666Bet Director arrested by HMRC fraud investigation

666betA director of troubled online betting brand 666bet was reportedly arrested last week by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the  National Crime Agency in connection with their joint investigation ‘Operation Bannock’ into money laundering and fraud.

This weekend The Independent newspaper revealed that a further six people and had been arrested, as 13 properties in Chester, London, Guernsey and Manchester were raided and £1 million in cash was seized by Operation Bannock units.

The news of the arrests follows last week’s suspension of 666bet’s licences by both the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) and Alderney as well as its subsidiary operations. Last weekend 666Bet management declared that all of its website verticals under maintenance.

The UKGC did not give further details into why the operator and its subsidiary brands had been suspended. Nonetheless throughout last week, various social media and online betting public forums had speculated that 666Bet primary investor Paul Bell had been arrested by HMRC in connection with £21 million money laundering investigation.

It appears that Bell was also arrested by the Isle of Man police and is currently under investigation by Operation Bannock. Bell is reported to be worth £400m and a shareholder of various FTSE listed companies. The Independent claims that Bell has vigorously denied any wrongdoing.

Neil Andrews, 666Bet’s Head of Brand, stated in an email to the Independent: “I can categorically state the police investigation does not relate to 666Bet’s activities in the igaming world.” He added that the inquiry has “nothing to do with the day-to-day running of 666Bet”.

The UKGC has so far refused to publicly comment on the investigation and 666Bet operations. However the commission has stated that its temporary suspension should not prevent 666Bet operations from paying outstanding customer balances.

Meanwhile the bookmaker is still putting a brave face on proceedings via social media

 


Whether the firm will be able to continue as an active concern given the drop in credibility that the suspension of licences will have with its customer base, is a question that will only be answered if the the gambling regulators find no reason to revoke the licences.

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