INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 29 May 2018 - 11 June 2018

Tennis racket and ball

In Africa, a two-year investigation into football has revealed footage of over 100 referees and officials being bribed before games, with 15 Ghanaian referees being accused of corruption allegations. As a result, FIFA’s Independent Ethics Committee banned Ghana’s Football Association (GFA) president over corruption.

In Europe, an Armenian-Belgian organized crime group actively involved in manipulating professional tennis competitions has been disrupted and 13 suspects have been arrested in 21 house searches across 12 different locations in Belgium. In this connection, five Armenians have been charged with corruption, money laundering, forgery and membership of a criminal organization.

Following a Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) investigation, an Ukrainian tennis player has been banned for life and fined $100,000 after being found guilty of match-fixing and facilitating betting.

In Croatia, former Dinamo Zagreb director was sentenced to six and a half years in prison for embezzlement and tax evasion. He was accused with three other former officials for embezzling 15 million euros through fictitious deals made during transfers of several football players to foreign clubs.

In terms of legislation, Swiss voted a new gambling law which will block all foreign betting sites in the country and will only allow Swiss-certified casinos and firms to operate.

In Asia, Sri Lanka plans to enact tougher laws and create a special police unit to deal with match-fixing following a documentary exposing corruption in cricket.

In South East Asia, a report alleges that several Dota 2 teams have been practicing or approached to fix tournaments. Fears grow that competitive videogaming is vulnerable to corruption as markets are growing quicker than any other sports betting. In 2018, around £45bn is expected to be bet on eSports worldwide and at least £120bn by 2020.

In terms of good practices, the Council of Europe calls for the urgent adoption of convention against match-fixing and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) welcomes efforts of member states to adopt resolution 7/8 on corruption in sport. Also, UEFA and the Council of Europe signed a memorandum of understanding which formalizes their cooperation.

We welcome submissions on best practices, major developments, new trends and relevant articles for publication in the bulletin. We also welcome hard copies of publications that your Organization is producing in the field of sports corruption at the below address.

The next bi-weekly bulletin will be circulated on Monday, 25 June 2018.



Five Armenians charged in Belgium over tennis match-fixing

Five Armenians have been charged in Belgium with corruption, money laundering and other crimes as part of an international investigation into match-fixing in tennis, prosecutors said Wednesday. They were among 13 people held in Belgium on Tuesday as simultaneous raids were carried out in the United States, Germany, France, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Netherlands.

An investigating judge in Belgium then issued a formal arrest warrant for five people, "all of Armenian nationality," the federal prosecutor's office said.

"They were charged with corruption, money laundering, forgery and membership of a criminal organisation."

The judge ordered the further detention of the five Armenians and the release of the eight other people, following questioning, the office said in a statement. The raids were part of an international probe into an Armenian-Belgian criminal network suspected of bribing players to throw games over the last four years.

Belgian prosecutors said the matches were on the low-level Futures and Challenger circuits, away from the gaze of television coverage and where meagre prize money leaves players susceptible to backhanders.

Prosecutors said Tuesday the probe showed the criminal network worked to bribe professional tennis players to fix matches and fraudulently boost the winnings of bettors who knew.

They said the suspects, usually jobless with financial problems, would receive money to bet on matches in lower-division tournaments where prize money was around $5,000 to $15,000. They said players in such tournaments are easier to corrupt because the matches are not filmed, adding organisers of fixed matches generate considerable cash.

Belgian authorities, who were first alerted to suspicious betting activity in 2015, said the criminal network "would not shrink from violence."

It also used its contacts to move large sums of money abroad anonymously, they added.

- Match-fixing "tsunami" -

The prosecutor's office identified the five by their first names and last initials: Grigor S., 27, Artur Y., 30, Lendrush H., 30, Jirair I., 54, and Hayg S., 34.

It added that Belgian police seized 250,000 euros in the raids as well as documents for analysis.

The Independent Review of Integrity in Tennis report warned in April that the lower levels of the sport were engulfed in betting-related corruption.

It spoke of a "tsunami" of match-fixing in non-elite tennis.

The report said the problems stemmed from too many players in the likes of the Futures and Challenger circuits not earning enough to make a living, coupled with the rise of online betting.

There are around 15,000 professional tennis players but only the top 250 women and the top 350 men even manage to break even before coaching costs, lawyer Adam Lewis, who chaired the review panel, warned in April.

After surveying more than 3,000 players as well as tournament organisers, officials and betting operators, the panel found "evidence of some issues" at Grand Slams and Tour events, but it did not uncover proof of a widespread problem at those higher levels.

The panel was set up in 2016 following allegations made by the BBC and Buzzfeed that leading players, including Grand Slam winners, were involved in suspected match-fixing and that evidence had been suppressed.

In a further demonstration of the woes blighting the lower rungs of the game, Ukrainian Dmytro Badanov was handed a life ban and fined $100,000 last month for fixing a Futures match in Tunisia in 2015.

Source: 6 June 2018, AFP



Match point law enforcement: Organised crime group involved in manipulating professional tennis competitions arrested

In an international investigation led by the Belgian Police and the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office, supported by Europol, an organised crime group actively involved in manipulating professional tennis competitions has been disrupted and 13 suspects have been arrested in 21 house searches across 12 different locations in Belgium. Material of evidentiary value, including many mobile phones, computers and cash, was seized.

Several other house searches and interviews were also simultaneously coordinated in other countries targeting additional suspects of the criminal network. As part of the investigation, Belgium cooperated with investigators from Bulgaria, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Slovakia and the United States of America (with support from the FBI).

Europol provided continued analytical support throughout the investigation. On the action day Europol staff were deployed on the spot and provided real time cross-checks and analysis of the information gathered. International police cooperation across the European Union and beyond is a crucial factor in the fight against sports corruption.

The investigation revealed that an Armenian-Belgian criminal organisation operating across different countries, both in and outside Europe, actively bribed professional players on lower-tier tennis circuits. The bribed players mostly participated in the Challenger and Futures tournaments, the second and third-highest levels of professional tennis competitions respectively. The players had been bribed to obtain pre-arranged match results with the aim of betting on these fixed matches, thereby fraudulently boosting winnings. The Armenian-Belgian criminal organisation consisted of several individuals, each of whom had a specific task, including anonymously moving large sums of money abroad.

The investigation was triggered in 2015 when reports were provided by several gaming institutions indicating that many people of Armenian origin residing in Belgium may be part of this tennis match-fixing scheme.

The suspects mostly fit the same profile – no income, no job, etc. Following clear instructions, they would use cash from the criminal group to bet on lower-division foreign sports matches with modest prize money (USD 5 000–USD 15 000). These tournaments are usually not filmed, which would make the players easier to corrupt and allow the organisers of fixed matches to generate large amount of cash.

Members of the disrupted criminal network have been charged with offences of match-fixing, corruption, money laundering and participation in the activities of a criminal organisation.

Source: 5 June 2018, Europol Tennis


Allegations of Match Fixing Around SEA Dota 2 Teams Appear

A report alleges that several Dota 2 teams in South East Asia have been practicing, or approached in regards to, match fixing in tournament events.

It seems that with mainstream appeal comes mainstream problems, with a report from Indian Esports website AFK Gaming alleging that a Chinese Esports betting site has been attempting, and possibly succeeding in, match fixing in the South East Asia Dota 2 scene. The article shows evidence of a conversation between the manager of a prominent SEA Dota 2 team and a possible representative of the Chinese betting site, where the representative outlines that in return for losing some matches or giving up kills in their games, they would receive benefits as well as invites to future events.

As detailed in the images above, the manager wisely states that he wants to part of any kind of match fixing, however this is likely not the only time this kind of thing has happened. AFK Gaming reached out to the representatives seen in the pictures above, to pose as an interested party who would be willing to potentially become involved in match fixing. While no actual terms were discussed, both parties were confirmed to be working from the same source, pointing towards a match fixing problem much more prevalent than previously thought.

Source: Zac Cameron, 2 June 2018, Twin Galaxies



African referees filmed taking cash

A two-year undercover investigation into football in Africa has revealed footage of over 100 referees and officials taking cash before games.

Source: 7 June 2018, BBC News


Anas expose: Referee Samuel Sukah, 14 others accused of corruption

Some 15 Ghanaian referees are to respond to corruption allegations following the undercover investigation piece by journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas. sources say letters have been written to the concerned referees through the Referees Association of Ghana.

The accused referees include, James Osafo, Jason Nunoo, Kennedy Bentil, Adams Badiu, Alhassan Badiu, Safi Adade, Samuel Sukah and Kyereme Yeboah.

The rest are Cecil Flecther, Nathan Anafo, Harry Atitonu, Umar Teni Wellington, Charles Dawouna and Rahman Salifu.

Anas will tomorrow Wednesday June 6,2018 premier his latest investigative piece which centers mainly on the football community in the country.

Ahead of the premier, President of the Ghana Football Association Kwasi Nyantakyi is on a police enquiry bail after he was arrested for allegedly using President Akufo-Addo’s name fraudulently in the yet-to-be aired video.

Source: 5 June 2018, Ghana Web



Corruption: Ghana’s FA Boss Nyantakyi Gets 90-Day FIFA Ban

The Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) Independent Ethics Committee has banned Ghana’s Football Association (GFA) President Kwesi Nyantakyi over corruption. Nyantakyi’s ban was confirmed by the ethics committee on Friday.

His ban comes following an investigative piece from ace investigative journalist Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ on corruption in Ghana Football where the GFA boss was caught on camera collecting cash from undercover reporters.

A statement by the ethics committee reads: “Ghana Football Association president Kwasi Nyantakyi has been banned from all football related activities for 90 days by independent Ethics Committee

“The chairperson of the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee has provisionally banned the President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA) and FIFA Council member, Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi, for a duration of 90 days.

“The duration of the ban may be extended for an additional period not exceeding 45 days. During this time, Mr Nyantakyi is banned from all football activities at both national and international level (administrative, sports or any other).The ban comes into force immediately.

“The decision was taken upon the request of the chairperson of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee carrying out the formal investigation proceedings into Mr Nyantakyi, pursuant to art. 83 par. 1 and art. 84 par. 2 of the FIFA Code of Ethics.

This development comes on the heels of the suspension of all football-related activities by the government over the scandal in which over 100 people were nabbed.

Source: 8 June 2018, Complete Sports Nigeria



Lifetime ban and $100,000 fine for Dmytro Badanov match-fixing offences

Ukrainian tennis player Dmytro Badanov has been banned for life and fined $100,000 after being found guilty of tennis match-fixing offences by an independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer (AHO).

Mr Badanov, 30, was found to have breached the terms of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (Program) by contriving the outcome of a match at the ITF Futures F23 tournament in El Kantaoui, Tunisia in September 2015 and a match at the ITF Futures F26 event played in Cairo, Egypt in September 2016.

He was also convicted of a charge of facilitating betting, linked to the match fixing offences in Tunisia and Egypt.

The case was brought following an investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit. It was adjudicated by independent AHO Prof Richard H. McLaren, who announced his decision today (29 May 2018).

The lifetime ban applies with immediate effect and means that Mr Badanov is prohibited from competing in, or attending, any tournament or event organised or sanctioned by the governing bodies of the sport.

The Section D breaches of the Program committed by the player are:


D.1.d. No Covered Person shall, directly or indirectly, contrive or attempt to contrive the outcome or any other aspect of any Event.

Facilitating betting:

D.1.b.No Covered Person shall, directly or indirectly, solicit or facilitate any other person to wager on the outcome or any other aspect of any Event or any other tennis competition. For the avoidance of doubt, to solicit or facilitate to wager shall include, but not be limited to: display of live tennis betting odds on a Covered Person website; writing articles for a tennis betting publication or website; conducting personal appearances for a tennis betting company or any other company or entity directly affiliated with a tennis betting company; and appearing in commercials encouraging others to bet on tennis.

Mr Badanov achieved a career-high ranking of 463 in singles in March 2015. He is currently unranked.

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: 29 May 2018, Tennis Integrity Unit




Swiss vote to block foreign betting sites in referendum

Swiss voters have overwhelmingly backed a new gambling law which will block foreign betting sites. The new Gambling Act won the support of 72.9% of voters, according to final results, despite accusations that the law amounts to online censorship.

Due to take effect in 2019, the act, which will be one of the strictest in Europe, allows only Swiss-certified casinos and gaming firms to operate. The government says it is designed to tackle gambling addiction. Both houses of parliament have already passed the legislation.

While the bill will let Swiss companies offer online gambling for the first time, it will also block all foreign betting sites in the country, something opponents say amounts to "censorship of the internet". Various youth wings from political parties garnered the 50,000 signatures necessary to stage the referendum in an attempt to overturn the act. The government insists the act is necessary to enforce strict rules, like blocking known addicts, to help tackle the problem.

Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said the law would be "indispensable" in the fight, but also said it would allow the government to tax gambling revenue and direct revenues to fund anti-gambling measures.

Gamblers in the country spend roughly 250 million Swiss francs ($253m; £189m) per year on unregulated foreign betting sites, according to the government. But campaigners say the move will actually cost the government money, as the new law raises the threshold on taxable winnings from 1,000 Swiss francs to 1 million.

Before the vote, Luzian Franzini, co-president of the Greens' youth group, told the AFP news agency that the act set "a very dangerous precedent". Mr Franzini spoke of a "generation gap" between young voters angry about the law and the lawmakers who passed the law.

"They may not really have understood what this could do to the internet," he said.

Source: 10 June 2018, BBC


Council of Europe (COE)

Council of Europe calls for urgent adoption of convention against match fixing

The Council of Europe has called for the urgent adoption of a new treaty designed to combat match-fixing.

The convention on the manipulation of sports competitions, or Macolin convention as it is known, was adopted by the Council of Europe (CoE) in 2014 but is yet to be ratified by all its members.

Speaking in Brussels, Gabriella Battaini-Dragon, deputy Secretary-General of the Strasbourg-based CoE, said the convention is the only international, legally binding instrument “that can secure and sustain global cooperation to fight manipulation of sports competitions effectively.

She added, “Its ratification and entry into force are now urgent.

The convention on the manipulation of sports competitions, or Macolin convention as it is known, was adopted by the Council of Europe (CoE) in 2014 but is yet to be ratified by all its members.

Speaking in Brussels, Gabriella Battaini-Dragon, deputy Secretary-General of the Strasbourg-based CoE, said the convention is the only international, legally binding instrument “that can secure and sustain global cooperation to fight manipulation of sports competitions effectively.

She added, “Its ratification and entry into force are now urgent.

Source: Martin Banks, 7 June 2018, The Parliament Magazine

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka plans tougher laws against match fixing

Colombo - Sri Lanka will enact tougher laws and create a special police unit to deal with match-fixing following a TV documentary exposing global corruption in cricket, the sports minister said Thursday. Faiszer Musthapha said existing laws were inadequate to deal with match-fixing and other forms of cheating exposed in the Al Jazeera documentary.

The minister said the International Cricket Council (ICC) had advised him to legislate against the practice after three Sri Lanka officials were filmed agreeing to sway matches.

"I am getting new laws drafted for this purpose and I am also proposing a special police unit to enforce the proposed legislation," Musthapha told reporters in Colombo after returning home from talks with the ICC in Dubai.

Sri Lanka's cricket board has already suspended three of its employees - two coaches and the curator of an international stadium - after they were caught in the undercover sting by Al Jazeera.

The board has also lodged a complaint with police, who have launched a criminal investigation.

"Cricket's Match-Fixers", broadcast on May 27, suggested that England and Australia players had also been involved in match-fixing in India.

England captain Joe Root and Australia skipper Tim Paine have dismissed the allegations relating to their respective teams.

Musthapha was in Dubai explaining to ICC officials why a Sri Lankan appeals court last week suspended elections for top positions at the cricket board.

Former board president Thilanga Sumathipala is seeking re-election but has faced accusations of being linked to gambling. He denies the charges.

Source: 7 June 2018, Sport24

UEFA; Council of Europe

UEFA and the Council of Europe sign Memorandum of Understanding

UEFA and the Council of Europe have signed today in Strasbourg a historic memorandum of understanding.

Landmark agreement outlines plans to work closely together in areas of common interest

UEFA and the Council of Europe have signed a historic memorandum of understanding, which formalises and enhances their cooperation in the interests of the long-term development of sport and its role in society.

The memorandum was signed today at the Council of Europe headquarters in Strasbourg, France, by the UEFA President, Aleksander eferin, and the Council of Europe Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland.

The memorandum focuses on four main areas of cooperation: human rights, integrity and governance in sport; safety and security at football matches; mutual cooperation in view of major football events; as well as institutional cooperation by means of regular dialogue, joint initiatives, exchanges of good-practice and targeted projects.

We are pleased to enter into a formal and strategic partnership with the Council of Europe,” Mr eferin said. “I am looking forward to expanding our dialogue even further, thus taking our cooperation to the next level. Together, we can make progress to promote the positive values of football and the European sports model in general.

Following the signing of the memorandum of understanding, the Council of Europe Secretary General, Thorbjørn Jagland stated: “Sport is of enormous benefit to society and we should maximise its positive potential. Our partnership will help us promote human rights and good governance in sport on the basis of the shared common European values of diversity and solidarity.

The newly signed memorandum outlines that UEFA and the Council of Europe share a number of values and principles. These include respect for human rights and dignity, democracy, non-discrimination, cultural diversity, tolerance, sustainability, solidarity, ethics in sport and a commitment to good governance.

The signing of this memorandum emphasises the strengthening of UEFA’s relations with European public authorities. Earlier this year, a renewed and extended arrangement for cooperation was signed with the European Commission in Brussels.

Source: 30 May 2018,


United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

Anti-corruption action needed to safeguard sports as tool for peace and development, says UNODC chief

Vienna, 5 June 2018 - The international community must step up responses to prevent corruption and organized crime in sports and major sporting events, said Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Mr. Fedotov spoke at the opening of a conference on safeguarding sport from corruption, organized by UNODC, along with Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa.

"There is a growing understanding and appreciation that actions taken to safeguard sport from corruption in fact represent an investment, with clear economic and social benefits. This meeting is an opportunity to build on this momentum, share resources and good practices," he said.

"Together we can promote integrity, stop criminals from exploiting sport for illicit gain and harness the power of sport as a force for development and peace."

The Executive Director highlighted UNODC work to support efforts to tackle corruption in sport, and emphasized the importance of partnerships with the International Olympic Committee, FIFA and others to promote sports integrity worldwide.

He welcomed efforts by Member States, including the adoption of resolution 7/8 on Corruption in Sport, at the seventh session of the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption in November.

The two-day conference brings together representatives from national law enforcement agencies, anti-corruption and sports organizations, and the private sector. Sessions address challenges including detecting corruption and enforcement, overcoming corruption in public procurement, addressing match-fixing and countering convergences with other crimes such as cybercrime, human trafficking and migrant smuggling.

Source: 5 June 2018, UNODC


Korea (Rep. of)

Match-fixing rife in eSports and forecast to rise

There were 39 significant alerts into match-fixing in eSports in 2017, as fears grow that competitive videogaming is vulnerable to corruption.

At least a third of these incidents are likely to have been genuine match-fixing, i understands. The rate of suspicious alerts has increased further in 2018.

As eSports grows, more people will become interested in betting on it, both from a normal punting point of view, but also from a corrupt point of view because it’ll be worth it,” Ian Smith, the head of the Esports Integrity Coalition, told i.

Historically, it’s just not been worth the investment in terms of time and bribes and resources for the fixers – there just hasn’t been the incentive because you can make more money in tennis or football. But that’s shifting – our markets are growing quicker than any other sports betting.

In 2018, around £45bn is expected to be bet on eSports worldwide. This figure is expected to rise to at least £120bn by 2020. There have already been a series of match-fixing scandals in eSports, concentrated in South Korea and China, leading to players and fixers being arrested after the fixers had paid the players money to deliberately underperform.

Sports gambling is illegal in both countries, making monitoring suspicious betting in these eSports centres particularly difficult.

Source: Tim Wigmore, 1 June 2018, iNews




Ex-soccer boss sentenced in Croatia after corruption trial

OSIJEK, Croatia (AP) Former Dinamo Zagreb director Zdravko Mamic was sentenced Wednesday to 6 1/2 years in prison for embezzlement and tax evasion over deals that included the sale of Croatia World Cup stars Luka Modric and Dejan Lovren.

Mamic, 58, was not in court in the eastern town of Osijek when judges read the verdict and sentence. He left for neighboring Bosnia-Herzegovina a day ahead of the court session and described the verdict as ”monstrous.

The court issued an arrest warrant for Mamic, who said he is not returning before the end of the appeals process.

Mamic has been an influential and often outspoken figure in Croatian soccer and politics. He was accused with three other former officials of embezzling 15 million euros ($17.6 million) through fictitious deals made during transfers of several former Dinamo players to foreign clubs, including Real Madrid midfielder Modric and Liverpool defender Lovren.

Modric, who will lead Croatia at the upcoming World Cup in Russia, faces perjury charges for testimony he gave during the trial about his financial deals with Mamic. Prosecutors claimed Modric gave a false court statement in June last year about his 2008 transfer from Dinamo to Tottenham. Modric has denied any wrongdoing.

The court on Wednesday also found Mamic guilty of tax evasion worth 1.6 million euros.

His brother Zoran, a former Dinamo coach, was sentenced to 4 years, 11 months in prison.

I never dreamed I would be sentenced for a day,” Mamic said in a video call from Bosnia, threatening to retaliate against ”people who staged all this against me.

Those monsters will end up where they belong, and I will get some rest,” he said.

Mamic has Croatian and Bosnian citizenship.

Source: AP, 6 June 2018, Fox Sports


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