SportPesa faces Sh30bn money laundering probe

SportPesa’s CEO Ronald Karauri.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The Financial Reporting Centre will seek to establish if the billions of shillings earned from the online betting craze in Kenya were declared to BCLB.
  • The agency will also probe whether SportPesa paid taxes on the Sh30 billion that is said to have been transferred to tax havens of Isle of Man, Canary Islands as well as Dubai over a three-year period.

A State agency charged with tracking illicit money is investigating SportPesa for possible money laundering in the wake of claims the sports betting firm wired $278 million (Sh30 billion) from its local accounts to offshore banks.

The Financial Reporting Centre (FRC) will seek to establish if the billions of shillings earned from the online betting craze in Kenya were declared to the gaming regulator, the Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB).

The agency will also probe whether SportPesa paid taxes on the Sh30 billion that is said to have been transferred to tax havens of Isle of Man, the Canary Islands as well as Dubai over a three-year period.

The fate of the billions of shillings has triggered a bitter fallout among the wealthy, politically influential Kenyans and Bulgarian investors who helped to found SportPesa.

Kenyan entrepreneurs Paul Wanderi Ndung’u and Asenath Maina, who own a combined 38 percent stake in SportPesa’s holding company Pevans East Africa, last month blew the lid on the shareholder wars that have been simmering since 2017 and the transfer of the billions of shillings to the offshore accounts.

“The matter is of public interest, and we will investigate to establish if there was criminality in the movement of the billions offshore,” said Saitoti Maika, the Director-General of FRC.

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