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I'm seeking internal and external correspondence, and/or reports, presentations and advice to the Commission, concerning links between the Russian bank Sberbank and the Czech businessman Karel Komarek, his gaming and lotteries business Allwyn Group and the wider KKCG holding company that he controls. Please provide anything ranging from 1 January 2021 to date.

I believe it should be possible to significantly limit the cost and time of this request by focusing on the search term "Sberbank" and providing material in which Sberbank is mentioned.


Thank you for your request which has been processed under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

In your email you have requested internal and external correspondence, and/or reports, presentations and advice to the Commission, concerning links between the Russian bank Sberbank and the Czech businessman Karel Komarek, his gaming and lotteries business Allwyn Group and the wider KKCG holding company that he controls. Please provide anything ranging from 1 January 2021 to date.

Please see the attachment containing correspondence falling within scope of your request.

Please note, the Commission may refuse requests in full or in part in certain circumstances and, having considered your request, the Commission considers that some of the information held within the scope of your request is exempt. In this instance, some of the material has been redacted either (i) because an exemption applies or (ii) on the basis of relevance (i.e. the information is outside the scope of your request).

The exemptions the Commission has relied upon are as follows:

Section 40(2) - Personal Information

Section 40(2) of FOIA exempts information from disclosure if disclosure would contravene any of the data protection principles. Therefore, in order to disclose this information, the Commission must be satisfied it has a lawful basis to do so.

We have considered the request and do not consider there is a lawful basis for disclosure of the information. The Commission considers that it would be disproportionate for us to publicly disclose the personal data of individuals, as there is no strong public interest in doing so. There is also no expectation that the personal information of these individuals will be disclosed in the context in which it is held. The redacted personal information includes names and email addresses.

On balance, we do not consider there is a legitimate public interest in disclosing the personal data and it would not be fair to do so.

This information is therefore exempt under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000.  

As mentioned, we have also removed from the attachment information which does not fall within the scope of your request.

Section 42 - Legal Professional Privilege

Section 42 provides an exemption under the FOIA for Legal Professional Privilege (LPP). Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege or, in Scotland, to confidentiality of communications could be maintained in legal proceedings is exempt information. LPP protects the confidentiality of free and frank communications between a legal advisor and a client.

  • The documents that are not being disclosed pertain to legal advice provided to Commission staff (as clients) or to third parties who have provided the material to the Commission on the basis that the privileged status of the material is maintained.
  • The communications between the legal advisor and their clients were provided for the main purpose of legal advice.
  • There has been no previous disclosure of the information contained within the documents and therefore the advice remains confidential.

Public Interest Test

The factors the Commission has considered when applying the public interest test have been detailed below and our view is that the public interest lies in favour of applying the exemption.

(a) In favour of disclosure

  • The Commission is a public body which is required to regulate the gambling industry in the public interest. There is therefore a public interest in members of the public having confidence that the Commission is being open and honest with the information it holds so that it can be held to account.
  • There is public interest in knowing what legal advice was obtained in relation to the running of the 4NLC so the public can be assured that the correct advice was provided.

(b) In favour of maintaining the exemption

  • There is a strong public interest in Commission staff being able to access full and frank legal advice without concerns that this advice will be disclosed.
  • There is a strong public interest in applicants in procurement exercises being able to share privileged legal advice with the Commission on a confidential basis (on the basis of “common interest privilege”) to allow frank and open discussion between the parties.
  • Disclosure may hinder the candid nature of communications in the future which could be damaging to future decision making which is not in the public interest.
  • Disclosure may have a negative impact upon the frankness of legal advice provided and may even have an impact upon the extent that legal advice is sought. This would also not be in the public interest.

(c) Weighing the balance

  • The Commission recognises that there is a public interest in disclosure of information relating to the 4NLC however, there is a greater argument in favour of safeguarding the communications between clients and their legal advisors to ensure access to full and frank legal advice. The advice provided is the opinion of a legally qualified individual and is not a definitive statement in law.
  • Disclosure of this information would infringe on the rights of Commission staff to gain legal advice on matters which ultimately could impact on consumers.
  • On balance, we consider that the public interest is better served by withholding the documents ensuring that the provision of legal advice is safeguarded.

Review of the decision

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your Freedom of Information request you are entitled to an internal review of our decision. You should write to FOI Team, Gambling Commission, 4th floor, Victoria Square House, Victoria Square, Birmingham, B2 4BP or by reply to this email. 

Please note, internal review requests should be made within 40 working days of the initial response. Requests made outside this timeframe will not be processed.

If you are not content with the outcome of our review, you may then apply directly to the Information Commissioner (ICO) for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have already exhausted the review procedure provided by the Gambling Commission. 

It should be noted that if you wish to raise a complaint with the ICO about the Commission’s handling of your request for information, then you are required to do so within six weeks of receiving your final response or last substantive contact with us.

The ICO can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office (opens in a new tab), Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

Information Management Team
Gambling Commission


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