The online gambling company 888 has suspended its VIP customer accounts in the Middle East after an internal review found best practices had not been followed in some areas, including anti-money laundering processes.

888 announced separately that its chief executive, Itai Pazner, was leaving immediately after four years in the top job and more than 20 at the company.

In a statement to the stock exchange on Monday, the company said that following an internal compliance review it had come to light that certain best practices had not been followed regarding “know your client and anti-money laundering processes for 888 VIP customers in the Middle East region”.

“While further internal investigations are under way, the board has taken the decision to suspend VIP customer accounts in the region, effective immediately,” it said.

The financial impact is less than 3% of group revenues, 888 said, should the suspensions remain in place.

It comes after the group’s share dropped by more than 50% over the past year amid a slowdown in online gambling after the pandemic and investor caution over its takeover of William Hill’s European operation, which resulted in 888 taking on significant debt.

Lord Mendelsohn, the 888 chair, said: “The board and I take the group’s compliance responsibilities incredibly seriously. When we were alerted to issues with some of 888’s VIP customers, the board took decisive actions. We will be uncompromising in our approach to compliance as we build a strong and sustainable business.”

Mendelsohn becomes executive chair of the company on an interim basis while the board searches for a permanent chief executive to replace Pazner.

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