Paddy Power ordered to repay £500,000 to Birmingham Dogs Home

The Gambling Commission finds failings with the bookmaker's processes after the charity's former chief executive used stolen money to fund his gambling addiction

Birmingham Dogs Home is to be repaid almost £500,000 that was stolen from it by its former chief executive to fund a gambling habit.

The move comes after a ruling by the Gambling Commission against the betting firm Paddy Power Betfair.

An investigation by the commission found that the betting firm failed to carry out adequate anti-money laundering checks and interact with customers who showed signs of problem gambling.

The ruling means that Paddy Power will have to repay £498,508 to Birmingham Dogs Home after the latter's former chief executive, Simon Price, used money stolen from the charity to fund his gambling habit.

Price was jailed for five years in December after pleading guilty to 10 counts of fraud by abuse of position. He admitted in a police interview to having defrauded the charity of £650,000 to fund his online gambling habit.

His wife, Alayna, who was previously the charity’s commercial manager, also admitted five counts of fraud by abuse of position after taking £250,000 that had been left in legacies to the charity. She was sentenced to two years in prison suspended for two years.

Price left the charity in 2016 once the fraud was discovered.

Paddy Power has been fined £1.7m for its failings and asked to pay more than £50,000 towards the costs of the Gambling Commission’s investigation.

Giles Webber, chief executive of Birmingham Dogs Home, said: "After the awful events of the last year or two, today’s news is another positive step for the charity. We would like to thank the Gambling Commission for its role in making sure this portion of funds is returned to its rightful purpose, to help care for the thousands of stray and abandoned dogs that come through our doors every year.

"Birmingham Dogs Home will continue to work closely with all the relevant authorities and we remain hopeful that more of the stolen money can be recovered in due course."

Peter Jackson, chief executive of Paddy Power, apologised and accepted the firm’s interventions were not effective.

"In recent years, we have invested in an extensive programme of work to strengthen our resources and systems relating to responsible gambling and customer protection," he said.

"This work is continuous and we are committed to working in partnership with other operators, and with the commission, to become better and better at protecting customers."

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