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Scientific Games Shareholder Alleged to Have Been Tied to Terrorism

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Jun/17/2019

Scientific Games, a global supplier of interactive lotteries and casino solutions, was not exactly thrilled to discover that one of its shareholders has alleged ties to terroristic activities.

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The gambling firm has filed a lawsuit that names Hong Kong-based Sylebra Holdings.  The shareholder in question is yet to be identified by name.

The suit was filed in Nevada and claims there was a failure to comply with information requests about suitability in the state.

Sylebra Holdings holds 9.34 per cent of the company’s stock, estimated at $178 million.

The lawsuit states:

“This sustained pattern of obfuscation, procedural maneuvering and outright stonewalling… raises serious questions about just what Sylebra might be trying to hide.”

Other companies are reportedly filing actions against Sylebra Holdings.  

From the Hartford Courant:

(D)ocuments obtained by Government Watch, under a freedom of information request, provide a look into an intriguing episode that began last spring with a flurry of alarming allusions to organized crime, money laundering, the Islamic State, terrorism and blacklisting.

In an April 27 letter to the lottery corporation, Gilbert L. Brooks, an attorney for the international law firm Duane Morris, wrote on Scientific Games’ behalf that a Hong Kong-headquartered investment company, Sylebra HK Company Limited, and an affiliate had reported to the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) “that Sylebra holds approximately 9.8% of the issued and outstanding common shares of Scientific Games.”

Brooks said his corporate client also had learned that “Sylebra is a significant shareholder of a NASDAQ traded company by the name of QIWI” which he described as “a Russian company incorporated in Cypress.”

“QIWI is a payment processor” — analogous to PayPal — and Brooks wrote that “there has been public reporting of matters that raise concerns regarding the suitability of being associated with QIWI.” He mentioned three such matters:

“notice from Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor stating that QIWI had breached Russian gambling laws relating to facilitating online gaming payments to unlicensed ‘blacklisted’ online gambling operators”;
a filing with the SEC in which “QIWI stated that its payment processing system ‘remains susceptible to potentially illegal or improper uses’ such as money laundering by organized crime groups and other illicit actors...” Those “actors,” Brooks continued, “apparently include fund-raising groups named in sanctions by the West for their fund-raising network and activities soliciting donations through QIWI in order to raise money to equip forces involved with the armed insurgency in eastern Ukraine”;
and “reports that Islamic State fighters from the North Caucasus are collecting funds to finance terrorist activities using QIWI.”

- Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

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