INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 5th November 2019-25th November 2019

INVESTIGATIONS

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnian police arrest 12 in soccer match-fixing case

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Referees and soccer officials were among the 12 people arrested in Bosnia on Monday in a match-fixing investigation into the country’s second division, prosecutors and police said.

Suspects are facing charges of organized crime, bribery and abuse of position, the Bosnian Prosecutor’s Office said in a statement.

The suspects have been implicated in “demanding and receiving gifts and other benefits” to fix the outcome of matches during the 2018-19 season, the statement added.

Police said they arrested 12 people and searched five locations as part of Monday’s operation. Officers have confiscated mobile phones and other objects that could serve as evidence in the investigation.

The Bosnian soccer federation said it fully supports the investigation and is ready to help any way it can, adding the damage made is “immeasurable.”

The arrests come while UEFA is looking to create a multi-national agency that would help coordinate match-fixing investigations.

Source: 11 November 2019, Fox Sports Football https://www.foxsports.com/soccer/story/bosnian-police-arrest-12-in-soccer-match-fixing-case-111119

India

BCCI launch separate inquiry into KPL corruption allegations, confirms Anti-Corruption Unit

BCCI's Anti-Corruption Chief Ajit Singh confirmed on Friday that the national body has launched a separate inquiry into the corruption allegations in the Karnataka Premier League (KPL). The Central Crime Branch had recently arrested former players CM Gautam and Abrar Kazi on charges of match-fixing.

Ajit is supposed to meet newly-elected BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, and give him all the anti-corruption reports of the past two years soon. In the interim, he is leading an inquiry into the reports of corruption in the KPL, which has brought the focus firmly on whether the BCCI is indeed serious at curbing corruption in cricket.

"There are two points here. When the Bangalore police files its chargesheet, its investigation will be complete. We'll take a copy of that chargesheet. Secondly, there are some people against whom we have also launched our inquiry. We're taking their statements and giving them the opportunity to defend themselves. After that, we'll propose the necessary action to the Board," Ajit told TOI.

"They're 'participants.' It's a wide definition, which includes, players and support staff, or anyone. However, we can't give you the names until we complete the inquiry. From this year, it's the BCCI who will take care of their anti-corruption needs. We're happy that we've got leads and are conducting inquiries. We're in touch with the police. If we've something, we pass it on to them because they've the legal authority to take care of a much wider spectrum. We can only take action against the 'participants,' but they can do that against the others, like the bookies, too. We can't act against the bookies," he said.

While Ajit remains confident that the inquiry, once complete, will have far-reaching impacts, the unit’s previous chief Neeraj Kumar called for stricter norms for team owners and Ratnakar Shetty, former development manager with the BCCI, agrees to the same.

"I had warned the Board many times on this count. The owners of teams can be dubious, and can strike a deal with the players to do 'certain things' for them in lieu of a favour. The BCCI needs to screen the owners of these teams thoroughly. You can't relax the norms to become a team owner," Neeraj said.

"After this KPL incident coming to light, the BCCI must seriously think about the future of these state association-conducted T20 leagues. The credentials of the team owners in these leagues have been exposed after this incident. The cricketers will fall victim to the wrong kind of people coming into the game," Shetty said.

Source: 11 November 2019, Sports Cafe Cricket https://sportscafe.in/articles/cricket/2019/nov/09/bcci-launch-separate-inquiry-into-kpl-corruption-allegations-confirms-anti-corruption-unit

India

KPL match fixing scandal: International bookie held

An alleged international bookie was arrested today in connection with the Karnataka Premier League match fixing case, police said. A resident of Haryana, Sayyam had fled to West Indies following which a lookout circular was issued. As soon as Sayyam arrived in India on Saturday the Central Crime Branch sleuths nabbed him. It is alleged that Sayyam had approached celebrity drummer Bhavesh Bafna to fix the match. At the behest of Sayyam, Bafna had allegedly tried to bribe bowler Bhavesh Gulecha of Bellary Tuskers asking him to give away 10 runs in one over, which the latter declined.

Source: 11 November 2019, Tribune India Cricket https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/kpl-match-fixing-scandal-international-bookie-held/859354.html

Ireland

Gardaí seize phones as they investigate alleged match-fixing at up to four League of Ireland matches

Gardaí are investigating if up to four League of Ireland matches involving the same club were fixed.

Mobile phones and documents are currently being examined after being seized at the club‘s training ground in the south of the country on Monday.

The search was carried out by members of the Garda Economic Crime Bureau (GECB) after gardaí received a complaint from the FAI.

The Irish Independent has learned that up to four matches are being reviewed as part of the inquiry.

It is being investigated if games were intentionally lost by the one team after a large amount of bets were placed on the opposition team winning.

In particular, a large number of fouls and yellow cards in the games, which may have influenced the outcome of the match, are at the centre of the Garda probe.

Detectives are currently focusing their inquiries on the club, but will also attempt to establish if there is an international involvement in the allegations.

A source said gardaí are attempting to determine how many people may have been involved in the alleged match fixing.

“It‘s too early to say how many people were involved and investigations are ongoing. The focus is on the betting against one particular team which was influenced by incidents on the pitch, such as fouls and yellow cards,” the source said.

The FAI has said it is aware of the latest developments and is awaiting a report from the Garda.

On Monday evening, gardaí said they were at a sports grounds which had been searched. Local gardaí also assisted in the operation.

While a number of players and staff were spoken to during the searches, no arrests have been made.

The alleged offences being investigated include conspiracy to defraud and corruption.

The owner of the club did not respond when ed by the Irish Independent for comment yesterday.

“The Football Association of Ireland can confirm it is now investigating unusual betting patterns around the recent FAI Cup game between Sligo Rovers v Limerick FC,” a statement from the FAI said.

“The investigation is along similar lines to the one currently under way into the First Division fixture between Shelbourne and Limerick in April.

“Both investigations were launched following the receipt of reports from Uefa to the FAI concerning unusual betting patterns around the two games.”

It said the FAI has a zero-tolerance policy on match fixing.

Source: 23 November 2019, Irish Independent Football https://dailystockdish.com/gardai-seize-phones-as-they-investigate-alleged-match-fixing-at-up-to-four-league-of-ireland-matches/

Italy

Yorgen Fenech wanted in Sicily as part of match-fixing scandal investigation – reports

Italian news portal La Sicilia has reported that Yorgen Fenech is wanted in Sicily in connection with a match fixing and illegal betting investigation which dates back to 2014.

Reporting on his arrest in connection with the journalist’s murder, La Sicilia writes that his name is far from new in Sicily, noting that the mobile squad of Catania’s anti-crime section has been looking for Fenech since opening the “treni del gol” operation as part of the Dirty Football scandal which plagued Italy in 2015.

Prosecutors in Catania believe that Fenech was involved in the fixing of four Serie A games played on the weekend of 17 and 18 May 2014, these games being Catania vs Atalanta; Parma vs Livorno; Naples vs Verona, and Udinese vs Sampdoria. Prosecutors believe he was involved in fixing three further Serie B matches – Avellino vs Reggina, Crotone vs Trapani, and Brescia vs Juve Stabia – which were played the weekend after, before then cashing in the illicit profits.

The Sicilian newspaper reports that Yorgen Fenech’s arrest will allow Sicilian prosecutors to re-open investigations against Giuseppe Enzo Mangion who has been convicted in another case. Enzo Mangion is the son of Francesco, the consigliere of the Santapaola mafia clan.

La Sicilia notes that since Fenech’s whereabouts can now be ascertained, he can now expect to receive a notification from the Italian police that they would like to prosecute him in connection with the aforementioned allegations.

Source: 22 November 2019, Malta Independent Football https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2019-11-22/local-news/Yorgen-Fenech-wanted-in-Sicily-as-part-of-match-fixing-scandal-investigation-reports6736216558

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Belgium

Alexandre Vinokourov cleared of corruption in race-fixing case

A judicial official says former Olympic cycling champion Alexandre Vinokourov and fellow rider Alexandr Kolobnev have been cleared of corruption charges in a suspected case of race-fixing.

The pair faced up to six months in jail after being accused of fixing the result of the 2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege race.

In a message to The Associated Press, Liege prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Catherine Collignon said they were given “the benefit of the doubt.”

Both riders had denied accusations that Vinokourov paid Kolobnev 150,000 euros to let him win the race. Prosecutors had also requested that Vinokourov pay a fine of 100,000 euros ($110,000), and Kolobnev faced a fine of 50,000 euros ($55,000).

Vinokourov won the 2006 Spanish Vuelta and four individual stages at the Tour de France between 2003-10. He was given a two-year ban after testing positive for blood doping at the 2007 Tour but came back to win the men’s road race at the 2012 London Olympics.

He now serves as team manager for Astana, where he spent much of his professional career.

Source: 5 November 2019, NBC sports Cycling https://sports.nbcsports.com/2019/11/05/alexandre-vinokourov-cleared-of-corruption-in-race-fixing-case/

EA

FIFA 20’s best players have been caught in a massive match-fixing scandal

Here’s a neat idea for a game: You take the best players inside of it, pit them against each other every weekend and the best of the best get some cool rewards while providing high-level entertainment for fans watching. That’s exactly the idea that EA Games had with FIFA 20, as their Weekend League saw the cream of the digital football crop face off against each for prizes, glory and entry into other events.

Or at least that was the plan, until some collusion threw a massive spanner into the works.

Over on Eurogamer, the football sleuths on that side did some digging and busted open a massive network between several top players. It’s a deep story, but the overall scheme worked like this: Those elite players formed a secret Discord group, where they co-ordinated with each other to create a schedule that would help them avoid each other.

That would increase their chances at winning as less skilled players took them on over the weekend as the Weekend League awards prizes based on a win/loss record. With the odds more in their favour, that cabal of players could swoop in and grab premium-priced prizes, in-game currency and qualification for the FIFA eWorld Cup. So how was the lid blown off of this sinister gathering? FIFA 20 player Nick “RunTheFutMarket” Bartels exposed the group, uploading a video where he discussed the matter and revealed several screenshots of the Discord group. Bartels happens to have a solid reputation in the FIFA scene, and after a suspicious disconnect on a game that he claims is part of a plan by North American FIFA to prevent him from obtaining a Top 100 ranking. The rabbit hole got deeper, accusations of stream sniping were thrown out and Bartels eventually got his hands on proof of the FIFA cabal that he discussed in his video:

EA has responded to all this with a slap on the wrist punishment for one of the players involved, NYC_Chris, who’ll sit out a few games with a two qualifier suspension from the EA SPORTS FIFA 20 Global Series. NYC_Chris is the only player is the only player in that group that EA has taken action against, with everyone else apparently getting off Scot-free.

EA’s FIFA series aims to be one of the most authentic football sims around, and this year’s incarnation has done just that with a staggeringly realistic match-fixing scandal on the digital side.

Source: 8 November 2019, Critical Hit eSports https://www.criticalhit.net/gaming/fifa-20s-best-players-have-been-caught-in-a-massive-match-fixing-scandal/

Kyrgyzstan

Ksenia Palkina provisionally suspended by independent Anti-corruption Hearing Officer

Kyrgyzstani tennis player Ksenia Palkina has been provisionally suspended from professional tennis by independent Anticorruption Hearing Officer (AHO)

Prof Richard H. McLaren.

As a result, and with effect from 22 November 2019, she is prohibited from competing in or attending any sanctioned tennis event organised or recognised by the governing bodies of the sport.

The provisional suspension relates to an investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit into alleged breaches of the Tennis AntiCorruption Program. The section of the Program relating to the granting of provisional suspensions is as follows:

3. Provisional Suspension.

a. The PTIO may at any time make an application to an AHO for a Provisional Suspension of a Covered Person, including (i) before a Notice has been issued, (ii) before a Hearing or (iii) at any time after a Hearing but prior to the AHO’s issuance of a written Decision. Except as provided in Section G.4.a (in which case a Provisional Suspension is mandatory), a Provisional Suspension may be imposed if the AHO is satisfied on the preponderance of the evidence that at least one of the conditions set out at (i) and (ii) below are met:

i. a Covered Person has (i) failed to comply with a Demand or (ii) delayed or obstructed, without reasonable justification, compliance with a Demand or purported to comply with a Demand through the provision of any object or information that has been tampered with, damaged, disabled or otherwise altered from its original state; or

ii. (i) there is a likelihood that the Covered Person has committed a Corruption Offense punishable by permanent ineligibility; (ii) in the absence of a Provisional Suspension, the integrity of tennis would be undermined; and (iii) the harm resulting from the absence of a Provisional Suspension outweighs the hardship of the Provisional Suspension on the Covered Person.

Ms Palkina, 29, is currently ranked 693 in WTA singles and 496 in doubles.

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 any form of betting-related corruption in tennis.

Source: 25 November 2019, Tennis Integrity Unit Tennis https://www.tennisintegrityunit.com/media-releases/ksenia-palkina-provisionally-suspended-independent-anti-corruption-hearing-officer

Sweden

Court finds Etuhu guilty of attempted match-fixing in Sweden

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – An appeals court has found former Premier League player Dickson Etuhu guilty of attempting to fix a match in Sweden’s top division, overturning the verdict of a lower court.

The case centred on allegations that the 37-year-old Etuhu, who has played for Manchester City, Norwich, Sunderland, Fulham and Blackburn as well as Swedish club AIK, conspired together with another man to offer former team-mate Kyriakos “Kenny” Stamatopoulos money to fix a game between AIK and IFK Gothenburg in spring 2017.

“What preceded the meeting and what was said at the meeting must be seen in a context. In the opinion of the court, Kenny Stam has clearly been offered an improper benefit,” the Court Of Appeal in Stockholm said in its judgment published on Wednesday.

It fined Etuhu and ordered him to serve a period of probation.

The Stockholm District court originally found Etuhu, a former Nigeria international, not guilty, deciding that there was not enough evidence of a concrete monetary offer being made to Stamatopoulos, AIK’s reserve goalkeeper at the time.

Source: 13 November 2019, Euronews Football https://www.euronews.com/2019/11/13/court-finds-etuhu-guilty-of-attempted-match-fixing-in-sweden

Uzbekistan

Albina Khabibulina provisionally suspended by independent Anti-corruption Hearing Officer

Uzbekistani tennis player Albina Khabibulina has been provisionally suspended from professional tennis by independent Anticorruption Hearing Officer (AHO) Prof Richard H. McLaren.

As a result, and with effect from 22 November 2019, she is prohibited from competing in or attending any sanctioned tennis event organised or recognised by the governing bodies of the sport.

The provisional suspension relates to an investigation by the Tennis Integrity Unit into alleged breaches of the Tennis AntiCorruption Program. The section of the Program relating to the granting of provisional suspensions is as follows:

3. Provisional Suspension.

a. The PTIO may at any time make an application to an AHO for a Provisional Suspension of a Covered Person, including (i) before a Notice has been issued, (ii) before a Hearing or (iii) at any time after a Hearing but prior to the AHO’s issuance of a written Decision. Except as provided in Section G.4.a (in which case a Provisional Suspension is mandatory), a Provisional Suspension may be imposed if the AHO is satisfied on the preponderance of the evidence that at least one of the conditions set out at (i) and (ii) below are met:

i. a Covered Person has (i) failed to comply with a Demand or (ii) delayed or obstructed, without reasonable justification, compliance with a Demand or purported to comply with a Demand through the provision of any object or information that has been tampered with, damaged, disabled or otherwise altered from its original state; or

ii. (i) there is a likelihood that the Covered Person has committed a Corruption Offense punishable by permanent ineligibility; (ii) in the absence of a Provisional Suspension, the integrity of tennis would be undermined; and (iii) the harm resulting from the absence of a Provisional Suspension outweighs the hardship of the Provisional Suspension on the Covered Person.

Ms Khabibulina, 27, is currently ranked 294 in WTA doubles.

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 any form of betting-related corruption in tennis.

Source: 25 November 2019, Tennis Integrity Unit Tennis https://www.tennisintegrityunit.com/media-releases/albina-khabibulina-provisionally-suspended-independent-anti-corruption-hearing-officer

LEGISLATION

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka parliament passes bill to protect sports from gamblers

Sri Lanka parliament unanimously approved the Bill on Prevention of Offences Relating to Sports which was debated today.

Bill on Prevention of offences in Sports presented by the Minister of Telecommunication, Foreign Employment, and Sports Harin Fernando deals comprehensively with match-fixing, corruption, illegal manipulation, and illegal betting in sports.

The parliament in a specially convened session on Monday passed the Prevention of Offences relating to Sports Bill without any amendments and the National Innovation Agency Bill with amendments.

Today's parliamentary session, convened at the request of the Prime Minister is the final parliamentary session before the Presidential Election.

Sports Minister Harin Fernando opening the debate on the Bill on Prevention of offences in Sports said that when the bill is introduced in Parliament to see to the transparency of sports in Sri Lanka, some are attempting to bring in amendments.

Leader of the House, Minister Lakshman Kiriella said that the Sports Bill was introduced to prevent the corruption in sports of the country without thinking of party differences.

The bill seeks to prevent offences relating to sports including Match Fixing, Sports related Corruption Sports related illegal Manipulation and Sports related illegal betting.

Person who commits a specified offence shall be liable for a fine UP to Rs. 100 million or 10 year imprisonment or both.

Any Person who failed to disclosed information to or any of the above offences or any person who failed to cooperate in relation to any investigations in the above offences shall be liable from a fine Rs. 200,000 or 3 years imprisonment.

An independent, impartial, special investigations unit will be established to carry out investigations into offences. Minister shall assign to appoint Assistant superintendent of Police and a team of conducting investigators under this Act.

A reward fund under this Act shall be established to encourage the society to find the Culprits and support the With the rewards.

The Bill also seeks to strengthen national and international co-operation among sports organizations, law enforcement agencies and betting operators to exchange information relating to match-fixing, corruption, illegal manipulation and illegal betting in sports and promote best practices in sports.

It also seeks to conduct programs in order to promote awareness of such issues relating to match-fixing

Following the passage of the bill on Prevention of offences in Sports, Minister Fernando thanked the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Speaker Karu Jayasuriya for convening a special parliament sitting today to finalize the bill.

Source: 11 November 2019, Colombo Page https://www.colombopage.com/archive_19B/Nov11_1573467604CH.php

BETTING

Hong Kong

Assistant trainers, stable staff arrested by ICAC in illegal gambling scandal

Anti-corruption police have smashed an illegal bookmaking ring in Hong Kong which is suspected to have used “privileged information” from Jockey Club employees, including two assistant trainers.

The powerful Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) announced the bust on Monday night, saying they arrested a total of 21 people in “operation Iron Triangle” which commenced on Saturday.

A total of six licensed Jockey Club staff members were arrested, with four stable staff joining the two assistant trainers.

ICAC stated that 15 people were operating the underground “corrupt and illegal” bookmaking syndicate from a residential premises in Tsuen Wan with the assistance of the six Jockey Club staff members.

More on this story

Anti-corruption police have smashed an illegal bookmaking ring in Hong Kong which is suspected to have used “privileged information” from Jockey Club employees, including two assistant trainers.

The powerful Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) announced the bust on Monday night, saying they arrested a total of 21 people in “operation Iron Triangle” which commenced on Saturday.

A total of six licensed Jockey Club staff members were arrested, with four stable staff joining the two assistant trainers.

ICAC stated that 15 people were operating the underground “corrupt and illegal” bookmaking syndicate from a residential premises in Tsuen Wan with the assistance of the six Jockey Club staff members.

Horses race at Happy Valley.Horses race at Happy Valley.

In a statement, a ICAC spokesman said its investigation into the matter had not yet finalised.

“A total of 21 persons, including two assistant trainers and four stable staff of the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC), were arrested for suspected corruption in relation to the provision of privileged information to facilitate illegal bookmaking and control of race horses,” the statement said.

“The HKJC has rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its operation. The ICAC and the HKJC do not tolerate any corrupt activities. The two organisations will continue to liaise and cooperate closely to combat related crimes and keep horse racing in Hong Kong clean.”

In a statement released late on Monday night, the Jockey Club said they have a “zero tolerance” for any illegal acts.

“The club does not comment on any cases being investigated by ICAC. However, the club would like to emphasise that upholding uncompromising integrity has always been the core value of the club,” the statement said.

Source: 12 November 2019, South China Morning Post Horse Racing https://www.scmp.com/sport/racing/article/3037248/assistant-trainers-stable-staff-arrested-icac-illegal-gambling-scandal

GOOD PRACTICES

Council of Europe

Sportradar to Collaborate with the Council of Europe

The Council of Europe – Sport Convention Division and Sportradar Integrity Services – the world’s leading provider of sports integrity solutions – have entered an agreement to collaborate on a wide-ranging sports risk assessment pilot project

Sportradar Integrity Services will draw upon its global oversight of the national and international betting markets to deliver datadriven insights which will support one of the Council of Europe’s major undertakings under the Macolin Convention treaty. This pilot project has been initiated as part of the Network of the National Platforms (the Group of Copenhagen set up by the Council of Europe in 2016). Co-ordinated by the Australian National Platform, the pilot project aims at assessing the risk factors which threaten the fair play and integrity of global sport, and an up-to-date understanding of the global betting market landscape is an essential element to help inform this process. After experimentation in four pilot countries (Belgium, Georgia, Norway and Portugal), the objective is to provide an effective methodology which might be implemented by all the National Platforms members of the Group of Copenhagen (32 countries). The results of the pilot project will be presented at the 9th meeting of the Group of Copenhagen to be held in Strasbourg (France) on 25-26 November 2019.

The Secretariat of the Council of Europe welcome Sportradar Integrity Services as contributors to this process. “As a first step, we wish to evaluate the present situation with regard to national sports betting markets, and the current landscape in terms of betting liquidity and the number of bookmakers currently active in these markets. The data, analysis and insights which Sportradar will provide us with will be vital in informing the next steps of this process, and we welcome their cooperation in the early but crucial research stages of this important undertaking”.

Sportradar Integrity Services Managing Director Andreas Krannich added: “Sportradar have been firm supporters of the Council of Europe’s Macolin Convention since its proposed inception, and we are honoured to be a supporting partner in one of its major projects. We have throughout the years supported various state authorities, government institutions, national platforms and sport federations in their anti match-fixing efforts, by providing data-driven analysis of the risk factors within their regions to help inform future policy. We look forward to expanding on this work under the umbrella of the Macolin Convention, and are ready to assist whenever called upon”.

Source: 7 November 2019, Sportradar https://sportradar.com/news-archive/sportradar-to-collaborate-with-the-council-of-europe/

CORRUPTION

FIFA

FIFA bans three for life over South American corruption

FIFA on Tuesday banned three former top South American football officials for life in connection with a corruption scandal that has shaken world football since 2015.

Former Peru Football Federation Manuel Burga and Argentinian officials Eduardo Deluca and Jose Luis Meiszner took secret payments while allocating marketing and media contracts for regional competitions, FIFA said.

The three were suspended from taking part in any footballing activity and fined one million Swiss francs (912,000 euros) each.

The offenses took place when the officials were negotiating contracts on behalf of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) between 2004 and 2015.

The bans are the latest sanctions linked to revelations in 2015 by US prosecutors of a web of corruption involving millions of dollars in bribes concerning marketing and TV rights for South American football tournaments.

Despite the scale of the probe, only two former South American officials have appeared in court in the United States to answer charges.

Juan Angel Napout, the former Paraguayan federation chief and ex-CONMEBOL president was jailed for nine years, while the former boss of Brazilian football, Jose Maria Marin, was sentenced to four years.

Source: 13 November 2019, Saudi Gazette https://saudigazette.com.sa/article/582424/Sports/FIFA-bans-three-for-life-over-South-American-corruption

 

 

 

 

 

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