Parimatch Subsidiary Files Lawsuit To Scrap Zelensky's Decree

September 12, 2023
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Weplay Media Holding Limited, an offshoot of Ukrainian bookmaker Parimatch, has filed a lawsuit against President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in an attempt to win back its gambling licence in the country.
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Weplay Media Holding Limited, an offshoot of Ukrainian bookmaker Parimatch, has filed a lawsuit against President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in an attempt to win back its gambling licence in the country.

The company is requesting Ukraine’s Supreme Court scrap the President’s Decree No. 145/2023 from March 10, 2023, which sanctioned the company and numerous others for alleged ties to Russia. 

The available court documents indicate that the lawsuit was registered with the Kyiv-based court last month.

“The Supreme Court, in the composition of the judge-rapporteur of the Administrative Court of Cassation, M. I. Smokovych, reviewed the materials of the claim filed by Weplay Media Holding Limited to the President of Ukraine to recognise as illegal and cancel a part of the decree,” the Supreme Court said.

In its petition, the plaintiff said that it “does not cooperate with the aggressor state or the Republic of Belarus, their citizens and/or residents”, according to the court. 

“The beneficial owners of Weplay Media Holding Limited are citizens of Ukraine, and among the shareholders of the named company there are no residents of the aggressor state — this was checked by the Commission for the Regulation of Gambling and Lotteries, on the basis of whose decisions Parimatch LLC and Pokermatch.ua LLC received licences to organise … casino and gambling activities on the internet and … bookmaking,” the Supreme Court said.

The court has decided to initiate proceedings in relation to the company's lawsuit and to involve the Security Service of Ukraine and the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine as third parties.

The Administrative Cassation Court is part of the Ukrainian Supreme Court and it is presided over by Judge Mykhailo Smokovych.

Amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv decided to introduce sanctions lasting 50 years against numerous gambling companies, predominantly betting and lottery firms, that are considered to have links to Russia, but also its neighbour Belarus, which has supported the ongoing invasion. 

The list comprises some 287 legal entities and 120 individuals. 

In addition to Parimatch, sanctioned gambling businesses include bookmakers such as 1xBet, Betcity, Fonbet, Liga Stavok, Matchbet, Marathon, Sportbet and Winline. Russian state lottery operator Sportloto was also covered by the sanctions, as well as businesspeople from Armenia, Cyprus, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Turkey and the UK.

Following the decree's publication, Natali Gilevych, the chief executive of Parimatch.UA, said in a Facebook post that the business has obeyed the order to shut down and moved to cease all operations in the Ukrainian market.

Set up in 1994, Parimatch says it is an international sports-betting company with headquarters in Limassol, Cyprus.

In the early months of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Parimatch claimed to be sending donations of provisions and military supplies to Ukraine’s armed forces.

The company has recently been under investigation in India over the alleged illegal offer of cryptocurrency-backed gambling.

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