INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 2-15 May 2016

published on 17 May 2016

This week the bulletin is sent today since Monday was a public holiday in France. This week we give the floor to Olivier Niggli, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel and the incoming Director General of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). He addresses a major concern for sports today, Performance Enhancing Drugs.

For the first two weeks of May, there have been concerns in the claim of doping among Russian athletes at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. In addition, there is a focus on the dismantling of a Russian criminal gang laundering money through football in Portugal. 

 

THE FLOOR TO...

Olivier NiggliMr. Olivier Niggli, Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel and Incoming Director General, World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)

The desire of certain sportsmen and women, amateurs and professionals alike, to artificially – and illegally –increase their performance through the use of Performance Enhacing Drugs (PEDs), is one of the major causes for concern in sports today. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was created in 1999 for this exact purpose. Today, WADA is a unique international body within the international sporting landscape tasked with ensuring that all athletes can participate in clean sports and on a level playing field. Although WADA has made a number of strides in the anti-doping movement, doping remains a complex subject to combat, as it touches on areas which, at first glance, seem worlds apart: medicine, sport and crime. This is the reason doping requires a holistic approach to be tackled effectively: scientific research, education and prevention programs, anti-doping policies and harmonization, etc. However, this holistic approach could not work effectively without a law enforcement perspective. Today, the sophisticated nature of doping practices, the networks of complicity behind them, and the systems which have been devised to cover up these practices, are matched only by the bewilderment that comes with each new revelation. And while doping practices may no longer come as a surprise, they remain extremely alarming. Indeed, given the interests at stake and the criminal practices of the networks involved, why can’t we see the doping of our sporting elites for what it is? Fraud. The reality impacting the sporting world also hides another alarming reality: mass consumption of performance-enhancing drugs. Indeed, doping is no longer limited to top-level athletes; and PED trafficking distributed through the internet or in amateur gyms and sport clubs constitutes a major challenge for public health.

WADA and INTERPOL share a common vision on the issue, which pushed both organizations to sign a cooperation agreement in 2009. Since then, the constant cooperation between the two bodies reflects the importance and the necessity to build bridges between the law enforcement and sporting worlds. Recently, in association with the WADA Independent Commission -which brought the allegations of corruption within the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)- INTERPOL’s Anti-Doping unit facilitated the opening of inquiries, and is now coordinating the international dimension of the operation. In addition, WADA is supporting INTERPOL’s recent initiative: the ENERGIA Project. In association with the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), Project ENERGIA supports Law Enforcement agencies with criminal intelligence analysis on illegal PED markets - including modus operandi, criminal trends, and major trafficking routes. During my visit to the INTERPOL General Secretariat in Lyon, France in March 2016, I could see how close our collaboration really is, and how essential it is for the future of clean sport. In keeping with the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code, WADA is enhancing its investigation & intelligence capacity; and it encourages the entire anti-doping community to do so as well.

Doping is a serious challenge for sports integrity. Fortunately, both WADA and INTERPOL share the same objective: protect clean sport to reassure athletes of our full commitment to tackling cheaters and traffickers.

 

INVESTIGATIONS

France

French financial prosecutors have confirmed that they are investigating allegations of “corruption and money laundering” involving more than $2m in suspicious payments apparently made by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid to a secret bank account linked to the son of disgraced former world athletics chief Lamine Diack. The Guardian revealed on Wednesday that payments totaling at least $1.5m had apparently been made to the Black Tidings company that was at the centre of other allegations of extortion and bribery linked to the International Association of Athletics Federations. Now, French prosecutors have confirmed that they are investigating payments totaling 2.8m Singapore dollars that were made under the title “Tokyo 2020 Olympic Game bid” either side of Tokyo’s successful bid to host the Games in September 2013. The French financial prosecutor said that it was informed about the payments, made from a Japanese bank account to Black Tidings in July and October 2013, in December last year as it investigated allegations against the IAAF that led to Lamine Diack’s arrest and accusations he had received more than €1m in return for covering up failed drug tests.

Source: Owen Gibson, "French financial prosecutors confirm investigation into Tokyo 2020 bid ", 12 May 2016, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/may/12/french-financial-prosecutors-confirm-investigation-into-tokyo-2020-bid-olympics-black-tidings

Portugal

European and Portuguese police say they have dismantled a mainly Russian criminal gang laundering money through football in Portugal. EU law enforcement agency EUROPOL said the gang purchased football clubs and then used them as a front for an opaque network of holding companies. It said four major football clubs were searched along with houses and offices, resulting in three "key" arrests. Third division club Uniao de Leiria was among those raided. Leiria's owner Alexander Tolstikov has been detained, along with two other club officials, Portuguese media report. They are all due to appear in court on Thursday morning. Uniao de Leiria was a top-flight club, at one point managed by Jose Mourinho, but it fell out of the Primera Liga in 2012 and dropped to the third division before going bankrupt and being bought by Mr Tolstikov in 2015. It is currently fighting for promotion to the second division.

Source: AP, "Portugal police raid 'Russian football gang'", 4 May 2016, BBC, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36203418

Spain

The Spanish league is investigating match-fixing involving a game between Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad. League president Javier Tebas told Spanish radio Cadena SER on Friday that the league is investigating Rayo's 2-1 loss at Sociedad on Sunday. Tebas said the league decided to launch a probe after it noticed "abnormal" movements in the betting market for the match and heard "rumors of an argument between players at halftime." Rayo's players, coach and president denied there was any wrongdoing. "This isn't good for us or the club or the league," Rayo captain Roberto Trashorras said. "I don't know who wants to hurt Rayo, but these are very strong allegations. These things have to be proven." The loss left Rayo in the relegation zone with one match left. Rayo must beat already relegated Levante on Sunday and hope for favorable results in other matches to stay in the first division. Sociedad was in the middle of the table before the match and not in the relegation fight.

Source: Associated Press, "Spanish league says it is investigating match-fixing", 13 May 2016, Boston Herald, https://www.bostonherald.com/sports/soccer/2016/05/spanish_league_says_it_is_investigating_match_fixing

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Switzerland

ZURICH (AP) — FIFA ethics judges have imposed life bans on two South American football officials who have pleaded guilty in the United States to corruption charges. The FIFA Ethics Committee judging chamber says it found Luis Bedoya, a former FIFA Executive Committee member from Colombia, and Sergio Jadue of Chile guilty of wrongdoing including bribery and conflicts of interest. Bedoya and Jadue were national soccer federation presidents when they waived indictment last November on charges of racketeering and wire fraud conspiracies. They took million-dollar bribes linked to marketing rights for the Copa America and Copa Libertadores tournaments. FIFA's ethics committee says the case "related to two schemes by means of which they asked for and received bribes from sports marketing companies." Bedoya and Jadue await sentence from a federal court in Brooklyn.

Source: AP, "FIFA gives lifetime bans to two South American officials for bribery", 6 May 2016, AP, https://www.bigstory.ap.org/article/f3fbc570bcfe4df6bdd797ddc0ffcb00/fifa-life-bans-2-south-american-officials-bribery

 

LEGISLATION

India

BCCI secretary Anurag Thakur, who is also a Lok Sabha MP, has introduced the ‘National Sports Ethics Commission’ bill which recommends a 10-year jail term for sports persons found indulging in match-fixing. It is a significant step considering the BCCI has been rocked by quite a few match-fixing scandals, the latest being the one that surfaced in the 2013 IPL. The scandal led to the arrest of three cricketers, including former India pacer S Sreesanth. “As such there is no law to curb match-fixing. It is absolutely mandatory to have a law that can combat the menace,” said Thakur. The bill seeks “to establish a national sports ethics body to ensure ethical practices in sports, as well as measures towards the elimination of doping practices, match-fixing, age fraud, gender and sexual harassment in sports.” The draft bill further states: “This comes as an aftermath of the recent corruption and match-fixing charges in Indian cricket and other sports. The players are currently charged under the inappropriate sections of Dishonesty and Cheating under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) as well as the Prevention of Corruption Act. But the sports persons often get away because these laws don’t apply to sports.” The bill, if passed, will impose a life ban on the offender, apart from a 10-year jail term. Besides, the bill advocates a fine of five times the bribe amount in the cases of match-fixing. For frauds concerning age and gender, a jail time of six months and a fine of Rs 1 lakh are recommended. Besides the players, the penalties will be applicable to the coaches and members of the sports federations found involved in such frauds.

Source: TI, "Thakur proposes 10-year jail term for match-fixers", 2 May 2016, Tribune India, https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/sport/thakur-proposes-10-year-jail-term-for-match-fixers/230896.html

Ireland

Advances in modern technology means it's never been easier to gamble and nowadays you can bet on almost anything, including organised school and juvenile competitions. Ireland's outdated gambling legislation means that bookmakers are operating within the law to have markets on the said competitions. An inter-county Gaelic footballer has admitted betting against his own team in a National League game after being gripped by a crippling gambling addiction when he was a teenager. The player, who wishes to remain anonymous, was on the bench for the game in question and described to RTÉ Radio 1's Morning Ireland how he felt enormous shame after backing his team to lose. It turned out to be a turning point for the player as it prompted him to address his addiction, and he is now desperate to highlight a problem he believes is endemic in the GAA.

Source: Darren Frehill, "Call for new legislation to regulate gambling on school and juvenile games", 12 May 2016, RTE Sport,  https://www.rte.ie/sport/gaa/2016/0512/787897-inter-county-player-admits-betting-against-own-tea/

 

BETTING

World

Neither governments nor the sports industry are doing nearly enough to combat and reduce match-fixing and illegal betting according to a comprehensive new report released by the 34-nation Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The survey, compiled over many months by the OECD’s Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade but only recently made public, says sports organisations should be mandated to establish integrity committees “with real authority” to aid the fight against criminal gangs. The report, which covers illicit trading across the entire global economy, paints a worrying picture of the scale of the problem and includes a specific 20-page section on sports manipulation as an economic crime, calling for a coordinated global approach.

Source: Andrew Warshaw, "OECD survey finds football riddled with match-fixing and little being done", 11 May 2016, Inside World Football,  https://www.insideworldfootball.com/2016/05/11/oecd-survey-finds-football-riddled-match-fixing-little-done/

 

DOPING

Canada

As Team Canada prepares for the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Summer Games in Rio, athletes are benefiting like never before from expanded education and testing services offered through the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP). Introduced on January 1, 2015, the revised CADP meets the more stringent requirements of the 2015 World Anti-Doping Code. The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) is responsible for implementing the Code in Canada on behalf of the Canadian sport community. “Our anti-doping program is more sophisticated and more comprehensive than it’s ever been,” said Paul Melia, President and CEO of the CCES. “With the completion of the first phase of implementation of the CADP, I’m pleased to report that we conducted a record number of doping control tests, and efforts to educate Canadian athletes and their support personnel have never been more extensive..."

Source: Associated Press, "Canadian athletes benefiting from stronger Anti-Doping Program", 12 May 2016, Law in Sport, https://www.lawinsport.com/sports-law-news/item/canadian-athletes-benefiting-from-stronger-anti-doping-program

Russia

The Russian authorities are "concerned" by new claims of doping among Russian athletes at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, an adviser to Russia's sports minister says. But Natalia Zhelanova added that whistleblower Vitaly Stepanov had "no connection to anti-doping activity". Mr Stepanov, a former Russian anti-doping agency worker, made the claims on CBS network's 60 Minutes programme. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) pledged to act "immediately". Mr Stepanov also alleged that undercover Russian intelligence agents had posed as anti-doping staff to cover up cheating at the Sochi Olympics. He said he had been told of a cover-up by Grigory Rodchenkov, the former head of Moscow's anti-doping laboratory. Reacting to the allegations, Ms Zhelanova told R-Sport website: "Of course, we are concerned by Mr Stepanov's statements but he has no connection to anti-doping activity." "I would like to state that no-one has heard this from Mr Rodchenkov himself," she added. Mr Rodchenkov was not interviewed by the CBS programme, which aired on Sunday. However, Wada said it would now seek access to journalists' recordings of conversations.

Source: BBC, "Russia 'concerned' by Sochi Olympics doping claim", 11 May 2016, BBC, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36263598

 

GOOD PRACTICES

Australia

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Tennis Australia are to beef up their integrity unit to fight corruption in the sport after their showcase tournament was blighted earlier this year by allegations of global inaction to combat it.

The Australian Open, the year's first grand slam tournament, was rocked on its opening day by reports the sport's global watchdog, the Tennis Integrity Unit, had done little to combat or properly investigate wide-spread match-fixing.

Tennis officials, who rejected the reports, later announced they would review their anti-corruption practices, while past and present players urged more money be pumped into their fight against corruption.

Tennis Australia said on Thursday their current Risk and Compliance manager Ann West would be named as the Head of Integrity and Compliance and would have two new staff members join her.

One, preferably from a law enforcement background, would take on an investigative role, while another would have expertise in compliance issues, the organization said.

A Tennis Australia spokeswoman said their anti-corruption efforts had been previously undertaken by a group of departments but it would now fall to West's team.

"There has been much criticism of sporting organizations across the globe recently for a lack of transparency in matters of corruption, anti-doping and member protection," West said in a statement.

"The importance of taking an integrated and coordinated approach, and my plan is to have an emphasis on education, is critical to tackling this issue and will be the focus of my new role."

Allegations of corruption in the sport were not helped by Australian former professional player Nick Lindahl pleading guilty to match-fixing charges relating to a game in 2013 during the grand slam tournament at Melbourne Park.

Police alleged that Lindahl had told two people he was going to "tank" a match at a low level Futures tournament in Queensland, enabling them to make bets on the outcome. He did not benefit directly.

Lindahl avoided a jail term when he was sentenced last month and instead was ordered to pay a A$1,000 ($748.50) fine. (Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by John O'Brien)

Source: Greg Stutchbur, "Australia integrity unit beefed up after corruption claims", 5 May 2016, Reuters, https://ca.sports.yahoo.com/news/australia-integrity-unit-beefed-corruption-claims-044551622--ten.html

World

The World Olympians Association (WOA) welcomes the decision from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to establish an International Sport Integrity Partnership and supports any action which protects athletes and the rights of people everywhere to enjoy the positive social benefits of sport free from corruption. The International Sport Integrity Partnership will bring together members of the Olympic Movement and wider sporting family to enhance transparency and encourage a global culture of good governance. It was announced at the conclusion of an anti-corruption summit hosted by UK Prime Minister David Cameron in London this week. As the member organisation for Olympians worldwide, the WOA has a responsibility to ensure Olympians are given a voice and hopes that athletes both past and present will be at the heart of discussions into the formation of the new body, which is due to be launched by the IOC at a meeting of the International Forum for Sport Integrity in Lausanne in early 2017. WOA President Joël Bouzou said: “We applaud the actions of the IOC and the leadership it has shown in its decision to establish an International Sport Integrity Partnership. It is vital that the global sporting community fights for integrity in sport and organisations are encouraged to achieve the highest standards of governance and anti-corruption practices." “In order to safeguard the autonomy of sport and spread the spirit of Olympism upon which the Olympic Movement was founded, corrupt practices must be stamped out. Organisations have a responsibility to ensure they are governed fairly and ethically so that athletes may have the opportunity to compete on a level playing field and the rights of clean athletes are protected.” “Sport’s traditional values of fair play, respect, solidarity and team work enrich our communities and our cultures and guide us in our daily life. By standing up to corruption now we are giving sport its best possible chance to flourish and make a positive difference in this world in the future.

Source: Robert Fawdon, "WOA backs call for an International Sport Integrity Partnership", 14 May 2016, Around the Rings, https://aroundtherings.com/site/A__55781/Title__WOA-backs-call-for-an-International-Sport-Integrity-Partnership/292/Articles

 


INTEGRITY IN SPORT EVENTS

Brazil

30-31 May in Rio de Janeiro - National Workshop "15th INTERPOL Global Programme on Anti-Corruption, Financial Crimes, and Asset Recovery: Combating Crimes in Sport" in cooperation with the International Olympic Committee and the Brazilian Federal Police

2-3 June in Rio de Janeiro - INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Training for Law Enforcement: "How to investigate Match-fixing and illegal betting", in cooperation with the International Olympic Committee and the Brazilian Federal Police

Netherlands

20-21 June 2016 the first "Keep Crime Out of Sport" (KCOOS) Project Regional Seminar will take place in The Hague in which the main actors from Belgium, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland and Monaco will be invited. This seminar, organised by the Council of Europe, will address the needs for legislation, transposition, and law enforcement challenges. For more information, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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