Integrity in sport update: arrests in Italy following match-fixing inquires into lower league football

Weekly Media Recap 8-14 June 2015

This week as part of our global initiative, the INTERPOL Integrity in Sport unit delivered a course for Law Enforcement Investigators on match-fixing and organised crime.

Meanwhile in the media, match-fixing allegations were reported in Italy and Spain.

Fifteen people were arrested as part of a match-fixing inquiry led by anti-Mafia prosecutors in the southern town of Catanzaro. They were among the more than 50 people who were detained by police throughout Italy last month in a sweep that authorities said involves "dozens" of fixed matches in the third and fourth divisions.

The Spanish league is investigating this season’s final-day match between Real Betis and Sporting Gijón, both of whom have been promoted to La Liga. The league’s president, Javier Tebas, said the game was “being looked over” together with another in the second division that day, involving Girona and Lugo.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Italy

Fifteen people were arrested as part of a match-fixing inquiry led by anti-Mafia prosecutors in the southern town of Catanzaro. They were among the more than 50 people who were detained by police throughout Italy last month in a sweep that authorities said involves "dozens" of fixed matches in the third and fourth divisions. The judge for the preliminary investigation said the inquiry regards "two distinct" criminal organizations. Charges include criminal association aimed at sports fraud, with some linked to Mafia organizations -- in particular to the 'Ndrangheta organised crime syndicate. More than 70 people were placed under investigation in May, and authorities say that more people have been added to the list, among them players and club management officials of a Calabrian division. Prosecutors say they have uncovered a network between players, coaches, club presidents, and management members involving more than 30 clubs -- with one police officer involved. The network also had ties in Serbia, Slovenia, Malta, Turkey, and Kazakhstan, authorities said last month. Clubs allegedly involved include Pro Patria, Barletta, Brindisi, L'Aquila, Neapolis Mugnano, Torres, Vigor-Lametia, Santarcangelo, Sorrento, Montalto, Puteolana, Akragas and San Severo.

Source:"Italian police arrest 15 in match-fixing probe led by anti-Mafia prosecutors", 11 June 2015, Associated Press,https://www.espnfc.com/italian-serie-a/story/2487256/italian-police-arrest-15-in-match-fixing-probe-led-by-anti-m

Singapore

A Singaporean who was among four charged with attempting to fix a SEA Games football match between Timor Leste and Malaysia was denied bail on Wednesday. Rajendran R. Kurusamy, 55, is facing three corruption charges. Deputy Public Prosecutor Navin Naidu argued that Rajendran's charges were non-bailable offences, and there was a high risk of him absconding if released on bail. He said Rajendran had a previous conviction for match-fixing in Malaysia and had a strong propensity to commit such offences. There is a real risk that the SEA Games - which are ongoing - could still be fixed, and the danger of witnesses being tampered with, he told the court.

Source: Elena Chong, "Alleged SEA Games match-fixer remanded after court denies him bail", 10 June 2015, Straits Times,https://www.straitstimes.com/news/singapore/courts-crime/story/alleged-sea-games-match-fixer-remanded-after-court-denies-him-bail#sthash.KYFXfdw8.dpuf

Spain

LFP president Javier Tebas announced that La Liga would not be investigating Deportivo and Barcelona for match-fixing but would be investigating comments made by Lopo to Xavi, asking the Catalan captain to throw the match. In a statement made by Tebas to AS, Lopo’s comments are what is being investigated, not the game itself, which ended in a 2-2 draw that allowed Deportivo to stay in the Primera. The comment in question from Lopo was when he asked Xavi to “loosen up” a little because a draw was good for everyone. Lopo’s comments suggest that he may have tried to get the Barcelona captain to throw the match, but whether the player was joking or not will be determined by the LFP in their investigation.

Source:Tom Conn, "La Liga will investigate Lopo’s comments for match-fixing, not Barcelona and Deportivo", 11 June 2015, Inside Spanish Football,https://www.insidespanishfootball.com/157568/la-liga-will-investigate-lopos-comments-for-match-fixing-not-barcelona-and-deportivo/

Spain

The Spanish league is investigating this season’s final-day match between Real Betis and Sporting Gijón, both of whom have been promoted to La Liga. The league’s president, Javier Tebas, said the game was “being looked over” together with another in the second division that day, involving Girona and Lugo.

Tebas told the Spanish newspaper AS that “there is no concrete evidence” of wrongdoing but that the league keeps an eye on “any game where there could be rumours. In this case there have been rumours but there hasn’t been any irregularities in betting offices. In any case the only thing we are doing at this point is studying the matches.

Source:Monica Villar, "Spanish league investigates rumours over Betis-Sporting Gijón game", 12 June 2015, The Guardian,https://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/jun/12/spanish-league-investigates-real-betis-sporting-gijon

United Kingdom

Manchester United midfielder Ander Herrera is due to appear in court on Wednesday 10 June after earlier this season the Spaniard was named alongside other 41 people in match-fixing allegations in La Liga, reports in Spain claim. The game under investigation took place on the final day of the 2010-11 season when Herrera's then-side Zaragoza beat Levante 2-1 to avoid relegation – while Deportivo La Coruña went down. The Spanish prosecutor alleged that the Levante players were paid a total of €965,000 in cash to deliberately lose the game. Herrera was allegedly among one of eleven players who received money into his bank account from the Zaragoza president and later withdrew it in cash to give back to the club chief, who then passed the money to Levante. The Spaniard, however, denied all allegations in December in a statement released through his Facebook page and added his intention to co-operate with the authorities.

Source:Eduardo Fernandez-Abascal, "Manchester United star Ander Herrera to appear in court on Wednesday in La Liga match-fixing case", 9 June 2015, IB Times,
https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/manchester-united-star-ander-herrera-appear-court-wednesday-la-liga-match-fixing-case-1505160

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Belgium

Rene Collin, the Minister of Sport of the Wallonia-Brussels Federation said the recent European report on match-fixing during the 2014-2015 season raised concerns. The report mentions tree matches played in Belgium, including two played by the RAEC Mons. The minister stated before the parliamentary commission, that contact has been made with the former club owners and that they had not reported any suspicious behaviour.

The minister also mentioned that a meeting regarding match-fixing and the ratification of the Council of Europe Convention on the manipulation of sports competitions, took place and involved the Federal Justice Service (SPF), members of the football unit of the Ministry of Interior and local representatives in charge of sports.

Source:"René Collin "interpellé" par les révélations de matches truqués", 10 June 2015, Dhnet,https://www.dhnet.be/sports/football/rene-collin-interpelle-par-les-revelations-de-matches-truques-5578754035709a87ac8b51e4

Indian Premier League

According to a story published in the Hindustan Times, it is to be believed that the 12-second lag in telecasting of the Indian Premier League (IPL), is actually benefitting the bookies who are making money and are also able to manipulate the betting market. "They make their man sit inside the stadia (pitch-sider) provide ball-by-ball commentary during matches," according to an HT source in the Enforcement Directorate (ED). "As there is a lag between real-time and the telecast feed, live inputs from the ground help bookies manipulate betting patterns because by the time people place their bets, these bookies already know what has happened on the ground," the ED officer revealed. "We are also investigating how these people are getting illegal access to 'live uplink' feed of IPL matches much before it is beamed to viewers," the officer further told HT.

Source: "After match-fixing, is cricket falling prey to tech-fixing?", 9 June 2015, IBN Live,https://www.ibnlive.com/cricketnext/news/after-matchfixing-is-cricket-falling-prey-to-techfixing-547141-78.html

United Kingdom

UK licensed bookmaker Betway, continues to strengthen its corporate social responsibilities, by announcing that it has partnered with the UK Professional Players Federation (PPF), the organisational body dedicated to promoting, protecting and developing the collective interests of professional sportspeople in the UK. The tie-up will see the online bookmaker contribute to sports betting integrity educational initiatives undertaken by the PPF, which over 5,000 professional sportsmen and women benefit from each year. The support provided by Betway through the long-term agreement will help fund specially trained tutors and customised e-learning programmes to allow delivery of critical training to athletes about the dangers of match fixing.

Source: Ted Menmuir, "Betway forms partnership Professional Players Federation (PPF)", 9 June 2015, SBC,https://www.sbcnews.co.uk/sportsbook/2015/06/09/betway-forms-partnership-professional-players-federation-ppf/#ixzz3d7YCJVXd

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