Economic Security Bureau seizes $4.5 million from sanctioned bookmaker – likely Parimatch

Detectives of the Economic Security Bureau of Ukraine seized the accounts of three legal entities controlled by a well-known bookmaker company. In total, detectives arrested over UAH 166 million ($4.5 million), motivating such actions by the fact that the illegal activities of these legal entities (although their names are not disclosed) led to particularly large tax evasion.

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The message of the ESBU states that the licensee company conducted bookmaking activities on the Internet through controlled duplicate websites that operated without a corresponding license. And players' game accounts were replenished with cash through a network of terminals.

In order to disguise the criminal scheme and financial transactions, bookmakers used miscoding – changing the destination of the payment in the bank acquiring network. Subsequently, funds exceeding the turnover limit were credited to the current accounts of a number of legal entities that are on the simplified taxation system and are not registered as VAT payers. The winnings were paid out through fictitious companies.

The ESBU notes that the suspects in the case did not pay income tax, personal income tax and military tax. Such illegal activity caused losses to the state of approximately UAH 1 billion ($27.1 million).

The Bureau's message also states that sanctions were applied to the company in March 2023. Accordingly, legal entities of the Parimatch company may be involved in the case.

The detectives also specify that in order to avoid sanctions and legalize the property obtained by crime in March 2023, the company transferred funds to the accounts of controlled enterprises, supposedly as an advance of royalties for granting rights to use the software. In this way, company officials tried to withdraw funds and further legalize them by distributing them between the accounts of more than 200 individuals.

A pre-trial investigation has been launched.