Italian Tax Authorities Probing PokerStars Subsidiary

Published Wednesday, March 11, 2015 -
Italian Tax Authorities Probing PokerStars Subsidiary

The online gambling industry generates massive amounts of revenue for many jurisdictions around the world in the form of taxes and licenses. Companies hire corporate lawyers to find loop holes in the tax laws to reduce the amount the government is entitled to. This practice is common and legal but every now and then governments look closely at closing the loop holes and investigate whether the rules have been adhered to.

It was revealed recently the financial authorities in Italy have confirmed that a firm employed by PokerStars for marketing is under investigation for allegedly cheating the Italian government out of taxes owed. The company called Halfords Media Italy is suspected of fraud amounting to around €300 million. PokerNews reported PokerStars Head of Corporate Communication Eric Hollreiser commented that the issue will be resolved soon and "PokerStars has been working with Italian tax authorities since they launched an audit several years ago."

Italian authorities have confirmed that Halfords Media Chief Executive Officer has been formally charged with tax fraud with an announcement explaining that the company allegedly failed to declare profits for around €300 million between 2009 and 2014.

Authorities in Italy said, "the discovery of a significant tax evasion as part of a bigger operation dubbed 'ALL-IN' — allowed the authorities to understand the real market value of the transactions that occurred between different companies part of an international group, and this will allow them to get back the income that was not declared to the country's tax office."

Mr. Hollreiser was quoted by PokerNews as saying, "Like many other global e-commerce companies, we vigorously dispute the stance of the tax authority regarding local establishment. The audit is ongoing and we hope to resolve the issue in our favor soon. In the meantime, our operations continue as usual on and we remain focused on delivering the most popular online poker service in the Italian market."


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