Entain in deferred prosecution talks with England’s CPS

31st May 2023 8:05 am GMT
Pragmatic Solutions

Entain, the London-listed betting and gaming operator, is in negotiations with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in England over an alleged breach of the Bribery Act.

The company is negotiating a deferred prosecution agreement with the (CPS) and working to resolve an ongoing investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) into Entain’s Turkish-facing business, which was sold in 2017.

Entain (then known as GVC) was first notified of the investigation by HMRC in November 2019, with that investigation widened in 2020 to include “potential corporate offending” by an entity or entities within the GVC Group.

In a statement Wednesday (31 May), Entain acknowledged that historical misconduct involving former third-party suppliers and former employees of the Group may have occurred.

“It is not possible at this stage to say how the investigation into the company will conclude.  Whilst prosecution of a Group entity or entities, which may defend the action successfully or be convicted, remains a possibility, the Group is seeking to conclude [deferred prosecution agreement] DPA negotiations with the CPS. Negotiations remain ongoing and any resolution would be subject to judicial approval,” said the company.

“While the company cannot say at this stage what the consequences of the investigation will be, it is likely that they will include a substantial financial penalty which is yet to be determined.  The Company cannot identify reliably at this stage the size of any financial penalty.”

The statement added that since the investigation began, Entain has undertaken a comprehensive review of anti-bribery policies and procedures and has taken action to strengthen its wider compliance programme and related controls.  

“We are keen to achieve a resolution to what is an historical issue relating principally to a business that was sold by the Group nearly six years ago," said Entain chairman Barry Gibson. "Entain has been through a period of extraordinary transformation since then, and has taken decisive action to be a best-in-class, responsible operator with outstanding corporate governance.

"The Board and leadership teams have been overhauled, 100 per cent of our revenue is now from regulated or regulating markets, and our business model, strategy and culture have been reviewed, analysed, and stress-tested. We will continue to work closely with both the CPS and HMRC to ensure that this matter can be concluded as soon as is practical.”

Shares in Entain plc. (LSE:ENT) closed 0.35 per cent higher at 1,379.35 pence per share in London Tuesday, prior to this morning’s announcement.

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