Itai Pazner Leaves CEO Role at 888 due to Failings in AML and KYC

February 1st, 2023
Back Itai Pazner Leaves CEO Role at 888 due to Failings in AML and KYC

Gibraltar-based Gambling Giant Announces Departure of CEO

One of the largest gambling brands in the world, 888 Holdings PLC, has announced that its long-standing CEO, Itai Pazner, is leaving the role with immediate effect. This decision was brought in the wake of the business failings with AML and KYC processes for customers in the Middle East.

It has been confirmed that the company’s non-executive chairman, Lord Mendelsohn, will serve as interim executive chair until the board of directors finds a suitable replacement.

Abrupt Departure

The sudden resignation of Itai Pazner comes after more than 20 years with the 888. It also coincides with an earlier announcement in regard to the suspension of VIP activities in several Middle Eastern markets.

As reported, a recent internal compliance review discovered some huge failings in anti-money laundering and Know Your Customer practices, putting the entire business and Middle Eastern customers at security risk.

Pazner accepted the position of CEO in January 2019. He successfully switched positions and rose through the ranks during his two decades with the company. As chief executive officer of 888, he even managed to complete the acquisition of the non-US business of William Hill in July 2022.

In the meantime, Itai oversaw multiple expansion efforts across North America.

On the account of his abrupt departure, interim executive chair Lord Mendelsohn said the following:

On behalf of the board I would like to thank Itai for his significant contributions to the business over more than 20 years, including the last four as CEO.

Mendelsohn also stated that Itai has played a very important role in building the company. The entire board and interim executive wish him well in his future endeavours, concluded Lord.

Earlier this month, it has been decided that the company’s chief financial officer Yariv Dafna will also be stepping down from 31 March. His resignation is based on a 3% year-on-year decline in revenue after the 2022 financial year, despite being one of the oldest big shots in iGaming. Nonetheless, 888 has confirmed that Dafna will remain with the group until the end of 2023 without offering an explanation.

Suspension of VIP Activities

Due to the failings related to KYC and AML, all VIP activities for Middle Eastern customers have ceased. After an internal compliance investigation (the reason why Pazner left 888 Holdings after 20 years) it’s been confirmed that certain practices have not fulfilled the highest industry standards.

Such a statement caused the 888 board to suspend all VIP customer accounts in the region with immediate effect.

If the accounts remain suspended for a longer period of time, the impact on 888 should be less than 3% of group revenue. The board has also said that the situation only refers to the Middle East region, other jurisdictions were not affected.

According to Mendelsohn, the board takes the group’s compliance responsibilities incredibly seriously.

As soon as the company was alerted to issues with some VIP customers in the region, 888 took decisive actions to repair the damage and build a stronger business. As a reminder, the company was ordered by UKGC to pay a £9.4 million fine for money laundering failings back in March 2022.

As a result of Pazner’s departure and KYC/AML failings, the shares in 888 Holdings have dropped 15.99% to 86.70 pence per unit.


Pazner removed as 888 chief executive,, January 23rd, 2023.

“internal compliance review discovered some huge failings”

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