A petition calling for sanctions against Parimatch LLC to be lifted has amassed more than 25,000 signatures and will be passed on to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy for review.
In March of this year, President Zelenskyy penned an executive order which instructed a number of betting companies across Ukraine to cease operations immediately. Among those affected was Parimatch, one of the country’s largest bookmakers.
Under Ukrainian law, President Zelenskyy has 10 days to respond to the petition, which hit the 25,000 signatures needed for a review “14 days ahead of the deadline”.
Maxym Liashko, Managing Partner of Energame, Parimatch’s management company, said: “We are Ukrainian patriots. Our fellow countrymen and countrywomen unequivocally agree with that. We have supported our country against Russia’s full-scale invasion from the first day, and immediately moved to terminate any remaining legacy business in the aggressor country.
“We are confident that Ukraine is on an irreversible road to becoming a democratic European nation where people can live and do business freely, while enjoying the full protection of the law. We trust that our President, a champion of the rule of law and liberal democratic values, will do the right thing and order a review of the unjust sanctions that were imposed on us in a flawed and unfair process.2
Parimatch has vehemently dismissed any claims that its business had been connected with Russian activity. Legal opinion sought by the bookmaker highlighted that Parimatch had ended any third-party licence agreements with Russian entities immediately after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in March 2022.
Liashko added: “We all agree that it is the right and the duty of Ukrainian authorities to sanction entities or individuals that seek to undermine the country. Sanctions are a powerful tool in the fight against the invaders and their supporters. However, mistakes are sometimes made, as happened in the case of Parimatch. A robust review and appeal system is therefore an essential part of any sanctions regime.”
The statement announcing the petition’s landmark number of signatures argues that its popularity is a reflection of a “touchstone issue for tens of thousands of Ukrainians who want to see their country become a successful democracy where the rule of law is firmly established and respected”.
Parimatch noted that since the start of the war, the bookmaker has donated more than 547 mln hryvnia ($14m USD) to the ongoing war efforts.
The statement added: “As an international company proud of its strong Ukrainian roots, Parimatch will remain an unwavering supporter of Ukrainian sovereignty in the face of Russia’s illegal war of aggression.”