- Kindred’s subsidiary Spooniker was fined €998K in Sweden for AML breaches
- The warning and fine stem from AML violations dating back to 2019
- Kindred is considering appealing the penalty
The Kindred Group continues to face regulatory troubles after it was slapped with a massive fine of SEK 10.0 million (€998,000) by Sweden’s gambling regulator Spelinspektionen.
The online gambling giant received the penalty after one of its subsidiaries, Spooniker, committed violations relating to anti-money laundering (AML) and terrorist financing laws.
Kindred Receives Warning and Fine from Swedish Regulator
Spooniker operates in Sweden and runs the online gambling sites unibet.se, mariabingo.se, bingo.se, storspelare.se, and mariacasino.se. The firm became the subject of a review by Spelinspektionen in 2021 after the regulator found that the company had not been fully compliant with the Enhanced Due Diligence policies on AML and terrorist financing since January 2019.
Spelinspektionen concluded that Spooniker failed to take sufficient measures on risk assessments to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing. As a result, a heavy fine of close to €1 million was imposed in order to set an example.
Kindred Group has questioned the warning and financial penalty, citing numerous improvements it has implemented to combat money laundering and terrorist financing since the investigation in 2021. The operator added that the changes have been acknowledged by Spelinspektionen itself, with the regulator saying the modified procedures are now compliant.
After it was flagged for not complying with enhanced due diligence requirements, Kindred introduced changes to its procedures and now requires customers classified as high-risk to present bank statements. Those who do not comply will get their accounts closed.
The company has now become more active in sending suspicious transaction reports (STRs) to financial agencies and has also adopted stricter financial measures and limits based on recurring income on customers reaching high risk. On top of that, Kindred is now conducting reviews of affordability, product, and payment method risks, and also added more AML personnel to carry out identification checks and risk management.
Kindred Considering Appeal
Kindred has sought clarification from the regulator on the effective AML parameters that must be considered when evaluating a player’s risk profile. Maintaining that AML is a “priority” in its compliance and sustainability network, the company said it’s considering launching an appeal against the warning and fine.
Kindred is facing similar regulatory challenges in Norway, with its subsidiary Trannel ordered by the country’s regulator to stop offering its services to Norwegian customers or face daily coercive fines amounting to NOK 1.2 million (€120,000).