Wise, the money transfer group, has revealed that CEO and co-founder Kristo Käärmann is being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) over deliberate tax defaulting.
In September 2021, HMRC updated its published list of individuals and businesses receiving penalties for a deliberate default regarding their tax affairs. Käärmann was included on the list and will remain so for 12 months from its publication.
The board of Wise revealed it has conducted an investigation with support from external legal counsel. The investigation concluded in Q4 2021, and the board shared details of its findings, assessment and actions with the FCA.
The FCA has commenced an investigation regarding the regulatory obligations and standards to which Käärmann is subject. He intends to cooperate fully with the FCA in its investigation.
David Wells, chair, said: “The board takes Kristo’s tax default and the FCA’s investigation very seriously. After reviewing the matter late last year the board required that Kristo take remedial actions, including appointing professional tax advisors to ensure his personal tax matters are appropriately managed.
“The board has also shared details of its own findings, assessment and actions with the FCA and will cooperate fully with the FCA as and when they require, while continuing to support Kristo in his role as CEO.”
At this time, Wise does not intend to make any further comment given the ongoing regulatory investigation.When appropriate, Wise will provide an update.