Electoral bonds: Who is ‘Lottery King’ Santiago Martin, whose firm donated ₹1368 crore? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Electoral bonds: Who is ‘Lottery King’ Santiago Martin, whose firm donated 1368 crore?

Mar 15, 2024 11:29 AM IST

Electoral Bonds list: The website of Santiago Martin's charitable trust says he started his career as a labourer in Myanmar's Yangon.

The Election Commission on Thursday released the list of entities that purchased electoral bonds to make political donations, days after the State Bank of India furnished the details after the Supreme Court's rap. The highest amount of donations was made by a company named Future Gaming and Hotel Services Private Limited, which is run by Santiago Martin, commonly known as "Lottery King".

 Santiago Martin's firm donated the highest amount of money to political parties.
Santiago Martin's firm donated the highest amount of money to political parties.

Who is Santiago Martin?

The website of Santiago Martin's charitable trust says he started his career as a labourer in Myanmar's Yangon. In 1988, he returned to India and started a lottery business in Tamil Nadu. He later expanded the business in Karnataka and Kerala before moving into the northeast.

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In the northeast, he began his business by handling government lottery schemes. He later took his business offshore by launching entities in Bhutan and Nepal.

Also read: Electoral Bonds: TMC leaves behind Congress in donations; key takeaways

He later diversified in other businesses, including construction, real estate, textiles and hospitality, the website reads.

Also read: Adani Group, Reliance, Tata not on electoral bonds list, top donors are…

"He is also the President of All India Federation of Lottery Trade and Allied Industries – an organization engaged for uplifting and infusing credibility to the lottery trade in India. Under his stewardship, his enterprise, Future Gaming Solutions India Pvt. Ltd. became a member of the prestigious World Lottery Association and is expanding into the field of Online Gaming & Casinos and Sports Betting," the website claims.

Future Gaming and Hotel Services Private Limited donated 1368 crore between 2019 and 2024.

The Enforcement Directorate has been probing the company for alleged violation of PMLA law since 2019. They had carried out raids in Coimbatore and Chennai in May 2023.

Officials familiar with the case told HT that the ED probe is based on a Central Bureau of Investigation charge sheet that alleged the company sold lotteries from the government of Sikkim in Kerala.

Also read: ED attaches Rs119 cr worth properties of ‘Lottery King’

The agency has accused Martin and his companies of dealing a 910 crore loss to Sikkim "on account of inflating the prize-winning tickets claim from April 2009 to august 2010."

Other donors on SBI list

Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd donated 966 crore. The Hyderabad-based company is currently working on several infrastructure projects.

Also read: Electoral bonds: ‘Lottery King’ to infra firm among top donors

According to the data uploaded by the poll panel, 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.

With inputs from PTI

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