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Swedish court reduces Mr Green penalty fee to SEK12m

| By Marese O'Hagan
A Swedish Court of Appeal has reduced a SEK31.5m (£2.3m/€2.7m/$2.9m) penalty fee issued by the country's regulator (Spelinspektionen) to Mr Green in 2021.
Mr Green

On Monday (27 May), the Court of Appeal ruled that Spelinspektionen had acted proportionately when it issued a SEK31.5m penalty fee against Mr Green in August 2021. The penalty fee had been issued in relation to two areas. A total of SEK1.5m was issued for anti-money laundering (AML) shortcomings and SEK30.0m for duty of care failures.

However, the Court of Appeal decided to reduce the penalty fee to SEK12m. The court said that the reduction was made in line with the Supreme Administrative Court’s guiding ruling on how a penalty fee should be calculated.

“The Court of Appeal considers that the penalty fee that the Swedish Gaming Authority now advocates is proportionate, and the court therefore decides that the penalty fee should be set at this amount,” ruled the court.

Mr Green initially appealed the SEK31.5m penalty fee and warning to the Administrative Court in Linköping. The court decided that Mr Green had insufficient AML procedures. It also ruled that Mr Green had violated the Money Laundering Act in regards to customer due diligence. This court upheld the warning and penalty fee.

Why was Mr Green penalised in 2021?

Spelinspektionen received complaints about Mr Green in November 2019, which prompted a review of the operator’s AML policies. A total of 15 accounts were reviewed.

Mr Green had already reported a number of these customers to Sweden’s financial police. The regulator noted that this indicated existing suspicions of money laundering.

In one instance, a customer had made deposits of SEK39.3m and lost SEK3.2m. This individual had declared a yearly income which just about covered the losses. After the customer ceased playing with Mr Green, Mr Green decided to take no further action to investigate potential money laundering.

Another incident saw a customer make a number of deposits per day and lose more than their declared taxable income with Mr Green over a number of years. The regulator noted that this person was likely suffering gambling-related harm as opposed to engaging in money laundering. This customer’s account was closed in 2020, alongside several others.

Spelinspektionen ruled that there had been insufficient contact with those customers, who had deposit limits of more than SEK100,000.

Busy week for fines in Sweden’s gambling market

The reduction of Mr Green’s penalty fee comes during a busy month for penalties in the Swedish market.

Earlier this week, Hacksaw Gaming and Panda Bluemoon were both issued with warnings and penalty fees for providing content to unlicensed sites. Hacksaw was ordered to pay a fee of SEK2.6m, while Panda Bluemoon was hit with a SEK700,000 fee.

Also this week, the Administrative Court of Appeal in Jönköping ordered a historic fine against Kindred subsidiary Spooniker to be reduced for a second time. The fine now stands at SEK30m, having initially been set at SEK100m in March 2020.

Spooniker was accused of offering unauthorised bonuses and lotteries without the appropriate licence.

The fee had previously been reduced to SEK50m in 2021. This came after an appeal by Kindred to the Administrative Court in Linköping.

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