Champion trainer Weir charged with animal cruelty and conspiracy to defraud
Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Darren Weir and his former stablehand and fellow trainer Jarrod McLean have been charged by police with a range of animal cruelty and conspiracy offences.
After an investigation spanning more than a year into alleged illegal activity in the horse racing industry, detectives from Victoria Police's Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit charged 49-year-old Weir with nine offences on Wednesday.
These included conspiracy to defraud Racing Victoria stewards, three counts of engaging in the torturing, abusing, overworking and terrifying of a thoroughbred race horse, and three counts of causing unreasonable pain or suffering to a race horse. Weir has also been charged with possessing an unregistered firearm.
McLean and registered stable employees Tyson Kermond and William Hernan will face Racing Victoria stewards on Thursday, while Weir will be directed to attend an inquiry on a date to be fixed.
Racing Victoria stewards have the option to stand McLean down from racing.
"Upon the issuing of charges today, our stewards have immediately opened inquiries and ordered three persons to attend [Thursday] afternoon to answer questions in relation to the charges. Those inquiries will dictate our next steps," Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson said.
The charges follow a number of raids on properties in Miners Rest and Warrnambool on January 30, during which police seized what they believed to be conducted energy devices known in the industry as "jiggers".
Weir was disqualified from training for four years in February after pleading no contest to charges of possession of jiggers, which were found in the police raids on his stables and house. Weir was one of the country's leading trainers with his horses winning more than $148 million. In 2015 he took home the Melbourne Cup with Prince of Penzance, ridden by Michelle Payne. Payne, the first female jockey to claim the Cup, is the subject of the film Ride like a girl. The charges Weir is facing do not relate to Prince of Penzance and there is no suggestion that Payne was involved in any wrongdoing.
Those charges under the Rules of Racing related to possessing jiggers only (which is not itself a crime), and the Tribunal made no findings of fact owing to Weir’s plea.
McLean, 38, was issued with 16 charges, including conspiracy to defraud Racing Victoria stewards, engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome, animal cruelty and possession of a drug of dependence (cocaine).
A 31-year-old Warrnambool man has been charged with one count of use of corrupt conduct information.
All three, and Weir, are due to face Melbourne Magistrates Court on October 23. Victorian racing minister Martin Pakula said his government "strongly supports" upholding the sport's integrity.
"The government strongly supports the efforts of racing integrity bodies – in conjunction with Victoria Police and other authorities where appropriate – to ensure the highest standards of integrity and animal welfare," Pakula said.
Police began looking into Weir’s alleged malpractice in August last year when Racing Victoria shared its evidence of his alleged wrongdoing. Born in Victoria's Mallee district and raised on a farm, Weir left school at 15 and had a training licence by age 25 after working for other established trainers.
Following the January raids, thousands of horse owners were left in limbo, scrambling to find a trainer, stable or even a paddock to house their prized investments.
Source: 9 October 2019, The Age Horse Racing https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/champion-trainer-darren-weir-charged-with-animal-cruelty-and-conspiracy-to-defraud-20191009-p52yzl.html
Gatto's business partner punted on soccer game with inside information
A property developer and business partner of Mick Gatto has pleaded guilty in a Queensland court to receiving information from an insider at a Melbourne soccer club to place a bet that would have reaped $43,300.
John Khoury, 52, admitted to using inside knowledge to lay the $4000 multi-bet on a match between Dandenong Thunder and Melbourne City's under-20 team in the National Premier Leagues second division in August 2017.
It was alleged in the Southport Magistrates Court that Mr Khoury received a phone call about an hour before the game, when he was told that Dandenong Thunder was changing its line-up, including substituting some of its more senior players.
Mr Khoury, who was holidaying on the Gold Coast at the time, placed the multi-bet on Melbourne City's youth squad to win the match, combined with a horse winning in Queensland.
However, the wager was unsuccessful, when the game played at La Trobe University ended in a 2-2 draw.
The match-fixing allegations prompted a major investigation by Victoria Police's Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit, Purana Taskforce and Queensland Police Major and Organised Crime Squad, which resulted in charges against Mr Khoury and a man associated with Dandenong Thunder.
Players, officials and referees were interviewed as part of the 18-month investigation.
There is no suggestion that Mr Gatto was involved in any wrongdoing.
Last week, Magistrate Jane Bentley said public deterrence was an important factor in sentencing Mr Khoury, before fining him $750 without conviction, according to the Gold Coast Bulletin.
Mr Khoury's barrister, Bernard Reilly reportedly told the court the decision to place the bet was “an impulsive act”. Mr Reilly said his client had not solicited the information or paid for it.
“In the end he found out what every real gambler knows which is there’s no such thing as a sure thing and he lost his money.”
Mr Khoury declined to comment when contacted by The Age.
A former owner of the Metro nightclub, Mr Khoury and Mr Gatto regularly hold court outside cafes and restaurants along the ''Paris End'' of Bourke Street and Lygon Street in Carlton.
The burly pair specialise in debt collection and industrial mediation, while Mr Khoury also operates a residential property development business.
Source: 7 October 2019, The Age Football https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/gatto-s-business-partner-punted-on-soccer-game-with-inside-information-20191007-p52ycd.html
Police reportedly investigating organized crime link to Australian Overwatch Contenders team
An Australian Overwatch Contenders team is under investigation for alleged links to organized crime, Australian news site ABC reported yesterday.
Police in Victoria, Australia’s Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit told ABC that “betting anomalies” were reported for an Australian Overwatch Contenders team’s matches. There are eight teams participating in the Australian Overwatch Contenders event — Athletico, Ground Zero Gaming, Legacy Esports, Melbourne Mavericks, Mindfreak G, Order, Sydney Drop Bears, and Warriors — but the team under investigation was not named.
“There is no test of a fit and proper person to be engaged as an owner of an esports team,” Victoria assistant police commissioner Neil Paterson told ABC. “We are seeing people encroach on that area that have reputations that [mean they] probably [...] shouldn’t be involved in this part of esports.”
Paterson added that two Australian players reportedly “told their associates to bet on the fixed matches,” according to the ABC report, which was spotted by Kotaku Australia this morning.
Polygon has reached out to Blizzard Entertainment and Victoria police about the investigation.
In August, multiple Counter-Strike: Global Offensive players were arrested in Australia during the ongoing match-fixing investigation. ABC’s latest report suggests six players were arrested during the investigation so far; Paterson said he expects “dozens more” could be implicated. The report also noted that up to $30,000 could have been won in games involving match fixing.
Source: 24 September 2019, Polygon eSports https://www.polygon.com/2019/9/24/20881592/overwatch-contenders-australia-match-fixing-investigation
La UAFE, la Secretaría Anticorrupción y la FEF investigarán denuncias por resultados en la Segunda Categoría
Jaime Estrada, vicepresidente de la Federación Ecuatoriana de Fútbol (FEF), confirmó que en julio del 2019 se creó una comitiva especial encargada de investigar las irregularidades que pudieran surgir en los resultados de los partidos del campeonato nacional. La comitiva está conformada por la Unidad de Análisis Financiero de la Fiscalía, la Secretaría Anticorrupción y funcionarios de la Ecuafútbol. Estrada evitó dar los nombres de los delegados de cada organismo. El triunfo 25-0 del equipo La Paz, de Manabí, sobre Carlos Borbor, de Santa Elena, y el retiro de El Recreo, Pastaza, frente a Pelileo, de Tungurahua, generaron suspicacia en el torneo zonal de Ascenso de la Segunda Categoría. "La idea es ir encajando el 'Fair Play', con la colaboración de estas instituciones. La unidad trabaja de oficio y esperamos tener resultados en función de las investigaciones que se realicen", dijo Estrada, respecto al tema. Estrada evitó poner un tiempo límite para obtener resultados de la investigación, debido a que el proceso es "complejo". Adelantó que el torneo de la Segunda continuará con los clubes clasificados, este 24 de septiembre deben definir el calendario para la fase nacional. que clasificará a dos equipos a la Serie B del 2020.
Source: 24 September 2019, El Comercio Football https://www.elcomercio.com/deportes/investigacion-corrupcion-futbol-ecuatoriano-goleada.html
Val-d’Oise. Tennis : Soupçons de matchs truqués à l’open W15 de Gonesse
Deux joueuses professionnelles qui avaient participé à la compétition ITF du Val-d'Oise ont été interpellées et placées en garde à vue pour des soupçons de matchs truqués. Détails.
Lors du premier tour des qualifications du dernier tournoi Itf de Gonesse, l'Ermontoise Aminata Sall (à droite) avait dominé Albina Khabibulina.
Non, on ne vous parle pas du meilleur trajet possible depuis la capitale vers le Val-d’Oise, mais bel et bien de mises financières effectuées sur des matchs de tennis.
C’est un vrai fléau depuis plusieurs années, depuis que les paris sportifs sont légaux. On peut risquer sa chemise ? et même un peu plus ? sur le vainqueur d’un match évidemment, mais aussi sur plein de petits détails… Lequel fera par exemple le plus de doubles-fautes, quel joueur remportera le troisième point du quatrième jeu du second set, quelle joueuse ira aux toilettes la première (on exagère à peine). Résultats pervers : des tricheurs proposent à des compétiteurs des sommes parfois exubérantes en échange d’un point, d’un set ou d’un match perdu.
Et cela même au premier tour des qualifications du tournoi organisé par le Tennis club de Gonesse, seule épreuve professionnelle du circuit Itf (la Fédération internationale) qui se déroule dans le Val-d’Oise, catégorie W15 car c’est un open pour ces dames (Women) doté de 15 000 $.
En effet, fin septembre, en marge du tournoi de Clermont-Ferrand, deux joueuses ont été interpellées et placées en garde à vue pour des soupçons de matchs truqués. L‘information judiciaire ouverte par le parquet de Pontoise pour corruption a été confiée au service central des courses et jeux (Sccj). Les enquêteurs de ce service, qui sont déjà en charge de vastes investigations sur un réseau de matchs truqués dans le tennis amateur français, sous l‘égide du parquet national financier (Pnf), ont annoncé qu’une joueuse ouzbèke était suspectée d‘avoir, à dessein, perdu un jeu lors d‘une rencontre du tournoi de Gonesse. Une collègue kirghize ayant joué le rôle d‘intermédiaire entre elle et les parieurs. Mais des opérateurs en Grande-Bretagne, alarmés par des mises étranges pour un tel match, ont alerté les autorités françaises… Il faut dire que depuis le début de l’année une vaste enquête partie de Belgique s’intéresse aux matchs truqués dans des tournois secondaires et a déjà entraîné plusieurs arrestations. Selon le parquet fédéral belge, il existe « un groupe très structuré d’Europe de l’Est qui agit depuis la Belgique et s’est spécialisé dans les matchs de tennis ».
Un rapide coup d’œil aux participantes de l’édition 2019 de l’open valdoisien qui a eu lieu en mars, comme chaque année, nous a permis d’identifier la joueuse concernée, seule représentante de l’Ouzbékistan présente dans le tableau, plus précisément celui des qualifications. Au premier tour, Albina Khabibulina, née à Tachkent en 1992, fan de musique et de Martina Hingis, qui ambitionne d’être elle aussi numéro un mondiale (c’est en tout cas ce que précise sa fiche Itf, Ndlr), s’était inclinée de justesse 5/7, 6/0, 11/9 contre la jeune Ermontoise Aminata Sall, classée -4/6 et de dix ans sa cadette. « Je ne me rappelle rien de spécial, déclare aujourd’hui cette dernière. Et je n’ai jamais été approchée. » Khabibulina, qui fut 492e mondiale en 2011, a confessé avoir volontairement commis une double-faute afin de concéder un jeu ! Probablement sur la balle de deuxième set, puisque perdre une manche 6/0 rapporterait 1 000 €…
Audrey Hennebelle : la présidente du Tennis club de Gonesse était également la directrice du tournoi ITF 2019. « Même si je connais les difficultés financières des joueuses du circuit, je déplore les faits. Pourtant, nous avions bien mis en place toutes les recommandations demandées dans le cadre d’un tournoi ITF (affichage) afin d’alerter et d’informer les joueuses lors des 11e Internationaux féminins de Gonesse. Maintenant il faut laisser la justice faire son devoir. Nous sommes satisfaits de la célérité avec laquelle celle-ci s’est saisie du dossier pour faire cesser ces agissements qui portent un préjudice extrême à notre sport. Plus généralement, la lutte contre les risques de corruption sportive et de manipulation des matchs est une priorité absolue pour la Fédération française afin de préserver l’intégrité du tennis et la sincérité des compétitions. Les directeurs de tournois ont d’ailleurs reçu des informations et des conseils afin de lutter contre cette corruption. »
Émeline Dartron : l’Eaubonnaise, désormais numéro 35 française, est une habituée du tournoi Itf de Gonesse. Elle avait atteint les demi-finales de la dernière édition. « Ces deux joueuses ont été arrêtées dans mon hôtel à Clermont, je faisais aussi le tournoi. Je pense que c’est dommage qu’elles soient tombées dans le panneau car, au final, c’est elles qui sont pénalisées quoi qu’il arrive et pas les parieurs. Même si elles ont gagné de l’argent, dans l’histoire les gagnants sont les parieurs. De mon côté, je n’ai jamais été approchée et même si je l’avais été, peu importe le prix, c’est trop de sacrifices pour gâcher sa carrière. Quand on compte le nombre de menaces ou insultes reçues sur les réseaux sociaux après un match, c’est inadmissible. Mais nous n’avons aucun pouvoir sur ça, les joueuses ne sont pas écoutées et à l’arrivée ce sont elles qui tombent pour un faux pas alors que les plus fautifs sont les parieurs, sans vouloir justifier le comportement des deux joueuses arrêtées. Que ça se soit passé à Gonesse ne m’étonne pas vraiment car c’est le tournoi où j’ai vu le plus de parieurs, sûrement car c’est plus tranquille pour approcher les joueuses… Certaines n’y connaissent rien, c’est facile pour eux de leur demander quelque chose car ils arrivent à venir sur le site où l’on joue, alors que sur un tournoi plus important ils ne peuvent pas.
Source: 11 October 2019, L'Actu - https://actu.fr/ile-de-france/gonesse_95277/val-doise-tennis-soupcons-matchs-truques-lopen-w15-gonesse_28262064.html
A 20-year old in Italy questioned over high winnings within a short time framework
(the text is a free translation from an article appeared on September 28 on la repubblica.it (https://www.dailynews24.world/RepubblicaSnai/)
A 20-year old young man in Italy had to provide some replies to the judicial authorities, after winning more than 30 thousand euros of winnings within a very short time framework. The bets were mostly on teams of foreign leagues (mainly Poland, Turkey). The bets were on the over/under markets and involved a high amount of stakes. The young man won 30’000 EUR within 20 days.
Initially, the 20-year old alleged that he had just been lucky, but later he admitted having received tips through a website / Facebook page, which claimed back a share of the amount won only.
These topics have been already dealt with several times in the past, and citizens have been asked several times to stay away of this kind of scams, but clearly these websites can still attract.
Match-fixing is indeed a fact and there have been several articles referring to it, but it is true that many scammers of the web have taken advantage of it. Here, however, the story is different, the tips are real and therefore there is a need for further investigation.
It looks like a closed circle where it is not easy to enter. It seems that only a small group of people can enter and only during certain periods of the year, where the word “open registrations” on the page can be found.
By reaching the website Htft.club it all seems a little clearer to us, how it is done and how the group could be entered, what to do to stay there and also with which bookmaker to place the bets. It is actually mandatory to place the bets with certain bookmakers. And this makes sense, otherwise the result could be that the bettor could be questioned, just as happened in the case of the 20-year old. However, from our side we proceed to what is required to join this group, so we register with the page and we act as if we were “regular customers”. We then ask for access to the group via their Facebook page. As a reply, we are asked for screenshots of our movement on the bookmaker. We bet around 120 euros spread over a few days and within a few minutes we are accepted because we respected what was requested. Afterwards, we are asked for the email in which we will be receiving the tips. After not hearing from them for 4 days, we receive by e-mail the first tip and match to bet – of course with the indicated bookmaker. (e.g.Ukrainian Championship, Type of Event, Over/Under) We didn’t bet on the event from our side. However, we watched the game, and actually they were right. If the bet was played, with a coupon of 100 EUR for instance, we could have won 3’000 EUR.
Now if we actually placed the bet, we should have done two things: first, send the screen of the winning card played on the match in question, second send their quota which would have amounted to 600 euros (they ask for 20 Euros multiplied by the stake). If these parameters are not respected you are eliminated from the group, as explained on their site. Obviously we did not do so and we have been removed from their emailing list. Since all this has been done as they say for the purpose of “journalistic investigation” and to deepen a topic we have already dealt with in the past, we remind our readers that even just taking note of a rigged match, in some countries it could be a crime.
Source: 1 October 2019, Global Lotteries Monitoring System - https://glms-sport.org/news/a-20-year-old-in-italy-questioned-over-high-winnings-within-a-short-time-framework/
Police in cooperation with UEFA investigate possible match-fixing in Latvian football
RIGA - The State Police, in cooperation with the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and Latvian Football Federation, have launched a criminal case on match-fixing in Latvian football, the State Police informed LETA.
The State Police will give a press conference on Wednesday to provide further information about the case.
Interior Minister Sandis Girgens (KPV LV), State Police Chief Ints Kuzis, Latvian Football Federation President Kaspars Gorkss and a UEFA representative will take part in the press conference.
Under the Criminal Law, persons convicted of match-fixing can be sentenced to up to five years in prison, community service or a fine.
Recently, Daugavpils portal Gorod.lv reported that the State Police had detained former president of the Daugavpils football club Dinaburg, Olegs Gavrilovs for possible match-fixing. The State Police refused to tell LETA whether they had detained Gavrilovs.
Gavrilovs was detained back in 2014 on suspicion of match-fixing. In total, eight persons associated with Daugavpils Daugava football club were detained that time.
Source: 9 October 2019, The Baltic Times, Football https://www.baltictimes.com/police_in_cooperation_with_uefa_investigate_possible_match-fixing_in_latvian_football/
Benjamin Bifalco Allegedly Attempted to Fix a Division I College Basketball Game
The Eastern District of New York U.S. Attorney's Office unsealed an indictment of Benjamin Bifalco last week accusing him of attempting to fix a Division I college basketball game in Dec. 2018, according to David Purdum of ESPN.
Per the indictment, the 25-year-old Bifalco offered players on the undisclosed team "thousands of dollars to intentionally lose the game."
Bifalco, who was charged with attempted sports bribery, was heard on a wiretap discussing the potential scheme with Joseph Amato Jr., who was one of 20 defendants arrested Thursday in a "wide-ranging investigation targeting the Colombo crime family."
Per that report:
"On a series of intercepted calls, Bifalco laid out his plans to fix the unidentified game and encouraged Amato Jr. to place thousands of dollars in bets on the game, according to the indictment. Amato sent two texts to defendant Thomas Scorcia before the targeted game: 'Ok I wouldn't trust the game I was tell u about' and 'I'm not touching it personally,' the government filing stated."
The NCAA released the following statement on the matter:
"Today's indictment and arrest of an individual for attempting to fix the outcome of a December 2018 college basketball game reinforces that game-manipulation threats and risks are real and ever-present. We are actively monitoring the situation, which is a part of the criminal process, and will respond accordingly if it is determined that NCAA rules were violated."
Match-fixing and point-shaving scandals remain a major concern around the world, including for NCAA sports. In Spain, over 40 people have been accused of match-fixing—including 36 players—in a probe of a 2011 match between La Liga clubs Levante and Zaragoza, with prosecutors claiming that Levante players were paid around $1 million to throw the contest.
Auburn point guard Varez Ward was arrested in June 2013 on charges of bribery and conspiracy. He was accused of attempting to point shave in a 2012 game against Arkansas.
Source: 7 October 2019, Bleacher Report, https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2857040-benjamin-bifalco-allegedly-attempted-to-fix-a-division-i-college-basketball-game
Feds: 20 Charged, Including Colombo Crime Family Members, in Major Crime Sweep
Twenty people, including members of the Colombo crime family, have been charged with a litany of crimes, including racketeering, extortion and loansharking, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.
The three indictments that were unsealed also variously charge the accused with attempted sports bribery in connection to a scheme that sought to fix an NCAA college basketball game.
Among those charged with racketeering were Joseph Amato, an alleged captain in the Colombo organized crime family of La Cosa Nostra (“the Colombo family”); Daniel Capaldo and Thomas Scorcia, alleged Colombo family members; and Joseph Amato, Jr. and Anthony Silvestro, alleged Colombo family associates. An additional alleged Colombo family member, Vincent Scura, was also indicted.
The alleged criminal activities detailed in the indictments allegedly took place in Staten Island and elsewhere since January 2014.
Federal prosecutors say, citing the indictments and the government’s detention letters, that the investigation began in November 2016 when a GPS tracking device was found concealed on an MTA bus. Amato had allegedly obtained the device to surveil his then-girlfriend and boasted about the resources at his disposal to keep her under close surveillance.
According to the court documents, his then-girlfriend discovered the device on her vehicle and removed it. It was then allegedly attached to and recovered from the MTA bus at a depot on Staten Island.
Subsequently, the government obtained court-authorization to intercept communications over various cellphones used by the accused. As detailed in the government’s court filings, Amato and members of his alleged crew used violence and threats to earn illegal proceeds and solidify the crew’s reputation and standing.
Allegedly, on one occasion, an individual confronted Amato Jr. for insulting a woman in a bar. Prosecutors say that Amato Jr. told the individual to back off, and threatened, “Do you know who my father is?” The following day, the individual was allegedly lured to a location where Amato, Amato Jr. and other members of Amato’s crew brutally beat the victim, leaving him bloodied and in need of staples in his scalp.
According to the court documents, on other occasions, the wiretaps also captured Scorcia boasting of other violence or threats of violence, as well as a scheme to fix an NCAA college basketball game, in which Benjamin Bifalco, who is among the accused, offered members of a college basketball team thousands of dollars to intentionally lose the game.
Federal prosecutors also say that two firearms, two stun guns, a canister of purported tear gas and thousands of dollars were recovered during court-authorized searches of residences of Amato and Scorcia.
All 20 of the accused are 21 to 60 years old and live in New Jersey or New York.
Source: 3 October 2019, NBC New York Basketball - https://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Feds-20-Charged-Including-Colombo-Crime-Family-Members-Racketeering-Extortion-Sweep-562090541.html
Match fixing, volley: scommetteva sulla sua squadra, sospeso per cinque anni il presidente del Real Gioia
ROMA - Una serie di «torbide storie di scommesse» si chiude con cinque anni di sospensione da ogni attività federale per Vito Nicola Giordano, presidente del New Real Volley Gioia. La decisione del Tribunale federale della Fipav è arrivata martedì 8 ottobre, ultimo capitolo di una vicenda iniziata lo scorso anno nel campionato Serie A2 maschile. A dare il via alle indagini la sfida dei play off tra Gioia del Colle e Aurispa Alessano, vinta dalla squadra barese per 3-0. Pesante l'accusa mossa dalla Procura contro il presidente Giordano, quella cioè di aver chiesto ai giocatori di perdere la gara per scommettere sui risultati della sua stessa squadra; richiesta poi ritrattata dopo le chiamate ricevute dai procuratori dei giocatori e della Lega Serie A. Proprio la Lega, si legge nella sentenza, aveva segnalato «un'attività anomala di "betting" rilevata dalla Sportradar Integrity Service, società consulente della lega pallavolo Serie A e concentrata su una serie di gare disputate anche dal New Real Gioia del Colle». Dalla successiva istruttoria è emerso «un susseguirsi di torbide storie di scommesse che hanno lambito la squadra del Volley Gioia e per le quali alla fine non si è raggiunta una piena prova su tutti i fatti emersi, che avrebbero portato a coinvolgere altre realtà». L'unico riscontro probatorio è tuttavia arrivato solo sul comportamento tenuto da Giordano. Lo stesso presidente «ha ammesso di effettuare scommesse», anche se «solo con giocate multiple anche per partite della pallavolo ivi comprese quelle disputate da Gioia del Colle». Una «riprovevole condotta» che il numero uno della società sconterà con i cinque anni di sospensione dalle attività federali, e con una sanzione di 4mila euro per il club.
Source: 10 October 2019, Agipro Volleyball https://www.agipronews.it/scommesse/match-fixing-real-gioia-volley-scommesse-id.158494?fbclid=IwAR0dZts52K2AfeFQN0PlQdYohA8D9G1yEKtSsK4zY8jo7PwUAksrEiwC4o
Edvin Gustafsson suspended and fined for betting on tennis offences
Swedish tennis player Edvin Gustafsson has been suspended for ten months and fined $10,000 after admitting to multiple breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Progam (TACP) by betting on professional tennis matches.
Six months of the ban and $9,500 of the fine are suspended for two years on the basis that no further offences are committed by the player. He will therefore serve a four month suspension and pay a fine of $500.
Mr Gustafsson voluntarily contacted the Tennis Integrity Unit to self-report his betting, which involved over 1,800 bets placed between 2013 and 2018. None of the wagers involved matches in which he was playing.
Independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer Charles Hollander QC considered the case and imposed the sanction, which is effective from 27 September 2019.
As a result, Mr Gustafsson is prohibited from competing in, or attending, any sanctioned event organised or recognised by the governing bodies of the sport for the duration of the suspension. Assuming that no further corruption offences are committed, he will be eligible to resume playing tennis from 26 January 2020.
The 24-year old is currently ranked 2,693 in ITF World Tennis Tour singles.
The breach of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program he committed is the offence that prohibits any form of betting on tennis: Section 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.”
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: 27 September 2019, Tennis Integrity, Unit Tennis https://elinkeu.clickdimensions.com/m/1/84431288/p1-b19270-31dce1a9b64d463e87bfc84126a5330c/1/75/7127b6fa-2e48-4138-b65a-8c8954ccf4e5
Habría cárcel por amaño en competencias deportivas
El representante a la Cámara Mauricio Parodi radicó un proyecto de Ley para elevar a tipo penal la práctica que busca manipular resultados.
Un proyecto de ley que busca darles carácter penal a las acciones de quienes manipulen resultados de encuentros deportivos fue radicado por el representante a la Cámara Mauricio Parodi. Con esto se busca darles transparencia a las apuestas deportivas dado el auge que están teniendo en Colombia.
“Es muy importante elevar a tipo penal estas reprochables conductas en las cuales se amañan resultados de partidos de fútbol o de otros eventos deportivos, con el ánimo de recibir beneficios ilegales tales como beneficiarse de apuestas en un sector que ha venido creciendo de manera exponencial. Estas prácticas ya han hecho carrera en el mundo entero y tienen que ver además con otras conductas delictivas como sobornos y lavado de capitales”, dijo Parodi.
El proyecto de ley propone sancionar con uno (1) a cinco (5) años de cárcel a los responsables y además multas que van desde los cien (100) hasta los cuatrocientos (400) SMMLV, es decir desde los ochentaydos (82) hasta los trescientos treinta (330) millones de pesos.
El proyecto también estipula: “La pena se aumentará en una tercera parte cuando la conducta fuere cometida por el deportista, empleado, entrenador, árbitro, dirigente deportivo, agente o representante, personal médico, deportivo, integrante, accionista de un club, liga, comité o federación deportiva o cuando el evento o competición deportiva se encuentre dentro del listado de las opciones posibles de los operadores de apuestas”.
Por su parte Juan Carlos Restrepo, presidente de Asojuegos, destacó la iniciativa dado que lo principal es preservar la confiabilidad, integridad y la transparecia en el deporte. Resaltó que si bien el público, los deportista y en general las competiciones se afectan, los más perjudicados con el amaño de resultados son las empresas de casas de apuestas legales.
“Son las que responden económicamente por el producto de un ilícito”, enfatizó Restrepo. Aunque en el país aún no se han comprobado amaños de partidos o de otros eventos de carácter deportivo, Parodi considera que precisamente se deben establecer todas las acciones necesarias para prevenir cualquier acción ilegal, en aras de la transparencia.
Source: 25 September 2019, El Heraldo https://www.elheraldo.co/deportes/habria-carcel-por-amano-en-competencias-deportivas-666259
Cabinet gives approval for amended Prevention of Offences Relating to Sports Bill
Cabinet on Tuesday (1 October) gave approval for an amended Prevention of Offences Relating to Sports Bill, which deals comprehensively with match-fixing, corruption, illegal manipulation, and illegal betting in sports, to be presented to Parliament.
Minister of Telecommunication, Foreign Employment, and Sports Harin Fernando sought the approval of Cabinet to publish the draft Bill, prepared incorporating the Amendments proposed by the Attorney General in the Government Gazette and thereafter, present the same in Parliament.
Cabinet approval was granted after the Attorney General gave clearance for the draft Bill with several Amendments to be incorporated into the earlier draft Bill.
The Bill provides for the appointment of a special unit for the investigation of sports-related offences and imposes jail sentences from three to 10 years, and hefty fines of up to Rs. 100 million for some offences, for those found guilty of such illegal activities.
The law will apply to any persons or any person connected to a sport who, directly or indirectly, alone or in conjunction with others, gets involved in any arrangement on an irregular alteration of the course or the result of any sport or sporting event for money or any other reward or benefit.
The Bill covers practices such as betting, gambling, inside information relating to a sport, under-performance or withdrawal from a sport or sporting event for non-genuine reasons, etc.
Source: 7 October 2019, Daily FT https://www.ft.lk/sports/Cabinet-gives-approval-for-amended-Prevention-of-Offences-Relating-to-Sports-Bill/23-687130
Malaysian police arrest 247 members of Chinese gambling ring
Malaysian police have arrested 247 people since 25 September in connection with illegal China-facing online gambling operations that authorities say took in RM24.8 (£4.8m/€5.4m/$5.9m) per month, seizing RM 3.12bn worth of assets.
The move is the latest in a series of crackdowns across Southeast Asia against online gambling operations that target Chinese customers.
On 23 September, the Chinese Ministry of Public Security announced that joint efforts from police in China and Cambodia to combat illegal online gambling in both countries have led to the arrest of almost 1,000 people so far this year.
On 19 September, Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III ordered the country’s Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) to shut down the operations of Philippines Offshore Gaming Operators (POGOs) that fail or refuse to pay income tax.
Kuala Lumpur Police Chief Datuk Seri Mazlan Lazim said the current syndicate was another example of an operation based offshore to evade Chinese authorities.
“The actions of the syndicate from China to carry out their activities in Kuala Lumpur are to prevent Chinese authorities from tracking down their activities,” he said. "But based on public information and police intelligence, we were able to track their position despite operating from a luxury condominium equipped with a strict security system."
Lazim said that the website was marketed via WeChat, the most popular app in China.
Source: 4 October 2019, iGaming Business https://www.igamingbusiness.com/news/malaysian-police-arrest-247-members-chinese-gambling-ring
Investigation into organised crime and Malta’s online betting sector nets 51
More than 50 people are expected to face charges after an Italian anti-mafia agency completed a year-long investigation into links between organised crime and Malta’s online betting sector.
The "Galassia" inquiry, which began last November, is the latest in a series of Italian investigations into the way in which Malta-based online betting companies and unlicensed Italian betting shops channelled money to the mafia.
More than €1 billion in assets have been confiscated as a result of the inquiry.
51 people identified by investigators now have 20 days to file statements, briefs and other documents with the Italian authorities.
The prosecutor’s office is then expected to ask a judge for permission to proceed with court cases against them.
Illegal gambling operations with a combined annual turnover of €4 billion.
The Italian investigation, led by the prosecutor’s offices from the Reggio Calabria, Catania and Bari regions, uncovered illegal gambling operations with a combined annual turnover of around €4 billion.
Among the long list of individuals now expected to face trial in Italy are the former owners of an Austrian bookmaker, top equity fund managers at a Dutch Investment firm and representatives from a Maltese company which represents a number of gaming companies.
According to prosecutors, the Austrian bookmakers ran 2,500 unauthorised betting shops up until 2015 and continued to operate around 1,000 even after an amnesty programme offered black market venues the chance to obtain licences without having to pay back taxes.
The operator is accused of running what investigators called a "double track" system, meaning it took both legal and illegal bets, while also being in violation of tax and anti-money laundering laws.
Unauthorised bets were taken through “dot.com" websites Palace777, BetFaktor, GoldenGool, PlanetWin365, PremierWin365 and JokerBet, said investigators.
The bookmaker had also allegedly entered into agreements with the Martiradonna crime family, members of which are former shareholders of Maltese companies CenturionBet and 3soft Gaming, as well as the bookmaker Bet1128, said prosecutors.
By virtue of this agreement, the operator was "connected with members of local mafia-type criminal gangs on the national territory, for the marketing of the '.com' sites and the development of the illegal networks, in parallel with the business carried out through authorised outlets", said the prosecutor's report.
The Italian investigation is likely to create significant tax issues for the companies, following additional allegations by the Guardia di Finanza that the business failed to declare €3.8 billion in gambling income.
€53 million in corporate taxes and €71 million in betting duty missed.
The operators are accused of missing around €53 million in corporate taxes and €71 million in betting duty.
The anti-mafia investigators accuse the companies of submitting false tax returns, mainly through the incorrect allocation of taxable income between the operator’s Maltese headquarters and its Italian base.
The anti-mafia investigation also focused on the activity of one Maltese registered company whose shareholders and managers are accused of engaging in a "mafia-type" criminal conspiracy, illegal betting, submitting false corporate and tax returns, fraud, money laundering and unfair competition.
Investigators say the company has a connection with Reggio Calabria’s Tegano gang, through two consultants.
Source: 1 October 2019, Times of Malta https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/investigation-into-organised-crime-and-maltas-online-betting-sector.739207
AIU strengthens fight against corruption
Aiming to strengthen the fight against corruption within the sport, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) has launched an extensive monitoring operation on bets placed during the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019.
The new collaborative operation bolsters the integrity body’s continued efforts drive to counter competition manipulation and locate sporting corruption.
AIU Chairman David Howman commented: “It is the AIU’s responsibility to proactively combat all forms of corruption and ethical misconduct in athletics, and that includes illegitimate betting practices and competition manipulation related to such activities.
“The risk in athletics is currently low relative to some other sports, but with growth in key betting markets our activities are designed to get ahead of the curve and discourage unethical behaviour in our sport before it takes place.”
The efforts have been done in conjunction with three different partners: The International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Movement Unit on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions (OM Unit PMC), the Council of Europe’s Copenhagen Group and Sportradar.
AIU will cooperate with the three different partners to identify betting patterns and any betting anomalies in order to prevent or identify any market manipulation and if necessary, carry out disciplinary proceedings under the Integrity Code of Conduct.
The AIU has worked towards boosting awareness on the risks associated with betting-related corruption by offering education to both athletes and personnel on the ways of preventing manipulation of competition.
It builds on from a similar operation in the previous IAAF World Athletics Championships which saw the AIU commit to offering education on the topic.
Source: 30 September 2019, Insider Sport https://insidersport.com/2019/09/30/aiu-corruption-fight/
ODDS AND ENDS
Intelligence Report GLMS has released its Monitoring Report for the third Quarter of 2019, and has included an interview with INTERPOL on its activities in relation to competition manipulation.
Unit Tennis Integrity Supervisory Board confirms agreement to expanded integrity organisation bringing together anti-corruption and anti-doping regimes from 2021
The Tennis Integrity Supervisory Board has approved the principle of combining both anti-corruption and anti-doping functions within a single, combined and expanded integrity organisation for professional tennis. Under current arrangements, the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP) covers all betting-related corruption issues, while separately the Tennis Anti-Doping Programme (TADP) is administered on behalf of the sport by the ITF - https://www.itftennis.com/antidoping/home.aspx
“We are confident there will be significant benefits from integrating these two strong programmes into a single organisation. They include enhanced information sharing between the anti-doping and anti-corruption teams and the opportunity to join up education and support for players,” explained Board Chair, Jennie Price.
Under the proposed new structure, anti-corruption and anti-doping will combine in a single location with shared services, including player education. Importantly in terms of governance, the new organisation will be operationally independent of the sport. It is envisaged that TADP cases will benefit from the investigative expertise available through the Tennis Integrity Unit.
To ensure a seamless transfer of functions, the new organisation (which will be named to appropriately reflect its wider role) will take on full responsibility for tennis anti-doping from the ITF on 1 January 2021.
Work is already underway to implement the detailed measures required to deliver the expanded integrity body. Central to managing that process will be the recruitment of a new chief executive officer to establish and lead the restructured organisation. An international search for that position is well advanced through the specialist recruitment agency SRI, with the intention of making an appointment before the end of 2019.
The Tennis Integrity Supervisory Board consists of five independent members: Jennie Price CBE, Chair, Sir Philip Craven, Avril Martindale, Sal Perna AM and Bob Harayda, and senior representatives from the four International Governing Bodies of tennis; Mark Young, ATP, Steve Simon, WTA, David Haggerty, ITF and Philip Brook CBE, Grand Slam Board.
Source: 25 September 2019, TIU Tennis https://elinkeu.clickdimensions.com/m/1/84431288/p1-b19268-be24759f2dd04be781665bdb5777ce84/1/50/8c60540c-9601-4cc3-8e39-2d9c0d031f87
Ceferin targets match-fixing and broadcast piracy in push to protect game
Two separate initiatives, one targeting match-fixing, the other pirate broadcasting, are being launched by UEFA.
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin made the announcement at a post-executive committee press conference on Tuesday but acknowledged that tackling matchfixing – a priority of his predecessor Michel Platini – would be a major challenge.
“We will launch a feasibility study into the creation of an independent European agency against match fixing. We start to work from now on,” Ceferin said.
“It’s a big subject. What exactly is going to happen here because obviously, in previous cases, there’s been some UEFA frustration that some national jurisdictions weren’t cooperating or didn’t do enough to help.
“Is this agency designed to get more prosecutions going, or faster action? What are the details and how will it operate?
“We don’t have all the details yet, but the most important thing is cooperation with governments, because our problem always was and always is that, even if we know many things, each has to be prosecuted.”
“The main problem is that our jurisdiction ends at football. We cannot tap phones, we cannot put people in prison, and with those servers being 10,000km from Europe, it’s also a bit of a problem.”
Amid the global outcry over Saudi Arabia’s theft of their broadcast rights by pirate broadcaster beoutQ, Ceferin also disclosed that “a new anti-piracy strategy, aiming at protecting the rights of broadcasters” was presented to exco members, without providing further details.
UEFA also announced that the 2021 Champions League final will be played in St Petersburg, with Munich selected for 2022 and Wembley for 2023.
In awarding the venues for the next three years, UEFA has clearly taken into account not only the likely demand for tickets but also the importance of flights and transport infrastructure following widespread complaints about staging last season’s Europa League final in far-off Baku. UEFA have also given the 2021 Europa League final to Seville which beat Georgia’s submission of Tbilisi.
And UEFA have also decided that the video assistant referee system, implemented in last season’s Champions League but still fraught with inconsistency, will be expanded to apply in the knockout stages of the Europa League.
Source: 25 September 2019, Inside World Football, Football https://www.insideworldfootball.com/2019/09/25/ceferin-targets-match-fixing-broadcast-piracy-push-protect-game/
FIFA / CONCACAF
Former FIFA vice-president and ex-CONCACAF general secretary banned for life
Former FIFA vice-president Eugenio Figueredo and ex-Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) general secretary Enrique Sanz have been banned for life by FIFA after being found guilty of bribery.
FIFA said Figueredo, who served as President of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) from 2013 to 2014, had been involved in a bribery scheme in relation to "awarding contracts to companies for the media and marketing rights to CONMEBOL competitions" during the period from 2005 to 2014.
The Uruguayan official was among those arrested in dawn raids on the luxury Baur au Lac hotel in Zurich in May 2015.
The 87-year-old succeeded Nicolás Leoz, a key suspect in the FIFA corruption scandal investigated by the United States Department of Justice who died last month, as CONMEBOL President after the Paraguayan stepped down citing health reasons in 2013.
Figueredo has also been fined CHF 1 million (£814,000/$1 million/€915,000).
Sanz, who was sacked from the role in 2015 following a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe into corruption at the worldwide body, had been involved in the "negotiation of bribe payments in the scope of various bribery schemes", FIFA said.
This included tournaments organised by FIFA, CONCACAF, the Caribbean Football Union and CONMEBOL.
The Colombian official has been banned from any football-related activity for life and fined CHF100,000 (£82,000/$100,000/€92,000).
Sanz took over as CONCACAF general secretary from Chuck Blazer, banned for life by FIFA in 2011 for "many acts of misconduct".
Blazer, who worked undercover with prosecutors in the United States after pleading guilty to charges of bribery, money laundering and tax evasion, died at the age of 72 in July 2017.
Sanz worked for marketing company Traffic Sports USA - heavily implicated in the widespread corruption scandal - before joining CONCACAF.
Figueredo and Sanz are the latest to be sanctioned for their involvement in the scandal following jailed former CONMEBOL President and FIFA vice-president Juan Angel Napout, banned for life by FIFA earlier this month.
Source: 2 October 2019, Inside the Games Football https://www.insidethegames.biz/index.php/articles/1085456/life-ban-for-former-concacaf-official
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