Bookmaker taken to High Court
Flutter Entertainment, a bookmaker created by the merger of Paddy Power and Betfair, is being sued by a Dubai businessman after they allowed his partner to gamble their investments away.
Antonio Parente had already asked Betfair to be banned for life in 2010 but was able to open another account when the brand merged with Paddy Power in September 2015.
According to his Dubai-based business partner Amarieet Singh Dhir, this enabled Parente to gamble money given in good faith.
The pair were joint owners of Dubai firm We Buy Your Property and planned on investing their profits in property schemes. According to court papers, Dhir now claims that Parente “misappropriated all of the transferred funds” as well as those of other clients.
New account opened after merger
It seems that despite a previous self-imposed ban, the merger between Betfair and Paddy Power allowed Parente to open up a new account.
Flutter is accused of depositing £20,000 ($24,000) into his account after it was matched by Parente despite not asking questions over the source of his wealth.
This is bad news for Flutter and its new chief executive Peter Jackson, who was fined last October for a lack of customer protection. Jackson went on to apologize and said the company has since improved its protection for customers.
Gambling is illegal in Dubai, and the court papers acknowledge that Flutter made no requests to see the source of Parente’s income to comply with anti-money laundering legislation.
It has also been claimed that the bookmaker allowed Parente to spend more than £100,000 ($120,000) gambling in cash while in London at shops in King’s Cross and Kingsbury.
“Unconscionable” to keep money
Dhir also suggests that Flutter appointed a personal relationship manager for Parente’s account who offered him free tickets to the Grand National at Aintree and high-level football matches in Barcelona and London.
The property owner said it would be “unconscionable” for Flutter to keep the money. However, the FTSE 100 company has so far refused to comment as the case is “an ongoing legal matter.”
Problem gambling and anti-money laundering are two concerns of the Gambling Commission in the UK who have handed out large fines to try and clean up the sector. Last month, they fined Ladbrokes owner GVC £5.9m ($7.13m) for failing to prevent money laundering and problem gambling.