Integrity in sport update: match-fixing cases continue in Spanish football

Weekly Media Recap 23-29 March 2015

This week, two Singaporean nationals were detained in Moldova for attempted match-fixing. They allegedly tried to bribe a member of the Moldovan Football Federation to help fix a European Under-21 qualifier.

This week, two Singaporean nationals were detained in Moldova for attempted match-fixing. They allegedly tried to bribe a member of the Moldovan Football Federation to help fix a European Under-21 qualifier.

In another development, former Juventus officials involved in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal avoided prison as their crimes were adjudged outside the time-limits.

 

CURRENT INVESTIGATION

Moldova

Moldovan top division club Dinamo-Auto have indefinitely suspended two players over allegations of match-fixing. "We condemn all attacks on the integrity of the game and we urge all, who care about football, to protect it from various negative influences and manipulation," the club said in a statement. Dinamo-Auto refused to disclose the names of the players when contacted by Reuters.

The Moldovan National Anti-Corruption Agency (NAC) last week questioned 12 players and officials following the league match between leaders Dacia Chisinau and Dinamo-Auto Tiraspol. Dacia won 6-2.

In a separate case, the NAC said two Singaporeans had been detained for attempted match-fixing. "Prosecutors have gathered evidence that they had tried to bribe a Moldovan Football Federation's vice-president with $50,000 to help fix a match which had to be played abroad," NAC said. Local media said the match under scrutiny was the European Under-21 qualifier between Belgium and Moldova on Monday.

Source: Andrew Warshaw, "Moldovans clamp down on match-fixing with suspensions and arrests ", 27 March 2015, Inside World Football, https://www.insideworldfootball.com/world-football/europe/16709-moldovans-clamp-down-on-match-fixing-with-suspensions-and-arrests

Spain

In the ongoing investigation into the alleged Levante-Zaragoza match-fixing case, former shareholder Agapito Iglesias, former secretary general Francisco Checa, former sport director Antonio Prieto and former coach Javier Aguirre testified in court. Aguirre acknowledged receiving a wire transfer from Zaragoza but claimed he didn’t consent to it. The Mexican coach received 50,000 and 35,000 euros. He stated that he was surprised to receive the money and was told by Zaragoza football club that it was a type of bonus. Aguirre claims he contacted Agapito in order to return the money. He also spoke to a friend at Caja Rural bank – who was managing his current account – who told him that he had spoken to Zaragoza to settle the issue. The Mexican coach stated that in the bank he received a sealed envelope which he returned, unopened. Both Agapito and Checa denied making any suspicious money transfers.

Prieto, who received 85,000 euros declared he believed the money was part of his salary and used it to pay his mortgage.

Source: S. Fernández / M.Á. Rodríguez, "Aguirre: "Me hicieron la transferencia sin mi permiso"", 28 March 2015, Marca, https://www.marca.com/2015/03/28/futbol/1427547504.html

Spain

In the Osasuna match-fixing case, the court has set bail for 7 of the accused: 3 million euros for former president Miguel Archanco, former director Txuma Peralta and former manager Angel Vizcay; half a million euros for former vice-president Juan Pascual and the director of the Osasuna foundation Diego Maquirriain and 100,000 euros for two real estate agents, Cristina Valencia and Alberto Noya. The last two are reportedly involved in the transfer of 900,000 euros. The destination of the funds is under investigation.

Two employees of Osasuna football club testified in court as part of the investigation into match-fixing and misappropriation of funds.

Source: "El juez impone una fianza de 10,2 millones para 7 imputados", 24 March 2015, EFE, https://futbol.as.com/futbol/2015/03/24/segunda/1427196876_409371.html

 

ODDS AND ENDS

Algeria

The Football League (LFP) reacted to an increased number of accusations of corruption and match-fixing in the professional Ligue 1 and 2 in Algeria. The LFP appealed to players, coaches and club representatives for restraint while making declarations in the context of ongoing disputes. The LFP also stated that it can initiate disciplinary procedures in the event of false accusations.

Source: "La LFP prône la «sagesse» au lieu de sévir", 25 March 2015, El Watan, https://www.elwatan.com/sports/la-lfp-prone-la-sagesse-au-lieu-de-sevir-25-03-2015-290712_110.php

International Tennis Federation (ITF)

Two tennis players, Frenchman Elie Rousset and Italy's Walter Trusendi, were given six-month suspensions and fined $5,000 for violating anti-corruption rules.

The players revealed that the offense occurred at a Challenger in Morrocco, where a conversation between them was heard and reported by an official. The 25-year-old Rousset, ranked No. 576, had lost in qualifying and was first in line for the main draw should someone withdraw. The higher-ranked Trusendi, who was scheduled to play a first-round match, approached him to say that he was injured and would withdraw from the event, allowing Rousset to play, if Rousset would give him the first-round prize money of 326 Euros he would have received for competing in the match. If not, the No. 425-ranked Trusendi said he would play and retire.

Tennis anti-corruption rules prohibit players from contriving to fix the course of a match.

Source: Kamakshi Tandon, "Details emerge over ITF's suspension of players for match-fixing ", 28 March 2015, Tennis.com, https://www.tennis.com/pro-game/2015/03/players-protest-match-fixing-suspension-details-emerge/54448/#.VRi9x45JeJ8

 

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

El Salvador

Eleven soccer players and two foreign businesspeople accused of match-fixing involving El Salvador's national team were acquitted of criminal charges. Prosecutors had accused the defendants of money laundering, cover-up and illegal association, and they faced possible sentences of up to 19 years if convicted. Judge Ernesto Parada ruled the suspects' alleged conduct did not rise to the level of the criminal charges and was instead a matter of morality and conscience.

The Salvadoran Soccer Federation investigated four of the national squad's matches in connection with the scandal. Fourteen players received lifetime bans and eight more were suspended for periods ranging from six months to five years. FIFA made the bans global.

The players acquitted were Miguel Montes, Dagoberto Portillo, Dennis Alas, Marvin Gonzalez, Romeo Monteagudo, Miguel Granadino, Mardoqueo Henriquez, Ramon Sanchez, Cristian Castillo, Darwin Bonilla and Osael Romero. The two businesspeople, Malian-Singaporean Gaye Alasanne and Nicaraguan Mauricio Collado, were alleged to have acted as intermediaries to pay the players and fix matches.

Source: "El Salvador Soccer Players Acquitted in Match-Fixing Case", 27 March 2015, AP, https://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/el-salvador-soccer-players-acquitted-match-fixing-case-29960540

Italy

Football officials involved in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal escaped prison. Former Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi avoided a 28 month prison sentence and Antonio Giraudo avoided a 20 month prison sentence as their crimes were adjudged outside the time-limits. Former referee designator Pierluigi Pairetto and the former Italian football federation vice-president Innocenzo Mazzini also had their sentences eliminated, while the former referees Paolo Bertini and Antonio Dattilo were acquitted. Former referee, Massimo De Santis, was the only one whose sentence remained in place with his appeal against a suspended sentence rejected. Moggi and Giraudo were accused of being at the heart of the 2006 match-fixing scandal which led to Juventus being stripped of the 2004/5 and 2005/6 Serie A titles and the club being relegated to Serie B with a nine-point penalty. (AC Milan and Fiorentina received 8 and 15 point deductions respectively.) Moggi was originally sentenced to five years, four months but managed to have that reduced on appeal, while Giraudo was originally sentenced to 36 months in jail. In 2011, both men had five-year football bans extended to life terms by the Italian Football Federation. Despite predictable attempts by Moggi to spin the verdict as implying there had been no scandal, and despite being cleared on two counts of sporting fraud, he was not acquitted on the criminal conspiracy count, although he escapes prison due to the statute of limitations.

Source: Mark Baber, "Ex-Juventus execs avoid jail over Calciopoli match-fixing scandal ", 25 March 2015, Inside World Football, https://www.insideworldfootball.com/world-football/europe/16690-ex-juventus-execs-avoid-jail-over-calciopoli-match-fixing-scandal

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