HMRC Expands Probe into Former Turkey-Facing Gambling Business of GVC Holdings

Earlier today, gambling operator GVC Holdings Plc revealed that British tax authorities had stretched the probe into the former online gambling unit of the operator in Turkey. The expansion of the investigation will include unidentified entities that had operated under the lead of the LSE-listed gambling giant.

The HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) gave start to the probe towards the end of 2019, with the investigation being directed at third-party suppliers that previously worked in collaboration with the gambling group over processing of money transactions at the aforementioned Turkish division. As reminded by the company itself, GVC Holdings disposed of this unit in December 2017.

The gambling giant, which currently owns the Ladbrokes and Coral betting brands, has revealed that it was yesterday informed by the British tax authorities that they were examining what they called “potential corporate offending” associated with the former Turkish unit of the company. As GVC Holdings shared, no specific details regarding the investigation had so far been identified by the HMRC.

The gambling company explained that the HM Revenue and Customs had referred to section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010, but no further details were provided to GVC Holdings by the watchdog.

The HMRC has not commented on the issue so far.

British Tax Authorities Refer to Section 7 of Bribery Act 2010, GVC Holdings Shares

According to information provided by the gambling group, the probe was related to a section of UK legislation associated with giving bribes to obtain or improve the performance of a business. The British gambling giant shared that it was surprised by the decision of the country’s tax authorities to extend their investigation. It also shared its disappointment by the “lack of clarity” provided by the regulatory body.

As mentioned above, GVC Holdings sold its Turkey-facing business in December 2017, before the completion of its massive £4-billion acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral.

For years, Turkish authorities have been strictly controlling gambling services in the country, with private gambling operators being required to apply for government tenders in order to be allowed to offer their services to local customers. Initially, GVC Holdings had revealed intentions to dispose of its Turkish operations at a price that was divided into five years of payments based on the future performance of the business.

However, the gambling group eventually decided to sell the Turkish business more quickly than originally planned. In its 2017 annual report, it explained that such a step was in the best interest of its business and shareholders.

The information for the extension of the investigation into the former Turkish operations of GVC Holdings came only a few days after the gambling group revealed that its long-time CEO Kenneth Alexander was stepping down from his position. Mr Alexander was the one who managed to turn the company from a small online gambling business to a large gambling business that currently generates over 90% of its revenues on regulated markets worldwide.

  • Author
Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole

Olivia Cole has worked as a journalist for several years now. Over the last couple of years she has been engaged in writing about a number of industries and has developed an interest for the gambling market in the UK.
Daniel Williams
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