Former Mansion Casino CEO Faces $5M Asset Freeze in Gibraltar
Posted on: February 24, 2023, 02:20h.
Last updated on: February 24, 2023, 12:34h.
Online gaming operator Mansion Group’s continuous financial trouble may not have just been because of its fights in regulated markets, but also because of former CEO Karel Mañasco’s ineffectiveness. As a result, authorities in Gibraltar plan on holding him to task, hitting him with a global asset freeze order worth £5 million (US$6 million).
Last year, Mansion began shuttering some of its online operations, such as sports betting in the UK. The move came six months after Mansion suspended Mañasco, who was allegedly using the company as his own piggy bank, making purchases and negotiating deals on the side with Mansion’s money.
In an effort to stop any additional financial leaks, Mansion then approached the courts in Gibraltar to request assistance. In an effort to try to balance its checkbook, Mansion has won a restraining order that will prevent Mañasco from moving assets until the case is resolved.
A Personal Piggy Bank
Media outlet GBC News in Gibraltar reports that a judge has agreed to freeze Mañasco’s assets while Mansion figures out if there’s more damage. The “nuclear bomb” that prevents the embattled CEO from being able to manage the assets is necessary, as Mansion looks for restitution from the man it charged with running the company.
In total, the gaming operator believes Mañasco may owe it at least $2.76 million, but can’t be sure. This is because he was, according to Mansion, happy to run around using company money for wild and frivolous purchases. Financial experts are still combing through the books to figure out exactly how much damage may have been done.
Because of Mansion’s structure at the time, Mañasco not only served as CEO, but as CFO as well. This gave him carte blanche to use company funds with no one having to sign off on the purchases. That lack of infrastructure is now coming back to haunt the company.
The judge overseeing the case, Chief Justice Anthony Dudley, agreed that freezing the assets is in the best interest of justice at this time. He said Mañasco has “low standards of morality,” and while an asset freeze order shouldn’t be used rashly, it is justified in this case.
Mañasco indicated that he plans on fighting the order.
Fast Cars and Flashy Jewelry
In September 2021, Mansion began sensing that something was wrong. Purchases made for luxury cars – such as Mercedes and Range Rovers – and jewelry – including 15 luxury watches – with company money didn’t add up.
In addition, there were allegedly other questionable payments on company credit cards, unauthorized rent payments, and even the purchase of a domain name with company money. The latter was a $17K expense, and the domain had nothing to do with Mansion.
Mañasco also allegedly used company money to deliver payments of over $2.65 million to a company in the Marshall Islands, White Wizard Media. According to Mansion’s records, White Wizard never did any work for it.
Mansion also continues to question Mañasco about the bonuses he authorized for himself, including $346K in 2019 and $513K the following year, despite nothing appearing in his contract about the extra payments. It also wants to know why Mañasco gave himself a personal allowance of $79K, which also was not in his contract.
In light of the perceived abuse of power, the company gave its former figurehead some paid time off before he eventually resigned in December 2021. Mañasco has repeatedly claimed he is innocent of any wrongdoing, and asserts that, as CEO, he had the right to make decisions that were, in his estimation, in the best interest of the company.
This apparently includes allegedly purchasing a Ferrari to zoom around the 18 miles of roads in Gibraltar.
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