Gibson concluded his statement by adding that Entain has undergone radical changes, and that now that the case is settled, they can focus on the company’s future.
As reported by the Racing Post, Judge Dame Victoria Sharp said that Entain is no longer the same company that committed the offence. She also recognized that Entain understood the necessity of introducing fundamental changes to its culture and practices. Andrew Penhale, Chief Crown Prosecutor, stated that, according to the court, Entain had introduced “sweeping changes” to its compliance procedures, and that the company is determined to promote “open and transparent gambling operations” and improve how Entain is governed.
Daniel Williams has started his writing career as a freelance author at a local paper media. After working there for a couple of years and writing on various topics, he found his interest for the gambling industry.