(Bloomberg) -- Entain Plc. will pay £615 million ($777 million) to resolve a probe with UK prosecutors following an investigation into potential bribery offenses at its former Turkish business.
A High Court Judge officially approved the deferred prosecution agreement between the gambling firm and the Crown Prosecution Service on Tuesday. It will pay a penalty of £585 million plus a further £10 million to cover the investigation and a £20 million charitable donation, which will be paid out over a four-year period.
Entain, formerly known as GVC owner of the Ladbrokes brand, was investigated by the UK’s tax authority in 2019 over a failure to have correct anti-bribery procedures in place at its Turkish entity. It sold off the Turkish business in 2017.
Turkey was a substantial part of GVC’s business — larger than the UK and worth €100 million in revenue, according to its 2016 annual report.
“Whilst the conduct is undoubtedly serious, the other factors suggest that the interests of justice are best served by the DPA,” Judge Victoria Sharp said in a written ruling. “There have been sweeping changes to the compliance procedures in place.”
The deferred prosecution agreement, an agreement between a prosecutor and an organization to pay a penalty in order to avoid prosecution, is one of the biggest corporate criminal settlements ever reached in the UK and the first for the CPS. The largest saw Airbus SE agreed to pay €991 million in the UK in 2020 to resolve a Serious Fraud Office investigation into alleged bribery.
“Entain has now fundamentally and profoundly changed,” Barry Gibson, Entain’s chairman, said. “We can now concentrate on the future.”
Shares in Entain were little changed in London by 2:57 p.m.
Read More: Entain Earmarks £585 Million to Settle Turkish Bribery Probe
(Updates with a comment from the judge in the fifth paragraph and Entain’s chairman in the final paragraph)
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.