INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin – 23 November 2020

Interpol

INVESTIGATIONS

Cyprus

Fresh Allegations of Match Fixing

The football association (CFA) said Monday it has received a notification from European governing body Uefa of suspected match fixing in a second division fixture.

The CFA said the notice concerns suspicious betting activity in the October 30 game between Aris and Alki which ended 4-1 to the home side.

The CFA said it has notified the police and has forwarded all the information.
The association said it will be enforcing the relevant disciplinary rule that applies for the second division.

According to the association’s rules, clubs implicated in suspicious betting activity are fined €50,000. Measures become

gradually stricter with each additional notification.

Source: 11 November 2020, Cyprus Mail

Football: https://cyprus-mail.com/2020/11/09/fresh-allegations-of-match-fixing/ 

Zimbabwe

Fifa begins probe on match fixing claims raised by top Zim ref

WORLD football governing body Fifa have begun formal investigations on the match fixing allegations raised by top referee Allen Basvi in which he accuses a member of the Zifa Refereess Committee of using his position to coerce referees into deciding the outcome of matches.

Basvi is an attested member of the Zimbabwe National Army.

In emailed correspondence to the referee, the Fifa investigators confirmed to him that they had received the letter and asked for a copy of the letter which he sent to the Zifa chief executive officer Joseph Mamutse. In terms of Fifa statutes, it is being complicit if a complaint is lodged and the officer that the complaint was sent to chooses to ignore it. Mamutse apparently never responded to Basvi’s letter of complaint, including to sexual harassment complaint letters from female referees.

“Could you also share with us a copy of the complaint letter you sent to the Zifa CEO and the Sports and Recreational Committee

director. Are you aware of other referees being approached in order to throw away matches? If yes, do you think they would

also be willing to talk to us and share possible evidence?

Source: 10 November 2020, Chronicle

Football: https://www.chronicle.co.zw/fifa-begins-probe-on-match-fixing-claims-raised-by-top-zim-ref/ 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Bulgaria

Aleksandrina Naydenova banned from tennis for life

Bulgarian tennis player Aleksandrina Naydenova has been issued with a lifetime ban from the sport after an investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) found that she had partaken in match fixing activity multiple times between 2015 and 2019. Additionally, she was charged and found guilty of failing to co-operate with the TIU investigation. Alongside the ban, she has been fined $150,000 (US).

The disciplinary case was heard by Anti-corruption Hearing Officer Richard McLaren. He found that Ms Naydenova made 13 breaches of the Tennis Anti-corruption Programme (TACP) – 12 relating to match fixing and one relating to several incidents of non-co-operation with the TIU investigation process. The subsequent sanction means that from today, 20 November 2020, the player is permanently prohibited from playing in or attending any tennis event authorised or sanctioned by the governing bodies of tennis.

Ms Naydenova who had a highest ITF singles ranking of 89 and WTA ranking of 218, had been provisionally suspended on 27 December 2019 prior to the hearing.

The breaches of the Tennis Anti-corruption Programme (TACP) that Ms Naydenova has been found guilty of are:

Section D.1.d. of the 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 TACPs: “No Covered Person shall, directly or indirectly contrive or attempt to contrive the outcome or any other aspect of any Event.”

Section F.2.b / D.2.c of the 2017 and 2019 TACPs: “All Covered Persons must co-operate fully with investigations conducted by the TIU including giving evidence at hearings, if requested. After a Covered Person received a TIU request for an initial interview or otherwise becomes aware of any TIU investigation involving the Covered Person, the Covered Person shall (i) preserve and not tamper with, damage, disable, destroy or otherwise alter any evidence (including any personal devices described in Section F.2.c.i.) or any other information related to any Corruption Offense and (ii) not solicit, facilitate or advise any other person to fail to preserve, tamper with, damage, disable, destroy or otherwise alter any evidence or other information related to any Corruption Offense.”

The hearing took place on 19 and 20 October 2020.

The Tennis Integrity Unit is an initiative of the Grand Slam Board, the International Tennis Federation, the ATP and the WTA and

established to promote, encourage, enhance and safeguard the integrity of professional tennis worldwide. From 1 January 2021,

the TIU will become a new, independent body - the International Tennis Integrity Agency.

Source: 20 November 2020, TIU

Tennis: https://elinkeu.clickdimensions.com/m/1/84431288/p1-b20326-3fa5ec14e9dc4a09802f661ab3536487/2/138/49b3bc7c-a731-4faa-b6e8-bc09328323ee 

Sri Lanka

Former Sri Lanka cricketer Nuwan Zoysa found guilty of match-fixing, corruption by ICC tribunal

Already serving suspension on match-fixing charges, former Sri Lanka player and bowling coach Nuwan Zoysa has been found guilty of three offences under the ICC anti-corruption code by an independent tribunal, the global cricket body said on Thursday.

Zoysa was charged under the ICC anti-corruption code in November 2018 and has been found guilty on all charges after he exercised his right to a hearing before an independent anti-corruption tribunal.

The Sri Lankan remains suspended and sanctions will follow in due course, the International Cricket Council said in a release. He was provisionally suspended in May 2019 on charges of indulging in corruption during a T20 league in the UAE.

ICC said Zoysa has been found guilty of:

Article 2.1.1 – for being party to an agreement or effort to fix or contrive or otherwise influence improperly the result, progress, conduct or other aspect(s) of a match.

Article 2.1.4 – Directly or indirectly soliciting, inducing, enticing, instructing, persuading, encouraging or intentionally facilitating any Participant to breach Code Article 2.1.

Article 2.4.4 – Failing to disclose to the ACU full details of any approaches or invitations received to engage in corrupt conduct under the Code.

“Zoysa has also been charged by the ICC on behalf of the Emirates Cricket Board with breaching four counts of the ECB anti-

corruption code for participants for the T10 League and these proceedings are ongoing,” the ICC said in the release.

Source: 19 November 2020,

Scroll in Cricket: https://scroll.in/field/978969/former-sri-lanka-cricketer-nuwan-zoysa-found-guilty-of-match-fixing-corruption-by-icc-tribunal

LEGISLATION

India

Tamil Nadu bans online gaming; Rs 5,000 fine, six months jail for violators

The Tamil Nadu government Friday banned online gaming in the state. Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit promulgated an Ordinance late Friday following a decision taken by the state government.

As per the ordinance, those found gaming will be punished with a Rs 5,000 fine and six months imprisonment. Those who host common gaming houses will be punished with a fine amount of Rs 10,000 and two years imprisonment. The ordinance also bans electronic transfer of funds used for wagering and betting, distributing the winnings, prize money etc. It also states that persons who are running the company which conducts online gaming by wagering and betting will be punished.

“Due to online gaming, innocent people mainly youngsters are being cheated and some people have committed suicide. In order to avoid such incidents of suicide and protect innocent people from the evils of online gaming, the Government has submitted proposal to the Hon’ble Governor to promulgate an ordianance by amending the Tamil Nadu Gaming Act, 1930 (Tamil Nadu Act III of 1930), Chennai City Police Act, 1888 (Tamil Nadu Act III of 1888) and the Tamil Nadu District Police Act, 1859 (Tamil Nadu Act XXIV of 1859),” the Raj Bhavan release read.

This comes weeks after the state government informed the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court that it was actively

considering banning online games.

Source: 21 November 2020, The Indian Express

All Sports: https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chennai/tamil-nadu-bans-online-gaming-rs-5000-fine-six-months-jail-for-violators-7059893/ 

BETTING

China

How China's e-commerce giants enable illegal online gambling

A dark corner of the cyber world benefited from increasingly convenient internet-based payment and logistics services as e- commerce soars amid the pandemic: illegal online gambling.

And the shadowy, often offshore operators of illicit gambling sites found witting or unwitting enablers in some of China's leading tech giants according to police, who are conducting a massive crackdown on the unprecedented surge in online gambling.

Investigators found that illegal gambling sites have relied on search engines and social media platforms that are household names to lure gamblers, while using leading e-commerce platforms and delivery companies to facilitate massive fund transactions disguised as online shopping orders.

They include China's biggest online search engine, Baidu, Tencent Holdings' messaging apps QQ and WeChat, and Ant Group's payment service Alipay, authorities say. E-commerce site Pinduoduo appears to have been especially vulnerable. Investigators have also implicated major courier companies, including New York-listed listed ZTO Express, Shanghai-listed YTO Express and STO Express, as well as a number of logistics companies

Many large internet companies are involved in the investigations," one police officer involved in the probes said.

The appearance of such icons of China's booming e-commerce economy in gambling operators' tool kits raises questions about whether the internet giants conducted adequate internal oversight and risk-control efforts to screen for illegal dealings, authorities say. There's little question that many of these companies profited from involvement in the gambling operators' complex business chains, investigators say.

For their part, the legitimate online businesses say there are limits on their ability to monitor and prevent illegal activities. Most of the implicated companies are said to be cooperating with authorities. After a top Baidu executive was detained in the probe, Baidu pledged zero tolerance for violations and promised to assist police in the investigation.

"We've done everything we can do," one Pinduoduo source said.

Based on law enforcement data, the surge in illegal online gambling amid the pandemic has been astonishing. By the end of September, Chinese authorities launched investigations of more than 8,800 cross-border gambling cases and arrested more than 60,000 suspects allegedly involved in the illegal businesses.

Police cracked down on 1,700 online gambling platforms and 1,400 underground banks, involving more than 1 trillion yuan ($151 billion) of illegal transactions, data from the Ministry of Public Security showed. That compared with 7,200 online gambling cases in 2019 totaling 18 billion yuan.

In Shenzhen, police found that operators of an overseas-based gambling site marketed its games through QQ and WeChat, and then directed gamblers to make nearly 2.6 billion yuan of payments for bets through Alipay and WeChat Pay.

In Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, police in August arrested two people for selling 60,000 logistics records for nonexistent deliveries. The logistics records were used to fabricate online shopping orders for gambling sites to launder more than 7 billion yuan paid by gamblers, local police said. Most of the money was remitted through Alipay for bogus deals with tens of thousands of fake merchants on Pinduoduo, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

Such cases show how gambling site operators set up complete business chains linking search engines, social media platforms, e- commerce sites, payment services and delivery systems to facilitate recruitment, transactions and money laundering. The gambling sites often use overseas servers, with senior executives staying abroad to command a complex web of activities, according to police.

Although internet companies have argued that it is difficult to detect such illegal transactions and have pledged to enhance risk control, analysts said none of parties involved is really innocent because everyone benefits from the illegal dealings. For search engines, ad promotions generate revenues, while fake retail deals boost e-commerce platforms' books and bogus deliveries offer logistics firms quick money, analysts said.

Serving the bad

Shi Youcai, the head of Baidu's Mobile Ecology Group who oversees the company's sales system, was detained on Sept. 15 by

police on allegations of facilitating online gambling promotions, putting the search engine giant's controversial advertising

operations under the spotlight. His detention followed investigations of seven other Baidu staffers starting weeks ago, including 

Vice President Li Zhongjun, Caixin has learned. Shi was later released on bail.

Shi, who worked at Baidu between 2001 and 2011, returned to the company in 2019 as a special adviser to a newly restructured mobile ecology division, becoming the de facto head of Baidu's sales system.

Shi opened the door to illegal advertising on Baidu's platform and benefited personally from the business, one person close to Baidu's management told Caixin. A Baidu business partner said Shi tightened control over Baidu's advertising partners and offered favors to agencies with whom he had ties. Business with regulatory risks, including promotion of card games, could be conducted only with certain agents, the executive said.

Shi has denied the allegations. Industry sources said it is almost impossible that senior company management didn't notice the practices.

"Those [illegal] ads have always been there, but were not investigated before," said one online advertising customer. "And Baidu is not the only one."

A Caixin search of online advertising monitoring site Reyun showed that a 2019 ad for a gambling-like card game was promoted by a number of major platforms backed by tech giants, including ByteDance and Tencent.

READ MORE...

Source: 18 November 2020, NIKKEI Asia

All Sports: https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Caixin/How-China-s-e-commerce-giants-enable-illegal-online-gambling/ 

GOOD PRACTICES

Spain

DGOJ establishes anti-match fixing collaboration with AFE

The framework will see the organisations collaborate on developing preventative actions and education programmes to tackle match fixing and illegal betting in football.

The DGOJ said that both organisations agree that the manipulation of sports competition and betting fraud undermines the interests of participants and operators in the sector, and constitutes one of the greatest threats to professional football.

Match fixing, it added, violates the essential values of the organisations and alienates both athletes and fans from the environment.

For these reasons, the DGOJ and AFE have established a channel of communication, to run informative and educational activities, such as holding seminars, preparing educational materials and the creation of awareness campaigns, both in traditional and social media, and within football clubs themselves.

After introducing and tightening controls around gambling advertising throughout 2020, Spain’s Ministry of Consumer Affairs wrote to teams in the country’s top football division, La Liga, in October warning that any sponsorship agreements with gambling companies must end at the conclusion of the current season.

The end to gambling sponsorship is part of new restrictions on gambling marketing, that Spain originally in February, which were subsequently tightened as a temporary response to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in April.

The tightened measures included a blanket ban on gambling sponsorships for sports teams, as well as a ban on all customer bonuses. Although originally intended to be temporary, these measures were then incorporated into Spain’s long-term gaming regulations and submitted to the European Commission for approval.

The regulations came into force earlier this month, on 3 November, amid major criticisms from industry groups.

Source: 20 November 2020, IGB

Football: https://igamingbusiness.com/dgoj-establishes-anti-match-fixing-collaboration-with-afe/ 

MATCH FIXING

India

Has Indian Cricket become the new hub for fixing & betting? 4th league called for Match-fixing

Match Fixing & Illegal Betting in Indian Cricket : On Friday, a T20 League conducted by Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) came under scanner for betting and match-fixing. According to a report by Times of India, ACA’s own anti-corruption unit flagged the league and started a thorough investigation into the matter.

It is now looking into mass betting which took place during the matches with some cricketers, who played in the tournament. However, this is not the first time a match-fixing or betting incident came into spotlight in India’s sports circuit.

Over the years, the match-fixing and betting racket has seen a rampant rise, especially in the local cricket leagues. The result of it was, while some leagues were completely cancelled, others had to ban the players involved in it.

Here are some other Indian cricket leagues where betting and match-fixing has been reported Rajputana Premier League:

It was a T20 league organised in Rajasthan. The first season started in July 2017 and included 6 teams from the state. However, the league was cancelled after Jaipur police busted a match-fixing racket and arrested 14 people including six players associate with the it.

Karnataka Premier League:

In November 2019, it was a big news for Central Crime Branch (CCB) after it arrested an international bookie Sayyam for match- fixing in the Karnataka Premier League. Earlier, before the arrest of Sayyam, two players, both from the Bellary Tuskers team, captain CM Gautam and Abrar Kazi were arrested for alleged involvement in the fixing scandal.

They were allegedly paid Rs 20 lakhs for slow batting in the finals, and also fixed another match which they played against Bengaluru.

ALSO READ| BCCI set to grant central contracts to T20 players with minimum 10 games Indian Premier League

It was the mother of all match-fixing scandals in Indian sports history. In 2013, Delhi Police arrested three cricketers, Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan, on the charged of alleged spot-fixing. The three cricketers represented the inaugural champions Rajasthan Royals. Later, Mumbai Police arrested Vindu Dara Singh and Chennai Super Kings Team Principal Gurunath Meiyappan for alleged betting.

On 14 June 2015, it was announced that two champions, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals were banned for two years and were replaced by temporary teams, Rising Pune Supergiant and Gujarat Lions.

Besides cricket, fixing in football has also been reported. Goa Professional League

Goan football, which was once a nursery for some of the best football in India, had hit its all-time lows after its involvement in the match-fixing was reported. The league in August this year (2020) has faced allegations of corruption after Sportradar- a company that monitors betting odds and patterns worldwide through a Fraud Detection System informed Asian Football

Confederation (AFC) of the suspicious activities in a few Goa Pro League matches.

Source: 21 November 2020, Inside Sport

Cricket: https://www.insidesport.co/has-indian-cricket-become-the-new-hub-for-fixing-betting-4th-league-called-for-match-fixing/ 

POLICY

Pakistan

PCB unveils whistleblowing policy to combat corruption

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) on Monday revealed a new whistleblowing policy in a bid to combat corruption in the sport.

According to the PCB press release, any person who becomes aware of any matter can report it to the Chief Operating Officer via email by providing complete details, including supporting documents and evidence.

The PCB has assured it will keep the identity of the whistleblower and contents of the report confidential, and will also protect the whistleblower from any form of detriment, including discrimination, harassment or retaliation as a consequence of the disclosure.

The Board has also urged stakeholders to use the policy cautiously as unsubstantiated reports and allegations can cause irreparable damage to the individuals.

"While we are encouraging stakeholders in good faith to share information with evidence and supporting documents, we expect them to exercise this opportunity responsibly as any malicious or frivolous report can destroy the reputation and careers of honest, hardworking and promising individuals," PCB Chief Operating Officer, Salman Naseer said.

"Any whistleblower found to be deliberately misleading the PCB for personal gains and benefits will be subject to strict disciplinary action."

Source: 10 November 2020, Geo Super

Cricket: https://www.geosuper.tv/latest/7110-pcb-unveils-whistleblowing-policy-to-combat-corruption

United States

NCAA official worried about game safety, integrity regarding player prop bets

While sports betting is rapidly growing in popularity in the United States, one NCAA official issued a warning on Thursday about how far wagering should be allowed at the collegiate level.

NCAA vice president for law, policy and governance Naima Stevenson-Starks is worried that betting on individual player performances — or prop bets — could create significant issues throughout the college sports world.

A prop bet, for example, could be placed on how many yards a quarterback throws for during a single game, or how many points a basketball player scores in a single game.

“Unlike the professional leagues, we are now talking about student-athletes attending class with people who may be betting on their efforts on the field or the court,” Stevenson-Starks said at the Sports Betting USA 2020 online seminar, via the Associated Press. “That's a concern. If you can think about missing a field goal or a free throw that might make the difference in a result, that's not the most settling thought.”

Sports betting rapidly expanding in United States

Three new states — Maryland, Louisiana and South Dakota — all approved measures last week to legalize sports betting, meaning there are now 25 states in the country where fans can either legally bet on games or will be able to in the near future.

That number is sure to grow, too.

How fans are able to bet on sports, however, differs from state to state and sport to sport. Many sports books don’t offer player props for college games yet, either.

BetMGM didn’t offer any individual player props for college football games this week. According to the Associated Press, DraftKings and The Golden Nugget didn’t offer any either, though FanDuel did offer one player prop for Thursday’s Colorado State-Boise State game.

While the individual approach makes it hard for the NCAA to manage, Stevenson-Starks doesn’t see a national ruling coming anytime soon.

“[A federal law] would be the most desirable,” she said, via the Associated Press. “I don’t think the momentum is there for

that to be resurrected, but it is something that should be on the radar. The state-by-state approach is more difficult for an

institution like the NCAA.”

Source: 12 November 2020, Yahoo

All Sports: https://sports.yahoo.com/ncaa-official-worried-gambling-sports-betting-player-props-225014933.html 

CORRUPTION

Croatia, Greece and North Macedonia

Challenges to the role of media in reporting sport corruption: Insights from reporters in Balkan countries

Despite the influence and power that the media hold and the importance placed on the role in corruption in sport and any challenges they might face in reporting on it. This study aims to shed light on this unexplored area, by using insights from members of the media based in three Balkan countries, to help uncover the challenges and obstacles faced by sport media. The findings of this study allow for the multifold role of the media in sport corruption to be examined, while uncovering the internally and externally driven obstacles they face, ranging from personal greed  to market-based pressures and media’s ostracism by the wider anti-corruption system.

Source: Argyro Elisavet Manoli and David Janei, 13 November 2020, Loughborough University, UK 
All Sports

Portugal

Portuguese police raid Benfica and Sporting offices in corruption inquiry

Police in Portugal have raided the offices of Primeira Liga clubs Benfica, Sporting and Santa Clara as part of a corruption and money laundering investigation linked to player transfers.

The Portuguese general prosecutor’s office revealed that nearly 30 searches were carried out on Monday by Judicial Police and the Tax Authority under the direction of the Public Ministry. All three clubs confirmed the searches, with Benfica underlining their “total willingness to collaborate with the authorities”

Sporting said in a statement the investigation is related to alleged irregularities from 2011-14 and congratulated the efforts to promote transparency in Portuguese football. Prosecutors said they were investigating “a range of cases, all linked to professional football, which could include crimes of economic participation in business or undue receipt of advantage, active and passive corruption, qualified tax fraud and money laundering”.

They added: “The investigation is also looking into the acquisition of sports and economic rights by players from national football clubs, loans granted to one of these clubs and to a sports company by a citizen of Singapore with interests in companies based in the British Virgin Islands and the use of accounts of the same club and another, for the circulation of money.”

According to reports by Portuguese broadcasters TVI, the Benfica president Luís Filipe Vieira is the main target of the authorities, with prosecutors also focusing on the transfer of three Libyan players who signed for Santa Clara. Real estate businessman Vieira was re-elected president of the 37-times Portuguese champions last month, extending a reign that began in 2003.

The 71-year-old is already facing a corruption trial alongside 16 other people, including three judges, and was also indicted in a tax fraud investigation targeting Benfica, who have also been implicated in match-fixing.

On Tuesday, Varandas Fernandes, Benfica’s vice-president, told Rádio Renascença that Vieira is “relaxed” over the investigations. “President Luís Filipe Vieira remains calm and gives all his time to Benfica,” he said.

“The processes are with the legal teams, the investigation has to be respected and we will collaborate as usual. Benfica fans can

be confident that we will maintain the course that enabled us to get here with good financial, sporting and patrimonial results.

Whatever the outcome of the process, it will prove the legality of all the procedures that have been used.”

Source: 10 November 2020, The Guardian

Football https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/nov/10/portuguese-police-raid-three-football-clubs-in-corruption-investigation-benfica-sporting 

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