Denmark Reprimands Kindred Again Over AML Policies

February 21, 2022
The Danish Gambling Authority (Spillemyndigheden) has given Kindred Group’s Unibet brand four reprimands over lax anti-money laundering and due diligence policies and ordered it to fix its risk-assessment policies.


The Danish Gambling Authority (Spillemyndigheden) has given Kindred Group’s Unibet brand four reprimands over lax anti-money laundering (AML) and due diligence policies and ordered it to fix its risk-assessment policies.

The set of reprimands is the second in two months. In December, the Danish regulator said Unibet had accepted a series of large deposits between 2016 and 2018 without proper due diligence.

Despite the series of violations, the Danish Gambling Authority (DGA) gave the company two months to update its risk assessment policies and said the order and reprimands “do not entail any action for Unibet, as these are no longer existing violations”.

The DGA has no power to fine gambling operators for violating the law — its strictest remedies are referral for prosecution or revocation of a licence.

In its announcement on Friday (February 18), the DGA said Unibet allowed a young player to deposit more than 1m Danish krone (€134,000) without proper source of funds checks.

The funds were deposited via six different cards, at least one of which did not belong to the gambler, and Unibet did not investigate the player until after the authority contacted it asking for AML notes on the player, the authority said.

Another reprimand came after the DGA randomly inspected accounts of 20 of Unibet’s “major players” and found that the company had not conducted proper due diligence checks on five of them. In three of those five cases, it did not investigate suspicious transactions, the regulator said.

The authority also found that Unibet did not have sufficient written procedures for monitoring existing player relationships until less than a month ago, nor did it have adequate procedures to “obtain and assess documentation in connection with suspected money laundering and to mitigate existing risks through certain payment methods”.

Another reprimand came because, until last April, Unibet had “deficient business practices” for dealing with “politically exposed persons”, who are prominent political figures to which extra AML procedures are supposed to be applied.

A Kindred spokesperson said the reprimands were for a “past failing”, the company has been working with the regulator to update its AML framework and will supply the updated risk assessment as required.

“We are pleased to see that the DGA have now acknowledged that the breaches no longer exist,” the spokesperson said.

“Kindred has corresponded with the DGA in the matter in an open, transparent and productive manner throughout the process,” she said.

“We will continue with the collaboration and do everything necessary to further strengthen our control procedures, maintaining our ambitions on offering high consumer safety and AML security.”

Earlier this month, Reel Denmark, or Flutter Entertainment’s PokerStars, was reprimanded for violating due diligence procedures, as the company let a player deposit DKK2.4m in 2019 and 2020 without knowing whether the funds came from criminal activities.

Reel took two years before it notified the Money Laundering Secretariat of the fact that the player’s transactions could have been linked to money laundering, the authority said.

The DGA’s reprimands, which carry no penalty, come as other regulators routinely issue fines for AML violations.

Between 2012 and 2019, the DGA’s referrals to the police for prosecution netted only €293,000 in fines, according to a 2020 investigation by VIXIO GamblingCompliance.

That total is less than a sixth of what Kindred’s Platinum Gaming was fined in June 2019 by the UK Gambling Commission for AML failings.

Last April, the Swedish Gambling Authority fined LeoVegas 2m Swedish krona (€188,000) for AML violations.

Taxation minister Morten Bødskov, however, has said he would like to develop proposals to make sanctions public information as they are imposed.

Also last week, Kindred was ordered to stop offering gambling to Norwegian residents without a licence, as the Norwegian Gambling Authority threatened £99,000 in daily fines.

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