Integrity In Sport Update: significant illegal betting crack-downs across S.E. Asia

Weekly Media Recap 26 January 2015 - 1 February 2015

Published 03 February 2015

Two illegal gambling networks involving South Korean nationals have been disrupted in South-East Asia. In Vietnam, members of an illegal online sports betting ring were fined and ordered to be deported while in Thailand, three online gambling dens were raided.

In another development, the Danish Football Association (DBU) has called for more resources for police investigating match-fixing, stiffer penalties for those found guilty and the establishment of a 'special court with specialised knowledge' for sports corruption cases.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

France

The investigators of the French Professional Football League (LFP) auditioned players and staff who worked for Nimes football club during last season. The hearing was conducted by Francois Jaspart et Rene Bruger and focused on the Caen-Nimes match as well as the other games allegedly fixed. The individuals auditioned included administrators of the club, Rani Assaf and Rabah Tagmi; former players, Bouby, Gragnic, Poulain, Boche, Ogounbiyi and Merville; the team’s staff, the former deputy Michel Benezet and former sports coordinator Stéphane Duprat. Former coach René Marsiglia and former president Jean-Marc Conrad will also be auditioned.

The investigative commission is due to submit its report in March.

Source: "Foot / Matches suspects : les Nîmois entendus par la Ligue", 28 January 2015, Midi Libre, https://www.midilibre.fr/2015/01/28/foot-matches-suspects-les-nimois-entendus-par-la-ligue,1117520.php,1117520.php

ILLEGAL BETTING

Singapore

Singapore’s government is set to toughen its stance on unlicensed online gambling operators, as it introduces its Remote Gambling Act on Monday 2 February. The new set of laws approved by the country’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will target online payment transactions and ISP blocks to unauthorised online gambling websites. Singapore had first outlined severe amendments to its gambling framework in October 2014, in order to monitor and police remote gambling which it viewed to be a safety threat to national consumers. The Remote Gambling Act which will be enforced next Monday, stipulates that it is a criminal offence for a person to gamble online on unauthorised websites. Furthermore operators that are deemed to offer Singapore consumers remote gambling services will face penalties and prosecutions enforced by Singapore’s criminal justice system.

Source: Ted Menmuir, "Singapore sanctions tough Remote Gambling Act", 28 January 2015, SBC, https://www.sbcnews.co.uk/sportsbook/2015/01/28/singapore-sanctions-tough-remote-gambling-act/#ixzz3QZMTO5Zy

Thailand

Thailand’s Immigration police raided three online gambling dens and arrested 13 Koreans for allegedly operating them in Muang Chiang Mai after they received a tip that the places were being used as illegal online casinos for a Korean transnational cybercrime gang. The raids led to the arrests of 13 Koreans, 12 males and a woman, and seizeure of 25 computers along with South Korean bank books with large amounts of money transactions. They found accounts and had names of football teams in Britain’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga and other countries as account names. Immigration Officials also found notebooks with betting details worth around Bt170,000. Police said the suspects arrived in Thailand early this month and paid 60,000 baht a month rent for each house. Police noted that the gang had run a gambling website which had more than 10,000 customers.

Source: "Chiang Mai Immigration Busts 13 Koreans for Online Gambling Den", 29 January 2015, Chiang Rai Times, https://www.chiangraitimes.com/chiang-mai-immigration-busts-13-koreans-for-online-gambling-den.html

Vietnam

Vietnamese police have fined 11 South Koreans who organized illegal online sports betting in Vietnam, and ordered them to be deported. According to statements made to the police, a person in South Korea had sent them to Vietnam to work for the betting ring at a salary ranging from US$1,700 to $2,800 per person per month. Despite operating in Vietnam, this ring only served foreigners, from 7 am to 7 pm every day. The betting reportedly focused on such sports as football, basketball, baseball, and horse races and the betting payments were made through the South Korean banking system. The ring allegedly operated in Vietnam to avoid detection by South Korean police. The Vietnamese police have confiscated all the equipment used in the illegal betting activities, gave administrative fines to the ring’s members, and ordered them to be deported.

Source: "11 Koreans caught organizing illegal sports betting in Vietnam ", 27 January 2015, Tuoitrenews, https://tuoitrenews.vn/society/25677/11-south-koran-caught-organizing-illegal-sports-betting-in-vietnam

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Albania

In Albania, the match between Flamaturi and Teuta raised controversies in the media. While the score was 1-1 at the 80th minute of the match, Flamaturi created dozens of opportunities to score but was unable to do so. The local mafia is suspected of fixing matches for online betting purposes.

Source: "Ils sont tellement mauvais qu'on soupçonne le match truqué", 28 January 2015, RTL.be, https://www.rtl.be/sport/football/football-etranger/ils-sont-tellement-mauvais-qu-on-soupconne-le-match-truque-video--695653.aspx

Denmark

The Danish Football Association (DBU) has called on the country's government to set up a special court and increase resources to investigators to deal with match-fixing and other forms of corruption in sport. Culture minister Marianne Jelved presented a bill to the Danish parliament last week that would criminalise corruption in sport and make the fight against match-fixing a pre-requisite for state funding. In a statement released on Monday, the DBU welcomed the proposals but said that they didn't go far enough. The governing body called for more resources for police investigating match-fixing, stiffer penalties for those found guilty and the establishment of a 'special court with specialised knowledge' for sports corruption cases. DBU chairman Jesper Moller also promised a campaign by the DBU to increase awareness of the dangers of match-fixing at all levels of Danish football.

Source: Philip O'Connor, "Danish FA wants special court to deal with sports corruption", 26 January 2015, Reuters, https://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/01/26/uk-soccer-denmark-matchfixing-idUKKBN0KZ0WZ20150126

France

French channel Canal + broadcasted a programme on corruption in football. The show included a testimony about a match played in 1991 between Spartak Moscow and Olympique Marseille. A Russian witness, Alexandre Boubnov former Spartak player, recalls being approached by Marseille representatives who were offering to give money to the Spartak striker and goalkeeper. The match was won by Marseille and never led to any sanctions. Boubnov claims he refused the offer but always had his doubts about the match.

Another section of the programme focused on the suspected manipulation of the match played between Red Star and Frejus in May 2013. The Red Star management ended up blocking the players’ phones to prevent the match-fixing.

Source: "Spartak Moscou-OM: «Enquêtes de foot» déterre une tentative de corruption", 29 January 2015, 20 minutes, https://www.20minutes.fr/sport/1528195-20150129-spartak-moscou-om-enquetes-foot-deterre-tentative-corruption

Malta

Malta FA integrity officer Franz Tabone has been speaking to club officials as part of an information-gathering exercise in relation to the FA Trophy fourth round match between Sirens and Gudja. Division Two side Sirens caused a sensation last Wednesday after hammering Division One promotion chasers Gudja United 6-0 to advance to the quarter-finals where they will meet Qormi. Although cup competitions are renowned for throwing up surprising results, the margin of Sirens' victory was inevitably greeted with incredulity in many quarters, triggering suspicions that the match may have been targeted for betting purposes. Sources have told Times of Malta that the Malta FA have not opened a formal investigation into the Sirens-Gudja match but Tabone has been sounding out people close to both clubs as part of a follow-up into the game. It is understood that Wednesday's encounter has not been earmarked for irregular betting patterns but the MFA still deemed it appropriate to seek clarifications from both clubs.

Source: "MFA making inquiries about Sirens-Gudja tie", 27 January 2015, Times of Malta, https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150127/football/MFA-making-inquiries-about-Sirens-Gudja-tie.553595

Malta

The parliamentary secretary for sport Chris Agius has called for urgent action to save the game of football from the ravages of match-fixing, as calls for a clampdown on corruption in football from the Malta Football Association have intensified. “It’s time to join forces, and not just police forces, but all those interested in the sport to save the game,” Agius said referring to Malta Football Association chief executive officer Bjorn Vassallo’s suggestion that the police should set up a unit to investigate football corruption. Agius called for a united approach to find a solution to the problem of corruption in football, saying there was a need for stricter vigilance of football clubs and their dealings. Agius also said that more had to be done to ensure the sustainability of football clubs, saying that lack of funds can lead to corruption in the game. Earlier this week, MFA CEO Bjorn Vassallo said that police could only investigate corruption in sport on an official complaint. “The problem is that not many people are going to speak up. There is a problem of omertà in Maltese football.

Source: Martina Borg, "Match-fixing problem demands united approach, says junior minister", 29 January 2015, Malta Today, https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/sports/football/48997/matchfixing_problem_demands_united_approach_says_junior_minister#.VM8ZQixJeJ9

Spain

The Spanish court, Audiencia Nacional proposed toughening sentences for match-fixing linked to betting. The recommendation was made in relation to the court’s dismissal of the case presented by Huesco a football club against Racing and Hercules for suspected match-fixing during the 2012-2013 season. The court stated it was not competent in the matter.

Source: "A.Nacional propone endurecer las penas para amaños de partidos con apuestas", 26 January 2015, EFE, https://www.lavanguardia.com/deportes/20150126/54423989445/a-nacional-propone-endurecer-las-penas-para-amanos-de-partidos-con-apuestas.html#ixzz3QYmugPth

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