Posted on: November 29, 2020, 02:53h.
Last updated on: November 29, 2020, 04:16h.
The id of the owner of one of London’s swankiest casinos stays a thriller, thanks to an obscure British regulation that ensures anonymity for small business house owners who are “at major threat of violence or intimidation.”
The significant-end Park Lane Club, primarily based in the London Hilton in London’s affluent Mayfair district, experienced its certified revoked at the commencing of November.
Several assumed this was due to the fact proprietor Silverbond Enterprises was controlled by Latvian businessman Vasilijis Melniks. He has been accused of embezzling and laundering €54 million ($64 million USD) from Ukraine’s point out-owned strength business.
Who Owns the Park Lane Club?
But a spokesperson for the on line casino informed The Evening Common this week that Melniks experienced quietly sold his stake in Silverbond in 2018. This was just immediately after a Ukrainian Courtroom froze the businessman’s belongings in the Crimea, which triggered a overview of the company’s on line casino license by the Uk Gambling Commission (UKGC).
“Following the sale of the corporation in 2018, Mr Melniks is no extended a shareholder nor a director of the enterprise, so we are not able to comment on his affairs,” mentioned the Park Lane Club’s compliance director, Debbie Dunn.
Dunn verified that Silverbond is contesting the license revocation and that the casino can continue on trading during the appeals system — whilst it is currently closed, together with all non-vital retail in England, for the reason that of the coronavirus pandemic.
She was not able to shed any light on the id of the new proprietor, but said Silverbond was “currently going via a protracted corporate transform of management system,” and even further remark could prejudice the ongoing authorized approach.
The owner’s id is shielded underneath Segment 790ZG of the UK’s Corporations Act, which restricts the general public disclosure of directors’ private information if the mother nature of their business enterprise could put them at hazard. It is developed to defend directors that could be exposed to retribution from activists, these kinds of as those people active in the defense industry, for instance, or whose providers apply vivisection.
It is unclear why a casino owner would have to have to be shielded in this way.
‘Staggering and Ludicrous’
In truth, former gambling regulator Graham White advised the Regular it was “ludicrous” that an individual could be granted anonymity in an marketplace where by the risks of dollars laundering are so substantial.
“It would seem remarkable that the possession of casinos in this region can be a mystery. I locate it fairly staggering, frankly,” he mentioned.
“And we need to have to know fuller aspects about why the license was revoked. What because of diligence did the [UKGC] do on the earlier proprietor and what on the present operator?”
The UKGC pulled the Park Lane Club license due to the fact it was “not satisfied that it would have granted the operating license to the Licensee experienced the new controller been a controller of the company when the application for the running license was created.”
The regulator added it could not be satisfied as to the “source of money made use of to receive and assistance the license at the time of the transform of corporate management, or to whom future profits of the licensee would be compensated.”