PokerStars settles with the SEC for $4m following bribery investigation

PokerStars has entered into a $4m settlement with the SEC, following allegations in the US that the company made payments to Russian-based consultants – which violated bribery laws.

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The Flutter-owned business was investigated by the SEC, which said the group paid $8.9m to Russian-based consultants and attempted to get poker legalised in Russia.

A spokesperson for Flutter highlighted that the payments, which were made between 2015 and 2020, were an issue from before it bought the brand, saying: “This is a legacy issue, related to a period prior to Flutter’s ownership of the Stars Group.

"Following our acquisition of TSG, we made significant changes to implement a framework of controls in line with Flutter’s existing standards.”

Flutter conducted its own investigation into the matter, with the SEC noting the efforts of the parent company to help its case.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Flutter removed all of its operations and brands from the country – with multitudes of others following suit, including McDonald’s.

The news comes days after Flutter posted its Q4 and fiscal year results, which showed that it saw revenue increase by 27% throughout 2022.

Peter Jackson, Flutter’s Chief Executive, said of the results: “Flutter delivered a strong performance in 2022, continuing to execute on the strategic priorities we outlined last March.”

Meanwhile, in the Netherlands, the Kansspelautoriteit (Ksa) handed down €26m ($27.7m) in fines against five companies in December 2022, after finding each guilty of illegally allowing players in the country to participate in online games of chance.

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