PokerStars Italy Target of Italian Tax Fraud Probe
The accusations were leveled at a PokerStars’ subsidiary called, Halfords Media Italy S.r.l., which handles marketing for the Italian operation and include formal charges of tax fraud against the company’s CEO.
According to a report on PokerNews.com, the company allegedly shifted revenue from Italy over to offices in Malta and the Isle of Mann, where tax burdens are significantly lower.
The investigation into tax fraud at PokerStars has, apparently, been underway for quite some time and did not take company officials by surprise. In a statement to PokerNews they said:
PokerStars has been working with Italian tax authorities since they launched an audit several years ago. We have operated in compliance with the applicable local tax regulations and have paid €120 million over the period covered by the audit.Like many other global ecommerce companies, we vigorously dispute the stance of the tax authority regarding local establishment…
PokerStars is currently the top online poker site in Italy and completely dominates the market there. In 2014, the company had slightly more than 50% market share in the country.
News of an ongoing investigation in Europe is just the latest in a string of bad news stories for PokerStars and its parent company Amaya Gaming.
In Canada, where the company is based, financial investigators are looking into accusations of insider trading in the months ahead of the company’s multi-billion dollar PokerStars’ acquisition.
If there’s any good news in this story for Amaya/Poker Stars is that they’re likely not the only internet-based company under scrutiny by Italian tax collectors. According to PokerNews, both Google and Amazon have also been the targets of financial investigations at their Italian operations.