The Irish police is investigating alleged match-fixing at several League of Ireland football games where unusual betting patterns were recorded. In Spain, players, coaches and team officials were in court to defend themselves in the case involving a top-tier Spanish league game between Levante and Zaragoza at the end of the 2010-11 season.
In terms of sanctions, two Hong Kong brothers have been banned for life by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after being found guilty of match-fixing offences. Their team mate has also been suspended for five years following an investigation by an ICC tribunal.
The Malta Gaming Authority has created a new Sports Integrity Unit in an effort to increase focus and resources dedicated to preventing the manipulation of sporting events and competitions.
In the United States, Oregon became the 12th state to offer legalized sports betting following the repeal of a federal ban in 2018.
World Rugby (WR) is operating an education-focused integrity programme to ‘Keep Rugby Onside’ at Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan. WR will rely on close collaboration with the International Betting Integrity Association, Japanese Police and INTERPOL as well as its existing partnership with Sportradar and the International Olympic Committee.
Officials representing over 110 governments, international sports organizations, academia, private sector as well as INTERPOL, attended the two-day conference “Safeguarding Sport from Corruption: towards effective implementation of resolution 7/8 on corruption in sport” organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
The Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions CETS 215 has entered into force on 1 September 2019. Italy, Republic of Moldova, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and Ukraine are the first States Parties to the Macolin Convention.
In terms of doping, a former 800 metres Belarusian world champion has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned substance with similar properties to anabolic steroids that is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency. A South African World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year in 2018 faces a four-year ban after testing positive for performance-enhancing substances.
Lastly, Kenya’s Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission is investigating the management of Sports Kenya over irregular award of tenders worth over Sh5 billion for the construction and renovation sports facilities across the country. Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is conducting a new investigation into the country's Football Federation regarding fraud allegations over how sponsorship money meant for the development of football in the country has been stolen. French authorities investigating corruption in international sports believe a Swiss partner of Japanese advertising giant Dentsu Inc played a "central and essential role" in deals used to embezzle sponsorship money and have asked Switzerland to raid its office and seize evidence.
The next bi-weekly bulletin will be circulated on Monday, 23 September 2019.
Investigation into alleged match fixing in some League of Ireland matches
Gardaí are examining evidence seized during the search of a sports ground in the south of the country last night as part of an investigation into alleged match fixing at League of Ireland football games.
Officers from the Garda's National Economic Crime Bureau seized mobile phones as part of their investigation, which began after the FAI was alerted to unusual betting patterns on matches played this year.
Detectives are looking for texts, email, phone messages, online or other communications that could relate to match fixing.
The FAI said in a statement today it was awaiting the outcome of the garda investigation. It is understood that UEFA has also been informed.
Detectives are examining unusual betting patterns in a number of matches where they suspect deliberate fouls may have been committed to ensure one team lost and money was paid out.
The bets were made on teams losing the games by a certain number of goals, more than one, and money was paid out on the result.
Detectives also noticed that large numbers of home fans in one part of the country were successfully betting against their own team to lose.
This occurred in a number of games and suspicions arose that the matches had been fixed and that those placing the bets knew beforehand what the score would be.
The pattern was first identified by a gambling company's watchdog, which informed UEFA, which in turn informed the FAI, who reported the matter to gardaí.
Gardaí also spoke to a number of players and staff.
Gardaí say they are investigating potential conspiracy to defraud and corruption offences.
Source: Paul Reynolds, 4 September 2019, RTE
High-profile match-fixing case begins in Spain
Spain's most high-profile match-fixing soccer trial got underway Tuesday with more than 30 players appearing before a judge.
Players, coaches and team officials were in court in Valencia to defend themselves in the case involving a top-tier Spanish league game between Levante and Zaragoza at the end of the 2010-11 season.
More than 40 people have been accused, including former México coach Javier Aguirre, who managed Zaragoza at the time.
They potentially face two years in prison and a six-year soccer ban if found guilty.
Among the players accused are Ander Herrera, now with Paris Saint-Germain; former Leicester midfielder Vicente Iborra; former Atlético Madrid captain Gabi Fernández; River Plate midfielder Leonardo Ponzio; Serbian defender Ivan Obradovic; Lazio forward Felipe Caicedo; and Uruguay striker Cristhian Stuani.
Some of the players have asked not to be in court for the entire duration of the trial, which is expected to last until the end of September.
Lawyers for Zaragoza and some players called for a mistrial on Tuesday because current Spanish league president Javier Tebas was a lawyer to one of the Zaragoza players at the time.
They claimed Tebas broke lawyer-client privilege because it was the league that later made the accusation that led to the trial.
Prosecutors cited evidence that Zaragoza paid 965,000 euros (around $1 million) to Levante's players to lose a match to Zaragoza.
Zaragoza's 2-1 victory in the final round of the season allowed the team to avoid relegation. Levante was already safe.
Prosecutors said the money allegedly given to Levante players was divided among the squad. Prosecutors contend that players in both teams were aware of the match-fixing.
Prosecutors said they found evidence the money was transferred to Levante players after analyzing tax reports and banking transactions at the time. Ahead of the trial, all the defendants denied any wrongdoing.
A lower court had shelved the case but it was reopened last year after an appeal by prosecutors in Valencia, where Levante is based and where the match was played.
Even if found guilty, it's unlikely that those being accused would face actual prison time because sentences of two years or less for first-time offenders are often suspended in Spain.
Zaragoza returned to the second division in 2013-14. Levante is currently in Spain's top tier.
Source: TALES AZZONI, 3 September 2019, The News Tribune
Hong Kong brothers banned for life by ICC for match-fixing
Brothers Irfan and Nadeem Ahmed of Hong Kong have been banned for life by the International Cricket Council (ICC) after being found guilty of match-fixing offences.
Their team mate Haseeb Amjad has also been suspended for five years following an investigation by an ICC tribunal.
The ICC said the three players "fixed or contrived to fix matches, failed, for reward, to perform and failed to disclose approaches to fix during a number of international fixtures across a two-year period".
Alex Marshall, general manager of the ICC anti-corruption unit, said Irfan and Nadeem Ahmed were involved in a "premeditated and sophisticated" scheme to fix international matches.
The brothers also sought to "corrupt others", Marshall added.
Irfan Ahmed, who had served a 30-month ban for failing to report a match-fixing approach before a separate investigation was opened earlier this year, was found guilty of nine breaches of the ICC code.
His brother Nadeem, and Amjad, each committed three offences under the code.
The ICC said the charges related to Hong Kong's matches against Scotland, Zimbabwe and Canada between January 2014 and March 2016.
"This has been a long and complex investigation which has uncovered systematic attempts to influence moments in matches by experienced international cricketers over a period of time," said Marshall.
"Their conduct was premeditated and sophisticated and each of the Ahmed brothers sought to corrupt others.
"The main offences relate to the Hong Kong matches against Scotland and Canada where the players fixed specific overs.
"These matches were won by Hong Kong so it did not materially affect the results of the tournament, however I cannot reiterate strongly enough to any player considering this that we treat any form of fixing – spot or match – with the upmost seriousness."
Source: Liam Morgan, 27 August 2019, Inside the Games
Italy, Republic of Moldova, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and Ukraine
The Macolin Convention has entered into force
The Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions CETS 215 has entered into force on 1 September 2019
Italy, Republic of Moldova, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland and Ukraine are the first States Parties to the Macolin Convention. This first group of countries paves the way for the work of the Convention's Follow-up Committee, which will be set up in the coming months. Several years of efforts and mobilization by a large number of national and international actors have made it possible to take this crucial step in the fight against corruption in sport.
The promotion of the importance of the Macolin Convention will continue vigorously within the framework of the Macolin Process in order to attract as many ratifications as possible, in order to broaden and strengthen the effectiveness of the Follow-up Committee.
Source: 1 September 2019, Council of Europe
Bill seeking action against match-fixing tabled in Parliament
KATHMANDU: The Ministry of Youth and Sports has tabled a new bill in Parliament seeking action against athletes and their accomplices involved in match-fixing.
The bill seeks three years of imprisonment and imposition of Rs 30,000 fine against athletes and their accomplices if found involved in the illegal activity. It also demands confiscation of the money transacted for match-fixing.
At present, the bill is under deliberation at the education and health committee under the House of Representatives. Twelve lawmakers have registered proposals seeking an amendment to the bill. The bill has landed in the HoR after its passage from the National Assembly.
Earlier, in an HoR session, lawmakers Bimala Bishwokarma and Aasha Kumari BK demanded up to Rs 500,000 in fine and maximum imprisonment against those involved in match-fixing.
Source: 2 September 2019, Khabarhub
Oregon becomes 12th state to offer legalized sports betting
Legalized sports betting has gone live in Oregon after the Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Lincoln City opened its sports wagering lounge on Tuesday.
Oregon is now the 12th US state to offer some form of legal sports wagering following the repeal of a federal ban in 2018.
Sports wagering at Chinook Winds, which is owned by the Siletz tribe, is limited to the casino. However, the Oregon Lottery plans to launch its online and app-based sports betting offering, the Oregon Lottery Scoreboard, in the coming weeks.
Geolocation services will ensure Oregon Lottery Scoreboard play occurs within state boundaries, and not on tribal lands.
The Oregon Lottery had planned to launch the platform in time for the start of the NFL season but that timeline will not be met.
Legalized sports betting will go live in Indiana on Sunday, when a new state law takes effect.
Source: SportBusiness staff, USA, 29 August 2019, SportBusiness https://www.sportbusiness.com/news/oregon-becomes-12th-state-to-offer-legalized-sports-betting/
Former 800m world champion Arzamasova gets provisional ban for doping
(Reuters) - Former 800 metres world champion Marina Arzamasova of Belarus has been provisionally suspended after testing positive for a banned substance, the Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) said on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old, who won the 800 metres gold at the 2015 World Championships in Beijing, has tested positive for LGD-4033, a substance with similar properties to anabolic steroids that is prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency.
“The AIU confirms a provisional suspension against Belarusian middle-distance runner Marina Arzamasova for a violation of the IAAF Anti-Doping Rules,” it said in a tweet.
The AIU oversees integrity issues in athletics including doping on behalf of the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), the sport’s global governing body.
Source: Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson, 27 August 2019, Reuters Athletics
Aphiwe Dyantyi: Springbok wing faces doping ban
South Africa wing Aphiwe Dyantyi faces a four-year ban after testing positive for performance-enhancing substances.
The 25-year-old - World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year in 2018 - failed a doping test on 2 July but requested a second sample be tested.
The South African Institute of Drug Free Sport (Saids) confirmed on Friday that the B sample also tested positive.
Dyantyi, not named in the Springboks squad for the World Cup, denies taking a prohibited substance.
The wing, who plays for the Golden Lions in Johannesburg, was provisionally suspended after the first sample was found to contain multiple anabolic steroids.
Dyantyi made his debut for South Africa against England in June 2018 and has 13 caps in total.
"SA Rugby, the Lions Rugby Company and Dyantyi are working with Saids, the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) and all other relevant authorities on the matter and no further comment can be made at this stage," a comment from South African rugby's governing body said.
Dyantyi can accept the charge and submit a plea, providing mitigating circumstances to reduce any sanction.
If he pleads not guilty, a hearing will take place before an independent panel in the next four weeks.
Source: 30 August 2019, BBC Sport
World Rugby maintains strong focus on integrity ahead of RWC 2019
World Rugby is again operating a comprehensive, education focused integrity programme to "Keep Rugby Onside" at Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan.
With less than a month before Japan 2019’s opener in Tokyo, teams, coaches and referees will all complete a mandatory anti-corruption and betting education programme.
Rugby is a sport based on its character-building values and integrity is a core one of them, shared by millions of participants worldwide.
While rugby does not have a history of match-fixing issues, the international federation strongly believes in educating teams, coaches and match officials about the risks of gambling and corruption to ensure rugby’s integrity continues to be well protected.
With the expansion of betting markets across all sports globally and unprecedented public interest in Rugby World Cup 2019, the "Keep Rugby Onside" programme provides players, team officials and others involved in the tournament with the tools and education to ensure they are not at risk of any integrity related issues.
An updated dedicated online training programme, co-funded by the European Commission and soon to be available in 13 languages, is mandatory for all teams to complete before arriving at the tournament. The training will be complimented by a face-to-face briefing by a World Rugby Integrity Officer in the team’s native language once they have landed in Japan.
World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper said: “While rugby prides itself on the strength of its values, it is imperative that we do not become complacent by thinking that rugby could not be exposed to match-fixing and other breaches of anti-corruption and betting rules. It is our responsibility to ensure fair-play and integrity are respected in every aspect of the tournament and our integrity programme is instrumental in that role, ensuring players, team staff and all others involved in the tournament are fully educated in this important area.”
Along with education efforts, World Rugby operates a sophisticated integrity framework, which includes global monitoring of betting activities, strong communication links with local and international authorities and the expansion of its Integrity Unit.
Five multilingual Integrity Officers with significant experience in rugby as well as other relevant sports and events such as cricket, horse racing, football, badminton and the Olympic Games will strengthen the existing World Rugby Integrity Unit on the ground to support teams and officials in Japan.
World Rugby will rely on close collaboration with the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), Japanese Police and Interpol as well as its existing partnership with Sportradar and the IOC’s IBIS platform to monitor and flag any suspicious betting-related activities around the tournament.
To find out more about Keep Rugby Onside, please visit integrity.worldrugby.org.
Source: 28 August 2019, Rugby World Cup
Malta regulator establishes new Sports Integrity Unit
The Malta Gaming Authority (MGA) has created a new Sports Integrity Unit in an effort to increase focus and resources dedicated to preventing the manipulation of sporting events and competitions.
The unit will gather intelligence and information relating to suspicious betting and serve as a liaison with both national and foreign regulatory authorities, law enforcement agencies, betting monitoring systems, sporting bodies and gaming operators to investigate activity.
The new unit will also work with other divisions of the MGA to implement policy initiatives, such as signing cooperation agreements with other entities focused on tackling corruption in sport.
Antonio Zerafa, who currently serves as a senior executive with the MGA, will lead the new unit as sports integrity officer. He has been with the regulator for four years, holding various positions within the Criminal Probity Screening Department.
“Having a dedicated Sports Integrity Unit is vital for the MGA’s statutory objective to ensure that gambling is free from crime, specifically the manipulation of sports competitions," MGA chief executive Heathcliff Farrugia said.
“The MGA is committing to cooperation with stakeholders to the extent permitted by law to act against a pervasive phenomenon that threatens the integrity of both the sports and the betting industries.”
The move comes after the MGA this week also released new guidelines governing licensees' advertising and established a new committee to ensure compliance with the new rules. Guidance includes a 30-point checklist for licensees that sets out responsible gaming requirements in relation to advertising and promotions.
Source: 29 August 2019, iGamingBusiness
INTEGRITY IN SPORT EVENTS
Sport cannot fulfil its role to promote peace if it is tarnished by criminal activity, says UNODC Executive Director
Vienna, 4 September 2019 - The adoption of resolution 7/8 by the Conference of State Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in November 2017 was a landmark moment for international efforts to prevent and combat corruption in sport, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Yury Fedotov said at an international Conference on Corruption in Sport in Vienna.
Officials representing over 110 Governments, international sports organizations, academia, private sector and media, as well as other stakeholders, attended the two-day conference "Safeguarding Sport from Corruption: towards effective implementation of resolution 7/8 on corruption in sport" on 3 and 4 September 2019. They shared good practices and information resources for tackling corruption in sport and for supporting all stakeholders in proactively implementing resolution 7/8.
Mr. Fedotov also highlighted the enhanced partnership agreement with the International Olympic Committee signed in 2018 that has enabled UNODC to deliver, jointly with the IOC and with INTERPOL, as well as the importance of partnerships in addressing this issue: "Building and developing sustainable partnerships is an essential part of our efforts. We value our collaboration with UN and other partners, including UNESCO, ILO, EUROPOL, the Council of Europe, the European Commission and OECD, who are committed to strengthening integrity in sport and tackling other forms of organized crime," he said.
Issues addressed at the meeting included legal and law enforcement issues around tackling corruption in sport, raising awareness about partnerships such as the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport (IPACS), advancing gender equality and the empowerment of women in sport, addressing corruption risks linked to major sports events, strengthening governance in sport, and tackling competition manipulation and highlighting ways to stop illegal betting.
"UNODC will look to continue to provide support to officials from Government and sport organizations who are interested in further developing the capacities needed to address corruption in sport," the Director for Treaty Affairs at UNODC, John Brandolino said during his closing remarks.
Source: 4 September 2019, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
French investigators focus on Dentsu partner in sports corruption probe
NEW YORK/PARIS: French authorities investigating corruption in international sports believe a Swiss partner of Japanese advertising giant Dentsu Inc played a "central and essential role" in deals used to embezzle sponsorship money and have asked Switzerland to raid its office and seize evidence, according to a person with knowledge of the probe and documents related to the case reviewed by Reuters.
French investigators have not accused Dentsu or its partner, Lucerne-based Athletics Management & Services, of wrongdoing. The companies work together on marketing and media rights for the International Association of Athletics Federations, the Monaco-based governing body for track and field. The IAAF's former president, Lamine Diack, and his son, Papa Massata, have been charged with embezzling from sponsorship and broadcast deals for those rights and other financial crimes in an inquiry that wrapped up in June and is set to go to trial.
The role of Dentsu and AMS could come under scrutiny in a second, ongoing inquiry by the French into alleged bribes related to the Olympics and the World Athletics Championships, the IAAF's biennial flagship event, the person with knowledge of the probe said. French investigators suspect that Tokyo's bidding committee bribed the Diacks to secure votes to host the 2020 Olympics - an allegation the committee has denied.
The 89-page indictment – known as an "ordonnance de renvoi" in French – signed by French prosecuting judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke says AMS played a "central and essential role in the process" that diverted sponsorship funds to Papa Massata Diack. AMS ceded to him IAAF rights for parts of the world and partnered on deals that Diack used to pocket "exorbitant" commissions, the indictment says.
AMS declined to respond to a detailed list of questions from Reuters. Dentsu said it had been unaware of the allegations in the indictment and had not been questioned in connection with the probe.
"Dentsu is not aware of any details of the indictment," Dentsu spokesman Shusaku Kannan said in a written response to Reuters.
Van Ruymbeke signed a request in May 2018 that was sent to Swiss authorities asking them to raid AMS's Lucerne office and question its executives, but to date the Swiss have not acted on it, according to a copy of the legal assistance request seen by Reuters and the person with knowledge of the probe.
The request to Switzerland and details from the indictment about AMS have not been previously reported. They highlight how a four-year-old French investigation has moved beyond a probe into governance at the IAAF and a cover-up of Russian doping into whether consulting and sponsorship contracts were used to funnel bribes to the Diacks.
France's request asked the Swiss to secure contracts between AMS and Dentsu, AMS and Papa Massata Diack's companies, and those related to five companies that struck IAAF sponsorship or broadcasting deals: Russia's VTB Bank, China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, China Central Television, and Abu Dhabi Media Corporation. It also asked for an explanation of payments tied to those contracts.
Switzerland's attorney general and its Department of Justice separately told Reuters they had received the request but referred detailed questions to the French. Van Ruymbeke and the French Financial Prosecution Office declined comment.
Samsung said it sponsored IAAF events to build its brand and promote international sports and was unaware of the embezzlement allegations. VTB denied involvement in any illicit activities and said its IAAF contracts were "an effective instrument to promote VTB in the international arena." China Central Television and Abu Dhabi Media Corporation did not respond to inquiries. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp, a state oil refiner known as Sinopec, declined to comment.
Sports federations like the IAAF typically do not have the know-how to deal with the complex business of managing marketing and broadcasting rights and gathering sponsors, so they outsource the task to agencies like Dentsu.
Tokyo-based Dentsu, the world's fifth-largest advertising agency, has made sports marketing a centerpiece of its business. The company, which also works in public relations, market research and polling, was an advisor to Tokyo's successful bid to host the 2020 Olympics and has helped Japan raise a record-setting $3.1 billion from domestic sponsors as marketing agent for the event. Dentsu also maintains close ties to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party. Abe's wife, Akie, once worked at Dentsu, as did the party's head of public relations.
Dentsu acquired most of IAAF's global rights in 2001 following the bankruptcy of International Sport and Leisure, a Swiss sports marketing company which had held them. Dentsu brought on AMS, newly formed by former ISL employees, as a partner to service the IAAF contract.
Dentsu does not own a stake in AMS. But the partnership had become so close that Dentsu Executive Officer Kiyoshi Nakamura said in a November 2016 meeting in Tokyo that the two were "completely integrated", according to a letter submitted to Van Ruymbeke by IAAF lawyer Regis Bergonzi in July 2017.
"AMS is Dentsu," Nakamura told then IAAF Chief Executive Olivier Gers at the meeting, according to the letter, which was part of a submission by Bergonzi to French authorities referenced in the indictment reviewed by Reuters.
Kannan, the Dentsu spokesman, denied Nakamura ever made such a comment and said Dentsu and AMS had a "working business relationship". Bergonzi referred Reuters to the IAAF, which did not address the episode.
As part of its partnership, AMS came to acquire IAAF rights for some territories from Dentsu. Starting around 2007 AMS transferred the rights for some markets to Papa Massata Diack, who earned millions of dollars, much of it through commissions from AMS, securing marketing and broadcasting deals in Russia, Asia and the Middle East, the indictment says.
The younger Diack was paid through his company, Pamodzi Sports Consulting, even as he was separately being paid as a marketing consultant for the IAAF, according to the indictment. His biggest payday came from a $30 million contract with VTB's agent, Russian sports marketing agency Sportima, for the bank to sponsor IAAF events from 2007 to 2011. The indictment says he kept about $10 million of that total based on an analysis by French authorities of the contracts between the firms. In a statement to Reuters, VTB said it had no control over how the "receiving party" used its funds. Sportima's Director General Oleg Manzha told Reuters he could not comment because of a non-disclosure agreement.
Papa Massata Diack was also slow in paying AMS money owed to the firm under their contract and may not have paid fully, according to transactions and correspondence cited in the indictment. With AMS passing on most of the funds to Dentsu, any such delays or shortfalls could reduce what IAAF earned under a profit-sharing agreement that kicked in after Dentsu collected revenues above a minimum threshold, according to contracts referenced in the indictment.
Papa Massata Diack is in Senegal, which has refused extradition requests and declined to provide banking records to French investigators. He told Reuters he "doesn't recognize" the French inquiry.
"Senegalese are known to be very smart and determined," he wrote in an August 8 email. "This investigation is bound for failure!!!"
Diack said he was "fully cooperating" with a separate and ongoing investigation in Senegal. A spokesman for Senegal's justice ministry did not respond to questions about cooperation with the French.
Like his son, Lamine Diack has consistently denied wrongdoing. The 86-year-old former long jumper is under house arrest in Paris. His lawyer did not respond to questions from Reuters.
Dentsu and the IAAF renewed their contract in September 2014, a year before Lamine Diack's 16-year tenure was due to end. The deal extended Dentsu's control of the IAAF's rights to 2029 and extended an agreement benefiting the son, the indictment says.
"In this way, Lamine Diack was sustaining the system in place before his departure," the indictment says. "He was tying the IAAF's hands for 15 years."
IAAF spokeswoman Nicole Jeffery said the IAAF had reformed its governance under Sebastian Coe, who replaced Lamine Diack as president. She said the IAAF was considered a victim in the case, entitling it to possible compensation, and deferred to French prosecutors as "best placed to investigate, substantiate and ultimately bring to a conclusion any and all allegations."
Van Ruymbeke closed out the first inquiry in June after charging the Diacks with corruption, money laundering and breach of trust. Four others - Gabriel Dolle, former head of the IAAF's anti-doping unit; former IAAF treasurer and former president of the Russian athletics federation Valentin Balakhnichev; Alexei Melnikov, a coach for Russian distance runners; and Habib Cisse, Lamine Diack's former legal adviser - were charged with corruption. Balakhnichev said, "I don't consider myself guilty of what I am being accused." Melnikov did not respond to requests for comment. Lawyers for Cisse and Dolle, who has sought preferential treatment in return for a guilty plea, also did not respond to questions from Reuters. A trial date has not been set.
Van Ruymbeke has since retired and handed the investigation to Benedicte De Perthuis, the judge overseeing the ongoing inquiry into whether bribes were paid to influence the awarding of the Olympics and the World Championships, according to people with knowledge of the investigation.
As part of that inquiry, French prosecutors are investigating the former head of Tokyo's Olympic bid committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, for approving $2.3 million in payments to Singaporean consultant Tan Tong Han in 2013. French prosecutors are investigating whether Tan passed the money to the younger Diack to influence the father, who was a member of the International Olympic Committee and believed to hold sway over African members' votes when Tokyo was chosen 2020 host.
A third-party panel convened by Japan's Olympic Committee to review the bribery allegations said in 2016 that Takeda approved Tan's contract in part because of a recommendation by Dentsu based on interviews with people involved in the bid. Dentsu said at the time that the bid committee had sought its advice and that it had provided information on several consultants, including Tan.
Takeda has apologized and resigned from the International Olympic Committee, but maintained his innocence.
Tan declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.
Source: Nathan Layne and Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber, 29 August 2019, Japan Today https://japantoday.com/category/crime/exclusive-french-investigators-focus-on-dentsu-partner-in-sports-corruption-probe
EACC probes Sh5bn scam at Sports Kenya
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC) is investigating the management of Sports Kenya over irregular award of tenders worth over Sh5 billion for the construction and renovation sports facilities across the country. Of interest to the EACC detectives is also the failure by Sports Kenya to remit Sh287.693 million in statutory deductions- Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and VAT taxes for previous years as well as interest and penalties charged- to the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA). Anti-graft agency CEO Twalib Mbarak said that the investigations are ongoing and those found culpable will be charged. The EACC officers are using the report of the Office of Auditor-General for the year 2017/18 currently before the National Assembly, in their investigations. The audit report notes that some of the documents sought for verification by the auditors are with the EACC.
Source: DAVID MWERE, 8 September 2019, Daily Nation https://www.nation.co.ke/sports/EACC-probes-Sh5bn-scam-at-Sports-Kenya/1090-5265292-pg9x9p/index.html
Nigeria Football Federation facing another corruption probe
Nigeria's anti-corruption agency, the EFCC, is conducting a new investigation into the country's Football Federation (NFF), it has revealed. The latest investigation comes on the back of a separate case brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and one by the Special Presidential Investigation Panel (SPIP). The latest wide-ranging investigation is looking into fraud allegations over how sponsorship money meant for the development of football in the country has been stolen. "What I can confirm is that officials of the Nigeria Football Federation are being investigated by the agency," EFCC spokesperson, Wlison Uwujaren told BBC Sport. BBC Sport understands that the investigation into the NFF will look at allegations of wrongdoing before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The inquiry is focusing on money generated from the NFF's official sponsors, domestic league's television sponsorship and payments from a former kit supplier for all the national teams. It also focus on funds provided by federal and state government for friendly matches involving the Super Eagles and the misappropriation of about US$2.7 million from the Financial Assistance Programme of football's world governing body, Fifa. In May, the NFF president Amaju Pinnick told the BBC that he and four other top officials were being "victimised" and denied any wrongdoing over the alleged misappropriation of funds case brought by the SPIP for the recovery of public property. Meanwhile, the NFF and EFCC are also awaiting a legal judgement on the second case at the Federal High Court in the capital Abuja. That corruption trial involved three NFF accounts staff - director of finance, Christopher Andekin; head of finance and accounts Jafaru Mamza and Rajan Zaka, a cashier. The trio are standing trial for allegedly embezzling US$9.5 million being grants from Fifa and Caf for the development of football in Nigeria. The accused trio have been arraigned and pleaded not guilty. The EFCC has since filed an amendment for Mr Pinnick and general secretary Muhamed Sanusi to be charged along with the trio already in court in Abuja. The matter has since been adjourned and no date has been fixed for ruling.
Source: 5 September 2019, Joy Online
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