5 Facts About Santiago Martin, Whose Company Is Biggest Poll Bonds Donor

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5 Facts About Santiago Martin, Whose Company Is Biggest Electoral Bonds Donor

Santiago Martin is now expanding into online gaming and casinos and sports betting.

New Delhi:

The Election Commission of India released electoral bonds data on Thursday, on its official website, as directed by the Supreme Court. Among the prominent buyers is Future Gaming and Hotel Services, a company related to Santiago Martin, famously known as the ‘Lottery King’.

Data revealed that Mr Martin’s company bought electoral bonds worth over ₹ 1,350 crore through two different sets of companies. This has drawn scrutiny from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) since March 2022. 

Here are some facts about Santiago Martin

  • Santiago Martin started as a labourer in Myanmar’s Yangon. He began his lottery business in Tamil Nadu in 1988 upon return to India, later expanding to Karnataka, Kerala, West Bengal, Punjab, Maharashtra and the northeastern states, as per his charitable trust website
  • Mr Martin initially focused on managing government lottery schemes in the northeast. He later expanded into various sectors, including construction, real estate, textiles, and hospitality. His company, Future Gaming Solutions India Pvt Ltd, has earned a membership in the prestigious World Lottery Association under his leadership. Mr Martin is now expanding into online gaming and casinos and sports betting.
  • Since 2011 Mr Martin and his company have been subject to several investigations on suspicion of unpaid income tax, money laundering and fraud. Mr Martin has been under the scrutiny of Central agencies, including the ED and the Income Tax Department. In 2023, ED froze assets worth about Rs 457 crore over an alleged loss of over Rs 900 crore to the Sikkim government by way of a fraudulent lottery sale in Kerala.
  • He has also been recognized as the highest personal taxpayer in India,  and awarded the ‘Best Lottery Professional Award’ in 2000 by PGRI (Public Gaming Research Institute), USA and a gold medal for Excellence in Business by the Foundation for Excellence in Business Practice, Geneva, in 2004.
  • Mr Martin also holds an Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration from Yorker International University, New York, an Honorary Doctorate from Università Popolare degli Studi di Milano, Italy, and a Doctor of Letters from The International Tamil University, Maryland, USA. 

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