LONDON – The co-founder of $15 billion fintech startup Wise has been fined £365,651 ($494,951) by a British tax collector for intentionally evading his tax bill.
Wise CEO Christo Kaman was fined after he was late in filing personal tax returns during the 2017/18 tax year.
According to HM Revenue and Customs, his tax amount for the year was £720,495.
“We may publish the names of those punished in civil proceedings for knowingly defaulting on certain tax obligations,” an HMRC spokesperson said, without commenting on the details of Carman’s case.
“It’s about influencing behavior by encouraging defaulters to get involved with HM Revenue and Customs.”
A spokesman for Karman told CNBC that the Estonian-born billionaire “has spent more time organizing his personal caretaker since then.”
“Despite adequate reminders from HMRC, Christo has been delayed in filing her personal tax return for the 2017/18 tax year,” a spokesperson said.
“His tax return has been completed and he has paid the late penalty.”
This news was first reported by The Telegraph newspaper.
Founded in 2011 by Käärmann and Estonian entrepreneur Taavet Hinrikus, Wise is now considered the darling of the British tech scene.
The money transfer company, formerly known as TransferWise, made its debut in the blockbuster market in July and was valued at over £8 billion.
Since then, the company’s share price has increased by about 40%. At Wise’s current stock price, Carman is worth about £2.1 billion on paper.
News of tax breaches weighed heavily on sensible stocks on Tuesday. The stock eventually fell about 3%.
According to The Telegraph, Carman’s tax lapse could violate a UK rule that directors of a public company must be exempt from conflict between their employer obligations and private affairs.
The newspaper said the Financial Conduct Authority can also revoke executive approval to perform their roles if they do not adhere to standards of integrity.
“I cannot comment on individual companies, but I am considering such information in our ongoing monitoring,” an FCA spokesperson told CNBC.