London-listed betting and gaming operator William Hill has been fined £6.2m by the UK gambling regulator for failing to protect consumers and prevent money laundering.
The Gambling Commission issued the penalty package for what it described as "systemic senior management failure" to meet its responsibilities regarding money laundering prevention and the protection of consumers.
The breaches were identified in the period between November 2014 and August 2016 when James Henderson served as chief executive of William Hill.
Henderson took over the CEO role from Ralph Topping in August 2014 and stepped down in July 2016.
The UK regulator said that during the period in question, senior management failed to mitigate risks and have sufficient numbers of staff to ensure their anti-money laundering and social responsibility processes were effective.
As a result of the failure, ten customers were allowed to deposit large sums of money linked to criminal activity without sufficient checks on the source of the funds, with the company benefiting to the tune of £1.2m.
Following the Gambling Commission investigation, William Hill has been order to pay over £5.0m for breaching the regulations, plus the £1.2m earned from the ten customers.
"This was a systemic failing at William Hill which went on for nearly two years and today’s penalty package – which could exceed £6.2m - reflects the seriousness of the breaches," said Neil McArthur, executive director at the Gambling Commission.
"Gambling businesses have a responsibility to ensure that they keep crime out of gambling and tackle problem gambling - and as part of that they must be constantly curious about where the money they are taking is coming from."
William Hill will pay £5.0m to charities supporting socially responsible causes, with the balance payable to any victims of fraud by the ten customers.
As part of the settlement, William Hill will also appoint external auditors to review the effectiveness and implementation of its anti-money laundering and social responsibility policies and procedures.
The company confirmed in a statement Tuesday morning that its Online division has entered into a regulatory settlement with the Gambling Commission.
Philip Bowcock, William Hill chief executive, commented: "William Hill has fully co-operated with the Commission throughout this process, introducing new and improved policies and increased levels of resourcing. We have also committed to an independent process review and will work to implement any recommendations that emerge from that review.
"We are fully committed to operating a sustainable business that properly identifies risk and better protects customers. We will continue to assist the Commission and work with other operators to improve practices in the areas identified."
Shares in William Hill plc. (LSE:WMH) were trading up 0.15 per cent at 324.40 pence per share in London early Tuesday morning.