The company hopes to appeal

Swedish Gambling Authority imposes warning and $10K sanction fee on Kindred's subsidiary Spooniker

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Kindred Group is considering an appeal after its Spooniker subsidiary received a warning and sanction fee of SEK 10.9 million ($10.3 million) from the Swedish Gambling Authority (SGA). The penalty was handed out due to alleged shortcomings in the company's work against money laundering and financing of terrorism.

According to the SGA, Kindred has failed in its Enhanced Due Diligence requirements and has not taken sufficient measures to assess the risk of its services being used for money laundering and terrorist financing.

The investigations undertaken by the SGA relate to the period from January 2019 to February 2022. However, since 2021 Kindred has implemented several improvements to further strengthen its processes, the company noted. These include:

  • Improved AML procedures, including Enhanced Due Diligence procedures. For example, any customer who is considered high risk is required to send bank statements, and failure to comply will result in account closure and a Suspicious Transaction Report (STR) will be submitted to the financial police if appropriate
  • Introduced financial indicators and backstops according to recurring income on customers reaching high risk
  • Extended and thorough customer risk assessments, entailing detailed transaction and gameplay review, as well as a review of product risk, affordability risk, and risks related to payment methods used
  • Increased the number of risk-assessed customers and Suspicious Transaction Reports (STR) sent to the financial police
  • Expanded the AML team to manage the increased requirements relating to appropriately identifying and managing customer risk

"Kindred fully shares the SGA's ambition to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. Anti-money laundering (AML) is a priority in Kindred's compliance and sustainability framework," the company said.

"Kindred would welcome increased clarity from the SGA and the legislation on what objective and effective AML risk parameters should be considered when assessing a customer's risk profile," the operator further stated.

Earlier this week, Kindred also announced it was informed by the Norwegian Gaming Authority that the regulator has decided to reinstate a "coercive" fine against its Maltese subsidiary Trannel International, despite changes Kindred claims it has undertaken.

"Kindred Group disagrees with the legal basis for the non-enforceable fine and will continue to challenge this in the courts," the group said. "Despite these changes and Trannel's clear communication to the contrary, the NGA incorrectly claims that Trannel's offering still targets Norwegian residents and has therefore decided to reinstate the coercive fine."

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