‘Lottery King’ Santiago Martin Was Labourer in Myanmar   - Vibes Of India

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‘Lottery King’ Santiago Martin Was Labourer in Myanmar  

| Updated: March 15, 2024 10:53

Santiago Martin’s company donated Rs 1368 crore, has been on ED’s radar since 2019

In a surprising twist, it has been revealed that the highest amount of donations in the form of electoral bonds was made by a company called Future Gaming and Hotel Services Private Limited, run by Santiago Martin, known as “Lottery King”. The company donated Rs 1368 crore between 2019 and 2024.

This revelation follows the release of data by the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday. The list is of individuals and companies who bought electoral bonds to make political donations. The ECI was given these details by the State Bank of India (SBI) after the Supreme Court criticised SBI for delay in furnishing the details.   

Santiago Martin’s rise 

The website of Santiago Martin’s charitable trust says he started his career as a labourer in Myanmar’s Yangon. He came back to India in 1988 and started a lottery business in Tamil Nadu. He expanded it to Karnataka and Kerala and later the northeast, where he dealt with government lottery schemes.

He expanded his lottery business to Bhutan and Nepal. Later he diversified into  construction, real estate, textiles and hospitality, according to the website. 

He is also the president of All India Federation of Lottery Trade and Allied Industries – an organisation engaged for uplifting and infusing credibility to the lottery trade in India. Under him, Future Gaming Solutions India Pvt. Ltd. became a member of the World Lottery Association and is expanding into the field of online gaming, casinos and sports betting, the website claims.

ED probing company

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has been investigating the company for alleged violation of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002  (PMLA) since 2019. In May 2023, the ED carried out raids in Coimbatore and Chennai. 

The probe is reportedly based on a  Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) charge sheet that alleged that the company sold lotteries from the government of Sikkim in Kerala. The agency has accused Martin’s companies of causing a Rs 910-crore loss to Sikkim.

Among the other donors on the list, Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd donated Rs 966 crore. The company is currently involved in numerous infrastructure projects.

The buyers of electoral bonds included Spicejet, IndiGo, Grasim Industries, Megha Engineering, Piramal Enterprises, Torrent Power, Bharti Airtel, DLF Commercial Developers, Vedanta Ltd, Apollo Tyres, Edelweiss, PVR, Keventer, Sula Wines, Welspun, Sun Pharma, Vardhman Textiles, Jindal Group, Phillips Carbon Black Limited, CEAT tyres, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, ITC, Kaypee Enterprises, Cipla, and Ultratech Cement.

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