Santiago Martin aka Lottery King | The business tycoon who topped the list of electoral bond donors

Though Future Gaming has often been visited by Central law-enforcement agencies, Santiago Martin was awarded several times for being the ‘highest Income Tax payer’ in India

Updated - March 22, 2024 09:50 pm IST

Published - March 15, 2024 01:26 pm IST - CHENNAI

File picture of lottery businessman Santiago Martin appearing before a court in Erode, Tamil Nadu

File picture of lottery businessman Santiago Martin appearing before a court in Erode, Tamil Nadu | Photo Credit: M. Govarthan

Over five years, Future Gaming and Hotel Services PR donated a whopping ₹1,368 crore in electoral bonds. The Coimbatore-based company founded in 1991 by Santiago Martin, aka Lottery King, emerged on top in the list of donors to political parties released by the Election Commission, thanks to the Supreme Court which ordered the State Bank of India to release the data.

Santiago Martin, founder and chairman of Martin Group of companies, rose from being a simple trader to head one of the largest business empires, mostly involved in lottery. The website of Martin Charitable Trust, the philanthropy arm of the group, says Mr. Martin began with his first steps of growth in the lottery industry at the age of 13 and went on to develop and secure a vast marketing network of buyers and sellers of lotteries across India, largely in the South.

In addition to his passion for enterprises driven by technology and a quest for fresh investments, his qualities as an entrepreneur have greatly enabled him to diversify into multiple business ventures, the website says.

Though Central law-enforcing agencies, including the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax, have knocked on the company doors of Santiago Martin in the past, he was awarded several times for being the “Highest Income Tax Payer” in the country.

Incidentally, the ED had attached ₹411 crore in the bank accounts of the firm and other companies in March 2022 and had later filed a prosecution complaint against it under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, before the PMLA Court, Kolkata, on September 9, 2023.

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