Saturday, July 13, 2024

MP Ronald Karauri: I sold my Sh. 25 million land to invest in SportPesa

Kasarani Member of Parliament and SportPesa CEO Ronald Karauri recently revealed how he invested in SportPesa.

Mr. Karauri revealed that he took a risk by selling his land at Sh. 25 million in order to buy a 6 per cent stake. Apparently, Ronald Karauri had bought the same piece of land at Sh. 2 million.

“I was in a casino when the idea came about. The casino is very interesting because you meet so many people and I was the only one who was flying. The idea was started by one of the people at the table,” said Karauri who is a former pilot. “I got really interested and told him, ‘you know what, I am really interested and would like to join you. So, initially I was one of the few people who bought the idea because at that time, not many people could see it. Some people joined much later.”

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SportPesa was started in 2014 and it went  on to make some of the biggest sponsorship deals including multi-billion deals with English Premier League clubs Arsenal, Everton, Southampton and the relegated Hull City.

It was suspended from operations in 2019. Since then, its owners are rocked in a dispute over how over Sh. 20 billion was shipped out of the country.

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According to a report that appeared in the Business Daily, the fight has local owners Paul Ndung’u and Asenath Wacera on one side and SportPesa’s Bulgarian owners with Karauri on the other side.

At the heart of this fight is the allegation that Sh. 29.1 billion was transferred from the company’s accounts to overseas accounts without the approval of some owners.

“Businessman Paul Wanderi Ndung’u and Asenath Wacera Maina, who have a combined stake of 38 percent, reckon they were not informed of the Milestone deal, which was made public by Karauri on Friday.

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Ndung’u reckons that local top shareholders of Pevans East Africa, the entity behind SportPesa in Kenya, were excluded from buying shares in the holding company — SportPesa Global Holding Limited (SGHL) — leading to dilution of their ownership in the UK-based firm,” the report says.

Ndung’u owns a 17 percent stake in Pevans and 2.8 percent of SGHL while foreign owners led by Bulgarians own 80 percent of SGHL 47 percent in Pevans. Karauri owns a six percent stake in Pevans East Africa while Wacera owns 21 percent stake in Pevans.

Peter Kihanya Muiruri, a cousin of former President Uhuru Kenyatta, owns a one percent stake. American Gene Grand owns 21 percent, Bulgarians Valentina Nikolaeva Mineva three percent and Ivan Stoyanov Kalpakchiev two percent.

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