Flutter Entertainment agreed to pay a $4m fine to settle violations against the gambling group by US Securities and Exchange Commission.
The financial market watchdog said it had charged the gaming and betting company with books, records, and violations of internal accounting controls stemming from business activities in Russia.
This was related to the PokerStars affiliate, which was acquired by Flutter in May 2020 following an $11bn merger with Stars Group completed.
According to the order, Flutter paid $8.9m in Russia to support its operations and efforts to legalize poker in Russia between May 26, 2015, and May 15, 2020.
The SEC found that the company did not devise or maintain adequate internal accounting controls in Russia regarding third-party consultants. It also failed to keep accurate records and books about its Russian consultant payments.
According to the SEC, an investigation found that payments were made to reimburse new year’s gifts to individuals who included Russian officials. This was a violation of company policies.
Flutter also claimed that payments made to Roskomnadzor’s consultant for online censorship were reimbursed.
Flutter accepted the findings without admitting or denigrating them and paid a $4 million penalty.
Flutter’s cooperation was noted in the SEC’s order, along with remedial efforts and subsequent withdrawal from Russia following the invasion by Ukraine in early 2022.
The order stated that the Commission had considered Flutter and the company’s cooperation and remedial efforts when accepting the offer.
Flutter and the company cooperated by sharing information and witness statements from its internal investigation, forensic accounting reviews, and translating documents. Flutter also encouraged other parties to submit relevant evidence and information outside the Commission’s jurisdiction.
“Flutter has taken remedial steps to improve its internal accounting controls and global compliance organization. It also implemented policies and procedures regarding due diligence and use of the third party.