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27 Jun 2022

Wise CEO and co-founder faces investigations

The Index Today

The CEO of a $4.8 billion fintech firm Wise is being investigated by U.K. regulators after tax authorities found he failed to pay a tax bill worth over £720,000.

Kristo Kaarmann, who co-founded Wise in 2011, was recently fined £365,651 by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs — the U.K. government department responsible for collecting taxes — for defaulting on the tax bill in 2018.

At the time, a company spokesperson said Kaarmann had submitted his personal tax returns for the 2017/18 tax year late but has since paid what he owed along with “substantial” late filing penalties.
The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority has now opened an investigation into the matter, according to a statement from Wise on Monday. Regulators are looking into whether Kaarmann failed to meet regulatory obligations and standards.
Wise, which competes with the likes of PayPal and Western Union, made a name for itself by tackling hidden fees in foreign exchange and quickly became a darling of the U.K. start-up scene. The company has since branched into other areas of finance, including banking and investments.

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