In Europe, seven French tennis players were detained and questioned by the French police under suspicions of match-fixing, with a total of 137 players under suspicion in the Belgian-led investigation. In Asia, the former interim chairman of Indonesia’s football association was detained by the Indonesian police for allegedly being involved in match-fixing. In Oceania, Australian operator Sportsbet was fined with AUS $10,000 from New South Wales’ authorities after being convicted of displaying illicit gambling advertisements on its website.
In terms of sanctions, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) banned a Danish top-10 player for 18 months for failing to disclose approaches to fix two of his matches and not cooperating fully with an investigation. The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) suspended and fined a Swedish tennis player after admitting to betting on his sport. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) gave a lifetime ban to the former head of Ecuador’s football federation after finding him guilty of taking bribes. FIFA has also banned for life a Togolese referee and football official for accepting bribes. In Ghana, FIFA set up a task force to create mechanisms to combat corruption in football.
Kosovo has banned gambling for 10 years in an effort to act against organized crime after a series of armed robberies in which two casino workers were killed.
With regards to doping, France has issued arrest warrants for the former head of Russian athletics and the former Russian national team coach, both banned from athletics for life in 2016 after the state-sponsored Russian doping was uncovered.
In Indonesia, prosecutors named the Youth and Sports Minister on a list of alleged recipients of bribes from the National Sports Committee (KONI). In Italy, the president of Rome’s city council has been arrested for allegedly accepting bribes in relation to Roma’s plans to build a new stadium. In the United States, a judge fined two sports marketing companies with $500,000 each for their involvement in bribing top international soccer officials in exchange for commercial rights to major tournaments.
The head of the Japanese Olympic Committee announced to resign in June 2019 following a corruption investigation linked to Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games. The Qatari president of Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) was heard as part of an investigation into suspected corruption on the side-lines of the Doha bid for the World Athletics Championships.
Further evidence of corruption in the Rio 2016 boxing tournament emerged as a recording of a phone conversation between a judge requesting $250,000 from a Mongolian official to qualify for the final was made available. In the meantime, International Boxing Federation (AIBA) informed the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that swift progress is being made to clean up the sport. The AIBA president, who is accused of being one of Uzbekistan’s “leading criminals” with “links to the heroin trade” by the US Treasury, has offered to step down from his current position. An AIBA executive committee member made an offer of $16 million to clear the organization’s debt if the IOC keeps the sport in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Finally, the Spanish gambling regulatory authority has released a new awareness campaign, warning national stakeholders of preventing under-age-gambling and potential sports corruption.
We are pleased to welcome you to our new Corruption in sport webpages at the following link: https://www.interpol.int/Crimes/Corruption/Corruption-in-sport
We welcome submissions on best practices, major developments, new trends and relevant articles for publication in the bulletin.
The next bi-weekly bulletin will be circulated on Monday, 15 April 2019.
Net Widens in Tennis Match-Fixing Racket Probe, 137 Players Under Suspicion
Seven French tennis players were detained by French police this week under suspicion of throwing games at the behest of a match-fixing mastermind, known to players as “The Maestro.”
The Maestro is Armenian Grigor Sargsyan who was arrested by Belgian police late June and remains in custody. He is accused of fronting a massive gambling syndicate that targeted players in the lower echelons of professional tennis and convinced dozens to fix hundreds of games for cash.
French sports daily L’Equipe reports that the seven players detained and questioned this week brings the total from the country to 17. While the seven have not been identified, authorities said five had admitted accepting money from the syndicate to throw matches. One said he had fixed over 20, receiving around $34,000 in return.
Belgian police, who are leading the investigation, have said they now suspect 137 players from more than half a dozen countries, including the US, after pouring over phone records linked to the Maestro, and have requested assistance from the FBI.
The scheme was organized via encrypted messaging and players are believed to have been paid between $570 and $3,400 to throw matches. Sargsyan employed hundreds of betting “mules,” hired for just a few dollars, who would place bets at relatively small stakes to avoid the detection of gambling watchdogs.
A 2018 report by the Independent Review Panel of the Tennis Integrity Unit into the problem said the sport had been “engulfed by a tsunami of corruption” at the lower levels of the game due to poor prize money in the Futures circuits. The International Tennis Federation said half of the 14,000 players trying to make a living from the game barely break even.
None of the players arrested so far have played at the top level of the game. The highest ranked singles player of those whose identities are known is Jerome Inzerillo, who reached 354 in the world in 2012.
Inzerillo was interviewed by L’Equipe this week in the presence of his lawyer and denied having ever been approached to fix a match. Players said the Maestro was a regular fixture at tennis tournaments, where he would work to recruit more players into his operation. They described him as friendly and non-threatening. He faces organized crime, match-fixing, money laundering and forgery charges.
Source: Philip Conneller, 23 March 2019, Casino.org
Indonesian police detain ex-top football official for alleged match fixing
JAKARTA, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Indonesian national police on Monday detained former interim chairman of the country's football association Joko Driyono for alleged involvement in match fixing. The police started to investigate the scandal in December based on a preliminary report from the team manager of the country's football club. "For now, an investigation is being carried out. And it has been conducted a detention today," said Brigadier General Hendro Pandowo, head of task force for football of the national police on Monday. The scandal occurred just before the start of country's top tier professional football league, according to the police. Based on the preliminary results of investigation, the police revealed that the match fixing scores were set for the third-tie league, and that the second and first tie leagues were also targeted. So far, a total of 15 people have been declared suspects in the scandal.
Source: Source: Xinhua, 25 March 2019, Xinhuanet
Danish badminton player Persson banned over match-fixing
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Former top-10 player Joachim Persson of Denmark was banned for 18 months by the Badminton World Federation on Thursday in regard to match-fixing. Persson was found guilty by an ethics panel of failing in a timely fashion to disclose approaches to fix two of his matches, and not cooperating fully with an investigation. The BWF was tipped off in late 2016 that Persson, who rose to a career-best world ranking of 6 more than a decade ago, was betting on badminton matches. He admitted to betting on matches for about 13 years to 2016 but followed BWF rules. He was found guilty of failing immediately to report an approach in 2015 to lose the first set to an opponent but still win the match, and for failing to report an approach by another opponent to manipulate their match. Persson failed to identify him to investigators, and investigators said there was no evidence any match was manipulated. The 35-year-old Persson also failed to provide full banking records from 2013-17. He was also ordered to pay costs of $4,500.
Source: AP, 21 March 2019, Fox Sports
FIFA bans former Ecuador football chief for life
Zurich: FIFA on Thursday slapped a lifetime ban on the disgraced former head of Ecuador's football federation, Luis Chiriboga, after finding him guilty of taking bribes. Chiriboga was one of the executives arrested in 2015 amid a massive US-led crackdown on corruption in world football. FIFA's independent ethics committee investigated him over "schemes in which he received bribes in exchange for his role in awarding contracts to companies for the media and marketing rights to various football tournaments," it said in a statement. After finding him guilty, FIFA's ethics judges banned Chiriboga from all football-related activities for life and fined him 1 million Swiss francs ($1 million, 887,000 euros). Prosecutors in Ecuador have already convicted Chiriboga of money laundering. Ecuador has rejected requests by American prosecutors for Chiriboga to stand trial in the United States, because the country does not extradite its own citizens. Chiriboga led Ecuador's football federation for 18 years before his arrest.
Source: AFP, 21 March 2019, The Peninsul Qatar
David Norfeldt suspended and fined for betting on tennis
20-year old Swedish player with a career-high ranking of 1501 sanctioned with a four month suspension and $3,000 fine after admitting to betting breaches
Swedish tennis player David Norfeldt has been suspended and fined after admitting to betting on tennis, a breach of the sport’s Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP).
The 20-year old admitted to placing 195 bets between April 2016 and January 2017. None of the wagers involved matches he played in and there were no other breaches of integrity rules associated with the offence.
In a ruling by independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Ian Mill QC, Mr Norfeldt was suspended for eight (8) months and fined $6,000. Four (4) months of the ban and $3,000 of the fine are suspended provided the player commits no further breaches of the TACP.
This means that with effect from 14 March 2019, Mr Norfeldt cannot compete in, or attend, any tournament or event organised or sanctioned by the governing bodies of the sport. Assuming no further offences are committed, he will be eligible to resume playing tennis from 13 July 2019.
The relevant section of the TACP which relates to betting offences is:
D.1.a: No Covered Person shall, directly or indirectly, wager or attempt to wager on the outcome or any other aspect of any Event or any other tennis competition.
Mr Norfeldt has a career-high singles ranking of 1501 ATP, achieved in October 2017.
The Tennis Integrity Unit is an initiative of the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation, the ATP and the WTA, who are jointly committed to a zero tolerance approach to corruption in tennis.
Source: 19 March 2019, Tennis Integrity Unit
FIFA Bans Togolese Referee For Life Over Corruption Charges
FIFA has banned for life Togolese referee and football official Kokou Fagla after finding him guilty of corruption. Football’s world governing body ruled he accepted bribes to manipulate an unspecified international friendly. The findings came from FIFA’s investigation into various international matches that convicted match-fixer Wilson Perumal tried to manipulate for betting purposes. Fagla has been “banned for life from all football-related activities at both national and international level.” a three-thousand- dollar fine has also been slapped on him.
Source: 22 March 2019, ANN Africa
France and Russia
France issues arrest warrants in Russian doping probe
France has issued arrest warrants for two former Russian athletics officials as part of an investigation into a doping cover-up. Valentin Balakhnichev is a former head of Russian athletics and Alexei Melnikov an ex-Russian national team coach. Both were banned from athletics for life in 2016 after widespread, state-sponsored Russian doping was uncovered. Mr Balakhnichev said he believed the arrest warrant to be baseless. The investigation started in November 2015 when the former International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) chief, Senagalese businessman Lamine Diack, was charged with accepting millions of dollars to cover up doping by Russian athletes. In 2017, a warrant was also issued for his son, Papa Massata Diack, accused of involvement in a corruption scheme in international sports. Sheltering in Senegal, he has been on Interpol's most wanted list for four years and denies the allegations. The investigation is French-led as funds are believed to have been laundered in France. Russia was suspended from the IAAF in 2015 after the doping scandal was uncovered but some Russians have been permitted to compete under a neutral flag if they can prove they have not been involved in doping.
Source: 19 March 2019, BBC News
Badminton World Federation (BWF); Special Olympics International (SOI)
BWF and Special Olympics Launch Long-Term Partnership
18 March 2019 - Today, the Badminton World Federation (BWF) and Special Olympics International (SOI) signed a landmark Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to increase the growth, quality and frequency of badminton participation around the world. The shared aim is to ensure that all Special Olympics badminton players realise the positive mental, physical and social health benefits of sport. [...]
Source: 19 March 2019, Badminton World Federation
Spain’s DGOJ launches new civic campaign on protection & integrity
Spanish gambling regulatory authority – la Dirección General de Ordenación del Juego (DGOJ) has released its new civic awareness campaign, warning national stakeholders of preventing under-age-gambling and potential sports corruption. The DGOJ campaign has been launched in partnership with Spain’s federal police force and "Central Citizen Unit". Titled "Con el Deporte no se juega" – "We don’t play with sports", the DGOJ warns Spanish leisure and commercial premises/establishments of carrying appropriate under-age checks and further duties. At an integrity level, the DGOJ in-collaboration with Spain’s police force has published new information manuals for amateur (semi-pro) sports clubs informing stakeholders on monitoring potential sports corruption and maintaining athlete integrity. The DGOJ and Police manuals will be distributed by the Central Citizen Unit to all concerned/related organisations operating across Spain’s seventeen autonomous communities. The campaign has received the approval of La Liga, with President Javier Tebas stating that the league would help in distributing information across its football network. The DGOJ details that the campaign marks a new directive for the authority collaborating with national organisations for the "common good of limiting gambling harm and maintain the integrity of all sports".
Source: Ted Menmuir, 1 April 2019, SBC News
ODDS AND ENDS
FIFA Task Force set up deal with corruption in Ghana football
A FIFA Task Force on Ghana football has been formed by the world football governing body to create various mechanisms to deal with corruption and related matters. The creation and establishment of the task force was part of the things that came out of the meeting between the Government of Ghana and FIFA in August 2018. The meeting was part of government’s approach in dealing with the various revelations from the “Number 12” documentary. The task force will have as members: Dr. Kofi Amoah, Deputy Attorney-General, Godfred Dame, and two consultants nominated by FIFA; Jean-Samuel Leuba and Peter Lemaca both of UEFA. The setting up of the task force was announced at a press briefing put together by the Normalisation Committee on Friday. At the briefing, FIFA Senior Development Officer for FIFA, Solomon Mudege, explained what the task force would be doing in relation to the reformation of Ghana football. “The task force seeks to establish or create proper disciplinary governance and auditing mechanisms as well as ensure that all persons found culpable from investigations are punished in accordance with Ghanaian law as well as FIFA Statutes. The mandate of the task force represents FIFA’s commitment to working with the Ghanaian government in looking at the issues affecting the administration and development of football in Ghana.” Deputy Attorney-General, Godfred Dame, went on to state that the task force would do its best to create several mechanisms such sports tribunals to deal with infractions in football and bring wrongdoers to book according to Ghanaian law. Deputy Sports Minister, Perry Okudzeto, who was also at the briefing, called for the support of the people of Ghana during the period of reforming Ghana football to ensure that the work of the task force and the Normalisation Committee would be successful.
Source: 22 March 2019, GhanaWeb
International Boxing Association (AIBA)
Further claims of corruption made against AIBA from Rio Olympics
As the international boxing association (AIBA) continues to struggle with controversy and convincing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of its place in the Tokyo Games in 2020, French newspaper Le Monde has claimed further evidence of corruption in the Rio 2016 boxing tournament. The AIBA’s governance, financial management and integrity of its competitions are among the concerns currently being assessed by the IOC and depending on the outcome could lead to the IOC stripping AIBA of the right to organise the Olympic boxing tournament at Tokyo. Le Monde and Bulgarian newspaper Bulgaria Today say they received evidence of corruption in a recording of a phone conversation between a judge and a member of the Mongolian team staff. The papers allege that in the conversation a judge told the Mongolian official it would require $250,000 (€220,000) if they wanted their fighter to qualify for the final. According to the Le Monde source, money was not paid over. The Mongolian boxer lost his semifinal the following day after a close fight. Irish Bantamweight world champion Michael Conlan was involved in one of the most controversial contests in Rio. Having appeared to dominate a quarter-final against Vladimir Nikitin, the bout was given to the Russian, who was subsequently unable to take part in his semifinal due to the injuries inflicted by Conlan. Last year The Irish Times reported that in an official three page report from Irish boxing team manager Joe Hennigan, Irish management were informed during the boxing competition that fights at the games had been fixed. It further claimed that the medal hopes of Conlan, were “gone” before he stepped into the ring. Coach Zaur Antia, a native Georgian, who can speak Russian was, said Hennigan, told by one of the Russian coaches that Conlan’s medal and others had already been decided. The Russian coach in question has not been named in the report. All 36 referees and judges used at the Rio Games were sidelined during the AIBA investigation.
Source: Johnny Watterson, 28 March 2019, Irish Times
International Boxing Association (AIBA); International Olympic Committee (IOC)
Russian official offers $16M in exchange for keeping boxing in the Olympics
Boxing is in danger of being dropped from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic slate after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) opened an inquiry into the embattled governing body late last year. The inquiry into the International Boxing Association (AIBA) came after its members went against IOC warnings and elected a man accused of trafficking heroin. Though that’s far from the only issue the organization needs to address, including its finances. Umar Kremlev, an AIBA executive committee member, made the offer of $16 million to clear the organization’s debts if the IOC keeps the sport in the next Olympics under the AIBA umbrella.
The issues with the AIBA are long-ranging and include leaders with connections to crime organizations, controversial judging decisions and overall corruption. Gafur Rakhimov was elected in November 2018 as the AIBA president despite the IOC’s warnings against it. The U.S. Treasury Department alleges he is a member of the Brother’s Circle, an organized crime group the department believes is involved in international heroin smuggling, according to Forbes.The department barred U.S. citizens and companies from doing business with him, per the AP. Nothing is proven and Rakhimov has denied all allegations, which forced him to miss the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2012 London Olympics. He said last week he would step down amid the investigation, according to reports, but did not resign from the post. The IOC will deliver its final report May 22 into the organization. It can decide to drop the sport from the Tokyo schedule or develop a plan for tournaments and qualifying events without involvement by AIBA. In June, the IOC can vote to de-recognize AIBA. AIBA put forth plans detailing how it would improve management, finances and fight judges as it attempts to avoid any sanctions and get answers for its boxers. The sport has been a pivotal part of the Games since 1904. Losing it would also hurt TV ratings, Forbes speculates.
The issues stem back to some embarrassments at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where all 36 judges and referees were suspended by AIBA. The two main cases, detailed by Forbes, involve Russians winning controversial decisions. Ireland’s Michael Conlan lost a controversial decision to Russian Vladimir Nikitin and gave judges the middle finger before ranting about corruption. The Irish team boxing manager claimed in a three-page report reviewed by The Irish Times last March that the match was fixed and Conlan’s chances “gone” before he stepped into the ring. Evgeny Tishchenko won the heavyweight gold even though Kazakh boxer Vasily Levit was considered the winner by observers. Tishchenko suffered a cut on his head and fought from his back foot for most of the bout. His coach even suggested in post-match comments that the Russian should not have won. Scandals over judging came up again at the Asian Games in September, per Forbes, and two North Korean coaches were removed from the arena by police when they protested decisions.
An AIBA interim audit report released Wednesday showed the organization went from losing $2 million a year to a “positive cash flow.” Yet it still has debts of $16 million and, per the report, is “dependent on the Olympic dollars in order to secure its future.” De-recognizing the organization would pull that funding indefinitely. AIBA announced it intends to lower operating expenses by 50 percent and create positive equity by 2024. It alleged it could only do that if the sport were a part of the games, per Reuters. Kremlev, an AIBA executive committee member and secretary general of the Russian boxing federation, wants to make a deal. “I am ready to close all the debts of AIBA in full, so long as our favorite sport remains in the Olympic program,” Kremlev wrote, according to the statement given to The Associated Press. Kremlev did not say where the money would come from, per the report. AIBA executive director Tom Virgets told insidethegames he was “sincerely grateful” for the offer, but did not solicit it. "We are very blessed to have a member in our AIBA family with such philanthropic heart," Virgets said.
Source: Cassandra Negley, 29 March 2019, Yahoo! Sports
INTEGRITY IN SPORT EVENTS
FIFA, Concacaf, CONMEBOL and the Chilean Football Association
FIFA, member associations and confederations participate in second Regional Integrity Workshop for France 2019
Six member associations and two confederations take part in interactive workshop
Workshop serves as a standard measure to educate member associations and protect the integrity of FIFA’s competitions
Third and final Regional Integrity Workshop to be co-hosted by the Spanish Football Association in March 2019
This week, participants from six member associations and two confederations attended the second Regional Integrity Workshop for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, providing an opportunity to educate integrity officers from across the Americas about integrity measures that will be put in place by FIFA ahead of this summer’s tournament.
In order to safeguard the integrity of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 and in line with the standard procedures and measures in place for other FIFA competitions, FIFA will implement several measures during the competition, including integrity briefings with the appointed referees, a monitoring and control centre on-site throughout the competition, as well as the monitoring of betting markets and in-game action and incidents during all matches played throughout the tournament.
Co-hosted by FIFA and Concacaf in Miami, USA, the Regional Integrity Workshop was led by representatives from Concacaf, CONMEBOL and FIFA and followed on from the first Regional Integrity Workshop that was co-hosted by FIFA and CAF in February 2019.
The workshop included several interactive activities and presentations by member associations and confederations who were present – including presentations by the integrity officers of Concacaf, CONMEBOL and the Chilean Football Association – as well as group discussions and practical exercises that aimed to educate on and prevent situations which might jeopardise the integrity of the game from occurring, such as match manipulation and corruption.
“The second Regional Integrity Workshop ahead of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ provided FIFA with the opportunity to work closely with Concacaf, CONMEBOL and the participating member associations from their regions. One of our key objectives was to share with them the integrity measures, applicable regulations and reporting mechanisms in place aimed at protecting the tournament,” said Vincent Ven, FIFA Head of Integrity.
“We, football administrators and the governing bodies to which we belong, have a responsibility to protect and preserve the integrity of the game. These workshops provide powerful tools to safeguard football and an opportunity to enhance cooperation between Concacaf, our member associations, FIFA and other confederations,” said Concacaf General Secretary Philippe Moggio.
“It is always important to conduct workshops in order to promote integrity in football and show that we share the common goal of ensuring that our players, referees and football stakeholders act with integrity and are aware of our mission to safeguard fair play. I thank FIFA for this opportunity to take part in these workshops and share knowledge and expertise with professionals from other confederations and associations. Lastly, I wish to reiterate CONMEBOL’s work towards and commitment to promoting integrity in football in South America and worldwide,” added CONMEBOL’s Integrity Officer Julio Lansac.
Source: 19 March 2019, FIFA.com Football
FIFA, UEFA, Spanish Football Association (RFEF)
FIFA, qualified member associations, UEFA participate in final Regional Integrity Workshop ahead of France 2019
Nine participating member associations and UEFA took part in interactive workshop
Twenty-four member associations have taken part in three Regional Integrity Workshops co-organised by FIFA
Workshops were designed to inform member associations about measures to protect the integrity of FIFA’s competitions
This week, nine member associations and UEFA took part in the third and final Regional Integrity Workshop for the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™, providing an important opportunity to inform integrity officers from Europe about integrity measures that will be put in place by FIFA ahead of this summer’s tournament.
Co-hosted by FIFA and the Spanish Football Association (RFEF), the workshop included a range of interactive activities, individual and group exercises, and case studies – including presentations by UEFA and the French Football Association – that aimed to prevent any method that might jeopardise the integrity of the game from occurring, such as match manipulation and corruption.
The workshop is the third in a series of Regional Integrity Workshops delivered by the FIFA Integrity Department, which provided participants from European member associations and UEFA with a platform to share expert knowledge on football matches and competition protection initiatives.
For more information on the first two Regional Integrity Workshops co-hosted by FIFA alongside CAF and Concacaf, please click here and here.
“This third workshop concluded our series of Regional Integrity Workshops for all the integrity officers of the participating member associations of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019. All three workshops were a great success and will definitely help to protect the integrity of the competition,” said Vincent Ven, FIFA Head of Integrity.
“Cooperation between football associations is just as important as individual action. The saying "together we are stronger" is of particular importance when the protection of football is concerned. Thanks to FIFA, nine member associations have been working together on integrity matters at the Spanish Football Association headquarters. This is not only a seminar, it is also helping to protect the integrity of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, and is a practical example of the determination of football governing bodies to keep football clean and free from any unlawful interferences.” added Alfredo Lorenzo Mena, RFEF’s Integrity Officer.
“UEFA is pleased to offer its support and share its expertise as part of the implementation of a comprehensive and collaborative integrity programme on the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” added Angelo Rigopoulos, UEFA Managing Director of Integrity & Regulatory.
Source: 19 March 2019, FIFA.com Football
Ten-year ban on gambling as Kosovo fights crime gangs
Kosovo has banned gambling for ten years in an effort to act against organised crime after a series of armed robberies in which two casino workers were killed. Police boarded up most of the state’s 470 gambling outlets as the ban came into force. Betting, particularly on sport, has become extremely popular, fuelling an illegal industry worth €100 million a year. About a third of Kosovo’s 1.8 million population are unemployed. Ramush Haradinaj, the prime minister, said that the measure was intended to "strengthen public security". He said: "It is total chaos, a total abuse and it is good that we are stopping this. We will not allow these venues to be arenas of crime that claim people's lives." [...]
Source: Anthee Carassava, Athens, 1 April 2019, The Times https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/ten-year-ban-on-gambling-as-kosovo-fights-crime-gangs-5337ftffk
Sports minister implicated in KONI bribery case, court told
A court hearing revealed on Thursday that Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi had accepted bribes, making him the second Cabinet member implicated in a graft case just a month before the country's presidential and legislative elections.
A team of prosecutors named Imam on a list of alleged recipients of bribes from the National Sports Committee (KONI) to the ministry during the trial of committee secretary-general Ending Fuad Hamidy at the Jakarta Corruption Court.
The list included initials of ministry and committee officials who allegedly received kickbacks totaling Rp 3.4 billion (US$240,831) to pass a state grant to the committee, as reported by Antara.
According to the list, one of the recipients was identified only as M, who was said to receive Rp 1.5 billion -- the largest compared to other listed recipients.
KONI planning and budgeting secretary Suradi, who was a witness during the Thursday hearing, testified that he made the list under Ending’s order.
“I assume the M initial, who would receive Rp 1.5 billion, refers to the minister because he would receive the largest kickback,” Suradi testified in court on Thursday as quoted by Antara. “I didn’t really know at that time because [Ending] only dictated the initials to me.”
He, however, said he did not know whether the money had been disbursed to the minister.
KPK investigators had summoned Imam in January to the commission’s headquarters in Jakarta for questioning as a witness in the case. During questioning, graft-busters questioned the minister about his role in giving approval on the grant proposal.
The list also included the initials Ul from the ministry, who would receive Rp 500 million. “I assume that Ul is Ulum, the youth and sports minister's personal staffer," Suradi added.
In the KPK’s indictment against Ending, prosecutors implicated Ulum as the one who arranged the disbursement of a “commitment fee” from KONI to the ministry, which amounted to between 15 and 19 percent of the Rp 17.9 billion grant.
KPK prosecutors indicted Ending of giving kickbacks to the ministry’s undersecretary overseeing sports achievement, Mulyana, and his two subordinates related to a grant from the ministry to KONI. The antigraft body named him a suspect in the case on Dec. 19 after they were nabbed during an operation in Jakarta a day earlier.
Earlier this week, the antigraft body seized bank notes amounting to more than US$40,000 in the office of Religious Affairs Minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin as part of an investigation into alleged bribery involving United Development Party (PPP) chairman Muhammad Romahurmuziy. Lukman is also a member of the party, which is among President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's supporting parties.
Romahurmuziy is accused of accepting bribes to recommend promotion of officials at the Religious Affairs Ministry. The prosecution of Romahurmuziy, who is known as an ally of Jokowi, has shocked many as it occurred a few weeks before the elections that will be held concurrently on April 17. Imam is a member of the National Awakening Party (PKB), another supporting party of Jokowi. (kuk)
Source: 22 March 2019, The Jakarta Post
More arrests made in corruption scandal over Roma stadium
ROME — The president of Rome’s city council has been arrested for allegedly accepting bribes in a widening corruption scandal centered on Roma’s long-delayed plans to build a new stadium. Marcello De Vito of the governing 5-Star Movement was picked up by police for allegedly taking payments from the stadium’s former constructor, Luca Parnassi, to help advance the project. Three other people were also arrested. Parnassi was among nine people arrested in June when the scandal was first revealed. Roma’s American president, James Pallotta, first presented the stadium plan in March 2014, saying that it would be ready for the 2016-17 season — yet construction has still not started. Pallotta has since cut ties with Parnassi and is currently negotiating a 105 million euro ($120 million) deal to buy the proposed stadium site in Tor di Valle himself. Tor di Valle is located about halfway between downtown and Leonardo Da Vinci Airport.
Source: Associated Press, 20 March 2019, The Washington Post
Japan’s Olympic chief resigns over corruption scandal in latest row to mar Tokyo Games
The embattled head of Japan’s Olympic Committee resigned on Tuesday amid a widening corruption investigation linked to Tokyo’s successful bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games.
With a little over a year to go until the opening ceremony for the Games, Tsunekazu Takeda announced during a meeting of the national Olympic committee in Tokyo that he would step down when his 10th term ends in June.
Mr Takeda, 71, has denied any wrongdoing in the process of bidding for the 2020 Games and said he is cooperating with an investigation led by French authorities.
Mr Takeda was placed under formal investigation by France’s financial crimes office on suspicion of “active corruption” on December 10, Le Monde reported. Prosecutors suspect that the IOC vote in 2013 was swayed by secret deals that secured the support of committee members from African states for Tokyo to host the games over Istanbul or Madrid.
French investigators began their probe in 2016 on suspicion that some $2 million was transferred in a series of transactions by the Tokyo Games’ bidding committee before and after the vote between a bank in Tokyo and a company in Singapore.
Prosecutors have allegedly linked the company, Black Tidings, to Papa Massata Diack, one of the sons of Lamine Diack, the Senegalese national who was a member of the IOC as well as president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) between 1995 and 2001.
Now 85, Mr Diack is presently being investigated in France on corruption charges and allegations that he and his son were involved in blackmailing athletes and covering up failed drug tests.
Papa Massata Diack is believed to be in Senegal, but French authorities have issued a wanted notice for him through Interpol.
In a phone interview with Kyodo News in December, Papa Massata Diack denied any wrongdoing or having links with Mr Takeda. He added that he had only met Mr Takeda twice - once to congratulate him for Tokyo winning the right to host the 2020 Games
and claimed that the Japanese capital’s bid was so superior to that of Istanbul that there was no need for Tokyo to pay to secure the votes it needed.
Papa Massata Diack said the investigation had been triggered by a power struggle with the world of sports and is racially motivated.
In statements, Mr Takeda has similarly denied any wrongdoing.
“The case is causing tremendous concern among people who are supporting the Tokyo Games, but I will continue to cooperate in the investigation in order to clear myself of any suspicion”, he said.
Mr Takeda has insisted that the money paid by the bidding committee was a legitimate cost for services provided by Black Tidings under a consultancy agreement. He has also denied knowing Lamine Diack.
The Japanese Olympic Committee has carried out its own internal investigation into the allegations and reported that it could find no irregularities.
Residents of the Japanese capital have expressed concern over the rising cost of the Games, while the local Olympic committee was forced to scrap the official logo for 2020 after a Belgian theatre accused the designer of plagiarism.
The new national stadium for Tokyo 2020 was also at the centre of a plagiarism scandal, with the design form of the late British architect Dame Zaha Hadid accusing Kengo Kuma of incorporating her earlier work on the stadium into his subsequent blueprint.
Source: Julian Ryall, 19 March 2019, The Telegraph
PSG boss Nasser Al-Khelaïfi heard in corruption case
The Qatari was heard as part of an investigation into suspected corruption on the sidelines of Doha's bid for World Athletics.
Qatari President of PSG Nasser Al-Khelaïfi was heard in Paris on Wednesday (March 20th) by judges who are investigating suspicions of corruption on the sidelines of the Doha bid for the World Athletics Championships, according to AFP.
Judges of financial instruction of the court of Paris placed it under the intermediate status of assisted witness, meaning that it is not put under examination at this stage, in this judicial information opened for "active corruption" , which aims the conditions for awarding the Tokyo-2020 and Rio-2016 Olympic Games.
Contacted by AFP, his lawyer Francis Szpiner did not respond.
Magistrates question two payments totaling $ 3.5 million (or 3.1 million euros), made in the fall of 2011 by the company Oryx Qatar Sports Investment, owned equally by Nasser Al -Khelaïfi and his brother Khalid, in favor of a sports marketing company headed by Papa Massata Diack, whose father Lamine Diack is former president of the International Athletics Federation (IAAF) and a former influential member of the IOC. At that time, Doha was aiming to host the 2017 IAAF World Athletics Championships.
He is a powerful IAAF marketing consultant until 2014, Papa Massata Diack, nicknamed in the media "PMD" , is at the crossroads of several cases of corruption sports and is claimed by the French justice.
The first transfer was made on October 13, 2011 and the second on November 7, 2011, four days before the IAAF vote. It was finally London, entered the race after the Qatari capital, which won. Three years later, however, Doha won the World Athletics Championships, which will be held this year from 27 September to 6 October.
These payments were provided for in a memorandum of understanding with the company of "PMD" , in which Oryx Qatar Sports Investment pledged to purchase sponsorship rights and TV rights for $ 32.6 million but provided that Doha get the 2017 Worlds, according to a source close to the record. This contract stipulated that payments made before the IAAF decision of November 11, 2011 - both transfers - were "non-refundable" .
Oryx Qatar Sports Investment is separate from Qatari sovereign wealth fund Qatar Sports Investment, owner of PSG.
Before the judges, the businessman who denies everything of corruption, said he had learned of the two transfers only recently, according to elements of his interrogation that AFP has knowledge.
In Switzerland, the head of the BeIN Sports channel is also in the sights of a survey for "private corruption" , concerning the allocation of broadcast rights for two World Cups football.
Source: 23 March 2019, Tellerreport
Marketing Group Fined $1 Million in FIFA Corruption Case
NEW YORK (AP) — A judge ordered a sports marketing group on Monday to pay a total of $1 million in fines in the FIFA soccer scandal.
U.S. District Judge Pamela Chen fined Traffic Sports International and Traffic Sports USA at a hearing federal court in Brooklyn. The companies had been implicated in the sprawling U.S. case accusing the companies and other firms of bribing top international soccer officials in exchange for commercial rights to major tournaments.
They were each was fined $500,000. They had previously agreed to shut down operations as part of a plea agreement.
A Traffic executive, Jose Hawilla, was a key witness at the 2017 trial of three South American soccer officials accused of corruption. He told the jury that he and other marketing executives he worked with paid tens of millions of dollars over the years in bribes papered over by falsified contracts.
The Brazilian witness described how in one instance his marketing business and two other firms joined forces to pay a $10 million bribe to Jeffrey Webb, then a FIFA vice president and president of CONCACAF, the governing body for soccer in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, to help secure the rights for the Copa America in 2016. Webb has pleaded guilty to racketeering charges and is awaiting sentencing.
The jury at the trial where Hawilla testified convicted Angel Napout, former president of Paraguay's soccer federation, and Jose Maria Marin, the former president of Brazil's soccer federation. Manuel Burga, the former head of Peru's soccer federation was acquitted.
Source: The Associated Press, 19 March 2019, US News
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