Is Betsson the target of a smear campaign designed to drive down its stock prices while lining the pockets of an American hedge fund operator? That certainly appears to be the case.
Late last week officials from Betsson were taken by surprise when rumors began circulating that not everything regarding the company’s $85 million purchase Euro-Bet last summer was on the up and up. That deal gave Betsson a nice foothold in the Georgian gaming market and was not considered controversial when it went through.
Betsson CEO Pontus Lindwell told a Danish language news site that the allegations were completely inaccurate and that he was comfortable that his company was in compliance with financial regulations throughout the process.
So who was behind this very targeted smear campaign? While no one has been charged with any wrongdoing in the matter, some reliable sources such as CalvinAyre.com have named Khvicha Makatsaria as the one.
Makatasaria, a Georgian businessman who has also been accused of money laundering allegations in Georgia, is a shadowy figure with a very low internet profile.
On Friday, Betsson released a statement denying any wrongdoing and suggested that whomever was behind it – and they did not mention Makatsaria – was likely working with investors looking to drive down the company’s stock price.
In the statement titled, Regarding incorrect information about Betsson, the company blames short sellers saying:
An anonymous document which contains false information and fictitious facts about the transaction is now circulating, most likely to defame Betsson…Betsson has reasons to believe that an individual, with the aim of earning personal financial gains by short selling the Betsson shares, wants to discredit the company. This is something Betsson takes very seriously, especially as the company has many small shareholders.
The statement went on to point out that Betsson officials have informed Swedish financial regulators of the situation and may pursue legal action against whomever was behind the rumor.