Parimatch, the prominent online gambling company, has taken legal action against President Volodymyr Zelensky to overturn the sanctions imposed on the company due to its connections with Russia and Belarus. The lawsuit, filed by Weplay Media Holding Limited, the Cypriot owner of the Parimatch brand, directly targets President Zelensky. The court has set September 5, 2023, as the date for hearing the case.
Zelensky, through Presidential Decree No. 145/2023, has officially imposed sanctions on Parimatch and several other betting companies. These sanctions, enforced on March 10, 2023, were based on the decision made by the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine (NSDC). The NSDC accused Parimatch of detrimental actions such as withdrawing funds from the state and financing Russian schemes through their gambling business. As a result, Parimatch is now compelled to halt its operations in Ukraine, block access to its website for Ukrainian customers, and terminate all staff contracts. A total of 287 companies and 120 individuals have been sanctioned and are prohibited from conducting any business activities in Ukraine for the next 50 years.
Parimatch has officially appealed to President Zelensky to authenticate the NSDC’s verdict, asserting that the council based its decision on fabricated information. The company emphatically denies ever receiving any inquiries from the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) concerning its franchise in Russia. Additionally, Parimatch claims to have been victimized by threats, intimidation, and extortion from the SBU. In an effort to provide restitution for its customers, Parimatch is actively seeking a legal mechanism to refund their funds, pledging to transfer the full amount.