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INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 14th October 2019 - 4th November 2019




Coach, player arrested for fixing in KPL

Central Crime Branch (CCB), which is investigating the betting and match-fixing scandal in Karnataka Premier League (KPL) matches, has dug up more dirt connected with the tournament. Bengaluru Blasters bowling coach Vinu Prasad and batsman Vishwanathan were arrested on Friday, in another instance of alleged match-fixing.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Sandeep Patil said the duo allegedly fixed a KPL match last year between Bengaluru Blasters and Belagavi Panthers. “Vishwanathan had batted slowly, for which he got `5 lakh. Further investigations are on and a few bookies who were involved will be arrested soon.”Sources said the arrests were made based on information provided by Bhavesh Bafna, who was arrested earlier in connection with the scandal.

Bafna was arrested for trying to book a Ballari Tuskers bowler. During interrogation, he admitted that he had also booked a Blasters batsman,” said an official.“He revealed that it was Vishwanathan who was booked through the team’s bowling coach Vinu Prasad. They had offered him `5 lakh if he wasted balls and got out after that. Accordingly, Vishwanathan played 17 balls and scored only nine before getting out against Panthers. Based on Bafna’s information, Prasad and Vishwanathan were arrested.”

CCB had arrested Ali Asfak Thara, owner of Panthers, in the first week of October. Later, police arrested Bafna. Another bookie, Sayyam, is absconding. “Going by the statements of the arrested persons, the number of arrests — which includes players — will go up. We are gathering evidence before making more arrests,” the official added.

Source: 26 October 2019, The New Indian Express



Nine people linked to match fixing in Palangkaraya arrested

The police’s anti-match-fixing squad apprehended on Monday nine people allegedly involved in fixing a soccer match in Palangkaraya, a police official announced. The official said the nine were being questioned at the Central Kalimantan police headquarters.

“The local police had been tipped off that there had been match fixing behind the Sunday match between the Kalteng Putra club and Persela Lamongan, which was won 2-0 by Kalteng Putra. A team [of investigators] was deployed to follow up on the information, which led to the arrests,” anti-match-fixing squad spokesman Sr. Comr. Argo Yuwono told journalists as quoted by

He said a referee, an assistant referee and other match officials were among the nine people arrested.

The tip-off originated with Kalteng Putra players who complained that they had not received their salaries for two months.When the police investigated they found evidence of match fixing along the way.

The arrest was initially announced by the Save Our Soccer coalition coordinator Akmal Marhali and afterwards verified by the police.

Akmal praised the arrest, saying it showed that the police were still monitoring potential match fixing. However, he warned the police squad not to pick the wrong guy.

“Therefore, we demand the police mean business in this case so they catch the real perpetrators,” he said.

Commenting on this case, Ignatius Indro of the Indonesia National Team Supporters Association said he was quite pessimistic that the arrest would end the illegal practice for good.

He said punishment did not seem to deter many from engaging in match fixing.

“We just don't have the resources to monitor and make sure that these perpetrators are kept at bay on a daily basis. They are likely to benefit from these loopholes,” Indro told The Jakarta Post.

Besides, he added, the fact that there were times when the squad was deactivated had lured them out of hiding.

The anti-match-fixing squad was led by Brig. Gen. Hendro Pandowo, who also currently serves as the National Police’s internal affairs division head. The squad had previously been tasked with following up on reports made by Persibara club manager Lasmi Indaryani. Lasmi said that she was asked to pay Rp 500 million to save her spot as a host for a third tier league match.

The police had arrested 15 people involved in the case, including acting PSSI chief Joko Driyono, over allegations he commanded his associates to get rid of material that could be used as evidence by the police.

The squad was disbanded on June 21, but on Aug.9 the police decided to reactivate it for four months, but it was to operate with a different approach. The squad activated local members to detect any potential match fixing.

Source: 29 October 2019, Jakarta Post




Shakib gets two-year ban for failing to report bookie approach

Bangladesh captain and star all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan was banned Tuesday from all cricket for two years, with one year suspended, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said.

The ban came after Shakib “accepted three charges of breaching the ICC Anti-Corruption Code”, the sport’s governing body said in a statement. These included failing to disclose to the ICC’s Anti-Corruption Unit full details of approaches or invitations made in relation to the Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe Tri-Series in January 2018 as well as the 2018 Indian Premier League (IPL), it said.

The 32-year-old’s ban came as a blow to Bangladesh’s preparations for next month’s tour of India where the all-rounder was set to lead the team for a two-Test series and three T20 international matches.

Shakib, who has played 56 Test, 206 ODIs and 76 Twenty20 internationals, is by far Bangladesh’s best known player, having topped the ICC all-rounder rankings in all three formats several times since 2009.

He starred for the team during the recent World Cup in England, where he scored over 600 runs and picked 11 wickets. In the World Cup, he also became the fastest and only the fifth cricketer to reach 5,000 runs and 250 wickets in ODIs.

Shakib will be free to resume international cricket October 29, 2020 subject to him satisfying the conditions in respect of the suspended part of the sanction, the ICC said. “I am obviously extremely sad to have been banned from the game I love, but I completely accept my sanction for not reporting the approaches,” Shakib was quoted as saying in the ICC statement.

There was no immediate comment from the country’s cricket authorities who were expected to name the teams for the India Tests and T20s on Wednesday. But Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the country’s cricket board “will always be with Shakib and will help him in every way.”

She said that while match-fixers often contact players, Shakib’s “mistake is that when he was contacted he didn’t give it too much importance. He didn’t inform... the ICC.” Having grown up in a rural town west of the capital Dhaka, Shakib burst into the international scene after excelling in age-level cricket.

He is possibly Bangladesh’s most loved cricketer and only last week successfully led a brief strike by Bangladesh’s professional cricketers to press for better pay and benefits. But this is not the first time the left arm orthodox spinner and left handed batsman has faced disciplinary actions.

In 2014, Shakib was suspended by the BCB from all cricket for six months following “serious misbehaviour” with Bangladesh’s coach Chandika Hathurusingha, and for his altercation with a spectator during a ODI against India in Dhaka.

He has a severe attitude problem, which is unprecedented in the history of Bangladesh cricket. We think that his behaviour is such that it’s directly impacting the team,” Bangladesh Cricket Board president Nazmul Hassan told reporters at that time.

Last week Bangladesh cricket authorities said they would also take legal action against Shakib for allegedly breaching his contract to sign a sponsorship deal with a top mobile phone operator.

Shakib inked the agreement with former national team sponsor Grameenphone for an undisclosed sum at a time when he was also leading the players’ strike.

Source: 30 October 2019, The International News


South Africa

Gulam Bodi: Ex-Proteas batsman sentenced to five years in prison

Gulam Bodi becomes the first South African sportsman to face jail time over his role in match fixing.

Former Proteas batsman Gulam Body has been sentenced to five years in prison for his role in a match-fixing scandal, which rocked South African cricket in 2015.

The 40-year-old had pleaded guilty to eight counts of corruption in 2018, admitting to being a link between players – mostly his teammates at the Lions – and bookies during the 2015 Ram Slam T20 competition. Gulam Bodi completes unsavory piece of history.

This made him the first South African sportsperson to be criminally convicted of match-fixing and, on Friday, he returned for sentencing at the Pretoria Commercial Crimes Court, where he dodged the maximum sentence of 15 years.

According to EWN, Bodi intends to file an appeal to extend his bail.

He was initially banned from all cricket-related activities for 20 years, while the other players involved – Jean Symes, Lonwabo Tsotsobe, Phumelela Matshikwe, Ethy Mbhalati and Thami Tsolekile – also received suspensions which effectively ended their playing careers.

The group, made up mostly of former Proteas players, were pinned for accepting payment in exchange for influencing aspects of certain games.

Another player, Alviro Petersen, also came under investigation after blowing the whistle on Bodi, and subsequently received a two-year ban.

The former Test opener was present at the sentencing on Friday. Bodi played three international matches for South Africa, his first coming in an One Day International (ODI) series against Zimbabwe in 2007.

He played just two matches in the 50-over format for his country, scoring 83 runs with a highest score of 51, before making his only T20 International appearance against the West Indies in 2008.

In admitting guilt, Bodi pleaded for forgiveness for his actions. “The accused pleads to the mercy of the court. He fully understands the seriousness of his offences and begs the state for forgiveness,” he was quoted as saying in a written statement.

Bodi’s prison sentence is the highest sanction received by a South African sports personality in relation with match-fixing.

His scandal followed some 15 years after the high-profile one involving late former Proteas captain, Hansie Cronje, who was handed a life-long ban for his actions, but escaped criminal prosecution.

Source: 18 October 2019, the South African


United Arab Emirates

4th UAE cricketer suspended for corruption

DUBAI: Ashfaq Ahmed on Monday became the fourth United Arab Emirates cricketer suspended as part of an anti-corruption investigation.

Ahmed opened the batting in their first two matches at the T20 World Cup qualifying tournament. He scored four as UAE lost to Oman on Friday and three as they beat Ireland on Saturday. He was not in the team on Monday as UAE beat Hong Kong by eight wickets. “Further to the ongoing investigations led by the ICC Anti-Corruption Unit, Emirates Cricket Board has today provisionally suspended Ashfaq Ahmed with immediate effect,” the UAE Cricket Board said in a statement.

They added that “no formal charges have been laid against the player, and the Board will wait for the conclusion of proceedings before making any further comment.” Last Wednesday, captain Mohammed Naveed, batsman Shaiman Anwar and right-arm pace bowler Qadeer Ahmed were charged with corruption by the International Cricket Council. The three players face a total of 12 counts of breaching the governing body’s anti-corruption rules.

A fourth individual, Mehardeep Chhayakar, was charged for refusing to cooperate with the ICC. Ahmed, a 34-year-old who was born in Lahore, has played 12 T20 matches and 16 one-day internationals for UAE. He averages 21.50 in ODIs and 19.83 in the shorter format. An occasional spin bowler, he has taken six international wickets.

Source: 21 October 2019, The News International


United Arab Emirates

UAE trio charged under ICC Corruption Code

United Arab Emirates captain Mohammed Naveed is among three national team players provisionally suspended after being charged under the International Cricket Council's Anti-Corruption code.

The ICC confirmed on Wednesday the three players - Naveed, Qadeer Ahmed Khan and Shaiman Anwar Butt - along with Mehardeep Chhayakar, a participant in cricket from Ajman, were charged with a combined 13 counts of breaching the code.

Naveed faces four charges, including an agreement to "fixing or contriving" aspects of matches in the upcoming World Twenty20 qualifiers.

Top-order batsman Butt is also under investigation for an effort to influence results or any other aspect of matches ahead of the qualifiers, which are scheduled to be played in the UAE starting Friday.

The competition will decide the last six teams to play at the T20 World Cup in Australia next year.

Khan has been charged with failing to report "approaches to engage in corrupt conduct" in relation to UAE's matches against Zimbabwe and Netherlands in April and August respectively.

The 33-year-old bowler is also alleged to have disclosed inside information to Chhayakar in August.

Chhayakar was charged with refusing to cooperate with an investigation carried out by the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit.

Source: 16 October 2019, Nine



O'FA va PFL kelishilgan o'yinlarda ishtirok etgani aniqlangan ikki klubni chetlashtirdi

Xabaringiz bor, joriy yilning iyul oyida O'zbekiston futbol Associaciyasi Osiyo futbol Konfederaciyasi bilan kelishilgan o'yinlar hamda totalizatorga qarshi kurashda yaqindan hamkorlik qilish bo'yicha kelishib olgan edi.

Ushbu hamkorlik natijasi o'laroq, "A" Pro-liga ishtirokchisi "Iftixor" hamda "B" Pro-ligada ishtirok etib kelayotgan "Rash Milk" futbol klublarining kelishilgan o'yinlarga aloqador ekanligi, shuningdek Reglament talablarini qo'pol ravishda buzib kelayotgani aniqlandi.

SHu sababdan O'FAning Intizom va odob-ahloq (etika) va Licenziyalash qo'mitalarining qaroriga asoslanib PFL tomonidan 2019 yilgi mavsumda "Rash Milk" futbol klubiga O'zbekiston chempionatining "V" Pro-ligada, "Iftixor" futbol klubiga esa "A" Pro-ligada ishtirok etish uchun berilgan licenziyalarning amal qilishi tugatildi va ushbu ikki klub musobaqalardan chetlashtirildi.

Malumot uchun, "Iftixor" "A" Pro-ligada 20ta o'yin o'tkazgan holda bor yo'g'i 5 ochko bilan so'nggi pog'onada borayotgan bo'lsa, "Rash Milk" "B" Pro-ligada 21ta uchrashuvdan keyin 41 ochko to'plab, "Lokomotiv BFK" bilan birga ikkinchi o'rinni bo'lishib turgan edi.

Source: 18 October 2019, Championat Asia




FIFA U-17 World Cup: educating players for life

Before the ball starts rolling on Saturday at the 18th edition of the FIFA U-17 World Cup™, FIFA has taken the opportunity to hold interactive sessions for all participating member associations in order to brief them on match manipulation and betting prevention while strengthening their capacity to recognise, resist and report any suspicious activity through FIFA's reporting mechanisms.

Since 2018, FIFA has been organising individual presentations at its competitions with the aim of providing a dedicated educational and awareness platform on integrity matters to all participating teams.

“Prevention is key and therefore it is fundamental for us to take a proactive stance and insist through an open dialogue on the paramount importance of integrity. Under-17 players are starting their careers and so it is absolutely crucial that we provide them with the necessary tools to safeguard the integrity of the game,” said Oliver Jaberg, FIFA’s Deputy Chief Legal & Compliance Officer and Director of Integrity & Institutional Legal.

Any approach or knowledge in connection with potential match manipulation and/or corruption-related activity can be reported anonymously, securely and confidentially through the FIFA Integrity App (available in the App Store and the Google Play Store) and the BKMS online reporting platform.

It’s a wonderful initiative from FIFA being proactive about an issue that affects our game, and for the boys to be able to learn about it is crucial. They have read it in the news, I think they know it’s there, but to be aware how it can affect them is very important,” commented Canada’s coach Andrew Olivieri.

“For nearly all of the players, it’s their first experience of international football and I think it’s really important to educate them as early as possible so that they take the information home,” said New Zealand’s coach José Figueira. For further information on FIFA’s efforts in the field of integrity in football, click here.

Source: 25 October 2019, FIFA



50 alerts reported by the International Betting Integrity Association in Q3

The International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA) reported 50 cases of suspicious betting to the relevant authorities during the third quarter (Q3) of 2019, bringing the annual total so far to 138 cases. Tennis (30) and football (15) constituted 90% of all alerts reported during Q3, with Europe (42%) and Asia (36%) maintaining their positions as the primary location of sporting events on which alerts were generated during that period.

Khalid Ali, Secretary General of the International Betting Integrity Association, stated: “The year to date has seen a significant downturn in alerts, notably on tennis. We welcome the ongoing efforts of the sport to work closely with us and to identify and impose sanctions on corrupt players. The scope of the association’s unique and global leading monitoring system has been boosted by four new members during 2019, with discussions ongoing with a number of other companies interested in investing in integrity and protecting their businesses from corruption.”

The 50 alerts reported during Q3 covered six sports, spanning five different continents. This is very similar to the 51 alerts reported in Q2 2019, but is a reduction of 30% on the 72 alerts in Q3 2018. Whilst the 30 tennis alerts reported in Q3 2019 represent a 40% reduction on the 50 tennis alerts reported in Q3 2018. The annual total to date of 138 cases represents a 25% drop on the 184 cases at the same point in 2018 and is primarily a result of the fall in tennis alerts, predominantly caused by a reduction in alerts at the ITF Tour level.

The International Betting Integrity Association is the leading global voice on integrity for the licensed betting industry. It is run by operators for operators, protecting its members from corruption through collective action. Its monitoring and alert platform is a highly effective anti-corruption tool that detects and reports suspicious activity on its members’ betting markets. The association has longstanding information sharing partnerships with leading sports and gambling regulators to utilise its data and prosecute corruption. It represents the sector at high-level policy discussion forums such as the IOC, UN, Council of Europe and European Commission.

The association publishes quarterly reports covering the integrity alerts reported through its monitoring and alert platform. The Q3 report can be found below or on our website along with previous reports.

Source: 23 October 2019, IBIA

United Kingdom

Football agent claimed he gave Alex Ferguson gold watch to fix match, court told

Trial of three men in football bribery case hears one boasted of unsubstantiated links to former Man Utd manager.

A corrupt football agent made unsubstantiated claims to have “thanked” former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson for fixing a match by giving him a £30,000 Rolex watch, a court has heard.

Giuseppe “Pino” Pagliara, 64, made the claim in a conversation secretly recorded by an undercover reporter, the prosecution said. Opening the trial, Brian O’Neill QC said Pagliara was taped boasting that the former Manchester United manager had accepted the gold watch in exchange for conspiring to fix the result of a Champions League match against Juventus.

Pagliara is on trial for bribery at Southwark crown court alongside Tommy Wright, the former assistant head coach at Barnsley FC, and football agent Dax Price, 48. All three deny the charges against them.


Opening the trial on Thursday, the prosecutor, Brian O’Neill QC, said the men were caught up in an extensive investigation by the Telegraph, which published a number of exposés of alleged corruption in English football in September 2016.

O’Neill said “the most high-profile casualty” of the work was the then England manager, Sam Allardyce, who had to resign from his role.

The court heard that Price and Pagliara made a series of boasts about their footballing links and set up meetings designed to “impress” undercover journalists.

Meetings were set up in London with the former England manager Steve McClaren, the former Arsenal player Nwankwo Kanu and the football manager Harry Redknapp.

O’Neill emphasised that none of the prominent footballing figures subject to allegations from Price and Pagliara were part of the prosecution’s case, which did not seek to “malign” them, as they were not present when the claims were said and not in a position to deny them in court.

The court heard that Claire Newell, an undercover journalist using the pseudonym Claire Taylor, posed as a representative of a fake sports management company named Meiran, and contacted Pagliara in May 2016 saying she wanted to invest in football players in the UK.

O’Neill explained that, over a series of meetings, emails and texts, Pagliara, originally from Genoa, and Price allegedly proposed schemes whereby they would become players’ agents, buy them and place them at clubs.

They would maintain ownership of a player and profit from his onward sale, which O’Neill alleged was “all to be facilitated by bribery”.

The court was told that such third-party ownership arrangements were banned by the Football Association in 2008 and by Fifa in 2015.

Wright is accused of accepting a £5,000 bribe to leak commercial information about his club’s players. He was allegedly handed an envelope full of cash during the newspaper investigation.

The jury heard that Price and Pagliara, who has never been registered as a football agent with the FA, set up an introduction with Wright, who allegedly accepted payment to encourage players to appoint Price and Pagliara as their agents and help place players at Barnsley.

At various meetings, Pagliara claimed he had “a wardrobe full of skeletons”, knew “every single manager in the country” and suggested corruption was rife in football.

He said the evidence was presented because it showed a defendant’s alleged “knowledge or belief of corruption within football in this country and elsewhere, and his willingness not just to condone such practices but also to embrace and exploit them”.

O’Neill said Wright had helped arrange a meeting for the owner of Barnsley to be introduced to Price and Pagliara, where the latter would pretend to be an interpreter, because he did not want it to be known that a previous finding of corruption had been made against him by the Italian Football Federation.

He added that Wright, “rather than alerting his employers to this ruse, played along with the facade”. 

The jury heard that at their first meeting with the undercover journalist, Price claimed football managers received “backhanders” when players were signed.

“It’s not corruption, but you know it is corruption … because obviously at the end of the day they’re just putting every deal through the manager and they’re obviously copping the money for it,” Price allegedly said.

The jury were taken through secretly recorded transcripts of conversations with Pagliara and Price that were later passed to City of London police.

The court was told that before Wright arrived at the first meeting with the undercover journalist and his co-defendants, Price claimed the coach had said to him: “I’ll do whatever you want.” Price said they had to “look after” Wright, who wanted “£10,000 or so”.

The trial continues.

Source: 17 October 2019, Guardian



International Olympic Committee



During the opening speech, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “This gathering today reflects the very nature of the IFSI, which is cooperation and partnership. We are a community which shares a common goal to protect competitions from manipulation and from related corruption.”

At the Forum, a new publication, “IOC-UNODC Reporting Mechanisms in Sport: A Practical Guide for Development and Implementation”, was launched. The guide provides information on good practice for sports organisations with regard to receiving and handling reports of wrongdoing, including competition manipulation, harassment, doping and corruption.

In his speech, President Bach praised the close cooperation with the many stakeholders. “In the spirit of this cooperation, we have taken many measures together since the launch of the IFSI in 2015,” he said. “The most obvious example is the Council of Europe Convention on the manipulation of sports competitions, which came into effect last month and is already being implemented in a large number of countries. This is an example of the IFSI in action.”

Ronan O’Laoire, the Global Coordinator for UNODC’s Global Programme for Safeguarding Sport from Corruption and Crime, pointed to the importance of developing effective reporting mechanisms in sport, “It is crucial for government agencies and sports organisations to identify and apprehend those responsible for wrongdoing in sport, including competition manipulation. Having effective reporting mechanisms in place to facilitate this is essential, and we believe that the Guide on Reporting Mechanisms in Sport, developed through our partnership with the IOC, sets out a highly effective basis to do just that,” he said. President Bach also welcomed the launch of a Sports Investigators Network. “With this network of 200 trained investigators from International and National Federations, National Olympic Committees and sports disciplinary bodies, we can really go to the heart of the problem, which is having access to information as soon as possible and, in some cases, even before the problem occurs. Having this investigators’ network in place will allow us to address issues from the roots,” Bach outlined.

During the Forum, the IOC and EUROPOL also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will establish a mutual cooperation framework between the two organisations. This will facilitate the exchange of expertise, the dissemination of information and the engagement in joint endeavours related to the field of manipulation of competitions and related organised crime.


On the signing of the MoU, Europol’s Deputy Executive Director, Wil van Gemert, said: “Corruption in sports is a global criminal phenomenon perpetrated by organised crime groups operating cross-border and often involved in other crimes. Working closely together in coalition with key partners, like the IOC, is crucial in the fight against corruption in sports. Combating sports corruption means not only defending the integrity of sports, but also protecting the public from criminals who cause significant damage to the safety, security and wellbeing of the EU citizens.”

The Forum later heard first-hand testimonials from four-time Olympian hammer thrower Jennifer Dahlgren. Dahlgren acts as an ambassador for the “Believe in Sport” campaign, led by the Olympic Movement Unit on the Prevention of the Manipulation of Competitions (OM Unit PMC).

Launched last year, the “Believe in Sport” campaign aims to raise awareness about the threat of competition manipulation among athletes, coaches and officials. It will again be activated at the Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020 in January and, in collaboration with the various Olympic International Federations (IFs), in the run-up to and during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

In addition, all accreditation-holders at next year’s Olympic Games will have to respect a Code of Conduct and the “Tokyo 2020 Betting Rules”. The Olympic competitions will be monitored closely in real time. Should any potential breaches be detected by the OM Unit PMC’s Integrity Betting Intelligence System (IBIS), disciplinary processes are in place to follow up swiftly. Furthermore, the IOC’s Integrity Hotline enables everyone to report suspicious activities, including ones related to competition manipulation and any other infringements of the IOC Code of Ethics.

Also actively involved in reaching out to her fellow athletes at the recent Pan-American Games, Dahlgren said: “There are a lot of athletes who are vulnerable because they simply lack information about competition manipulation, an issue that can put them at serious risk. I accepted to be one of the 17 Believe in Sport Ambassadors as I realised athletes need to be more aware of this topic. We are engaging them directly during international and regional competitions, and these interactions prove to be beneficial for all of us.”

Panel discussions and expert presentations at today’s Forum covered important topics such as: information exchange and investigative procedures; how to ensure impartial and effective reporting mechanisms; the activities of the OM Unit PMC created as a result of the last IFSI; the implications of the entry into force of the Council of Europe Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competitions; collaboration between betting entities and sports organisations; and the coordination between sport and criminal investigators.

Please find here all the conclusions of the third IFSI.

* The International Criminal Police Organization

** The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation

Source: 28 October 2019, IOC




JO de Rio 2016 : arrestation du « roi Arthur », l'homme d'affaires au coeur des soupçons de corruption

Arthur Menezes Soares, soupçonné d'avoir acheté des voix pour permettre à Rio de décrocher les Jeux Olympiques de 2016, a été arrêté vendredi à Miami. Il était en fuite depuis deux ans.

Un homme d'affaires brésilien soupçonné d'avoir acheté des voix pour permettre à Rio de Janeiro de décrocher les Jeux Olympiques de 2016 a été arrêté vendredi dernier à Miami, aux États-Unis. En fuite depuis deux ans, Arthur Menezes Soares est accusé par la justice brésilienne d'avoir versé, à travers la société Matlock Capital Group, basée aux îles Vierges britanniques, deux millions de dollars à Papa Massata Diack, le fils de l'ex patron de l'athlétisme mondial (IAAF) Lamine Diack, le 29 septembre 2009. Soit trois jours avant l'attribution des Jeux de 2016 à Rio. Cet argent aurait servi à payer des membres du Comité international olympique (CIO) en échange de voix.

Contacté par L'Équipe, le ministère public fédéral du Brésil confirme avoir « été informé vendredi 25 octobre de l'arrestation du prévenu fugitif Arthur César de Menezes Soares Filho [...]. Les procureurs de Lava Jato [« lavage express », nom donné à une immense enquête de corruption aux nombreuses ramifications] à Rio de Janeiro espèrent que les demandes déjà adressées aux autorités américaines afin de poursuivre le processus seront satisfaites. »

Connu au Brésil comme le « roi Arthur », Arthur Menezes Soares a dirigé plusieurs entreprises ayant passé de nombreux contrats, pour plusieurs centaines de millions d'euros, avec le gouvernement de l'État de Rio. Selon le journal brésilien O Globo, il aurait passé un accord avec le département de la Justice américain pour éviter d'être extradé vers le Brésil en échange de sa coopération. Il aurait reconnu sa participation au système d'achat de voix.

Si l'information était confirmée, il s'agirait du deuxième prévenu à passer aux aveux dans cette enquête, baptisée « unfair play ». En juillet dernier, Sergio Cabral, l'ancien gouverneur de Rio de Janeiro, a affirmé devant un juge fédéral brésilien avoir soudoyé des délégués du CIO pour obtenir l'organisation des JO 2016. Emprisonné depuis la fin de l'année 2016, il a été reconnu coupable dans plusieurs autres affaires de corruption liées au scandale Lava Joto au cours de son mandat (2007-2014).

Carlos Arthur Nuzman, ex-président du Comité olympique brésilien, est également soupçonné d'avoir participé au système d'achat de voix. Sergio Cabral a déclaré à la justice brésilienne : « Nuzman est venu me voir pour me dire qu'il voulait me parler du président de l'IAAF, Lamine Diack, une personne ouverte pour recevoir des pots-de-vin. Je lui ai demandé quelles seraient nos garanties. Il m'a répondu que traditionnellement, Diack vend 4, 5 ou 6 voix. »

Soupçonnés d'être au coeur d'un système de corruption pour couvrir des cas de dopage d'athlètes russes, Lamine Diack (86 ans) et son fils Papa Massata Diack seront jugés du 13 au 23 janvier 2020 par le tribunal correctionnel de Paris. Celui qui fut l'influent président de l'IAAF entre 1999 et 2015 devra répondre de « corruption active et passive », « abus de confiance » et « blanchiment en bande organisée ». Réfugié à Dakar, son fils, ex-puissant conseiller à l'IAAF en charge des droits marketing, est notamment poursuivi pour « blanchiment en bande organisée »,« corruption active » et « complicité de corruption passive ».

C'est dans le cadre de cette enquête, lancée en 2015 par le parquet national financier, que le virement suspect entre Matlock Capital Group et Papa Massata Diack a été découvert et transmis à la justice brésilienne.

Source: 30 October 2019, L'Equipe


Details emerge over the corruption case against PSG President Al Khelaifi ongoing in Switzerland

Mediapart have today provided more detail relating to the ongoing Swiss legal investigation in to alleged corruption committed by PSG President Nasser Al Khelaifi.

Swiss prosecutors are pursuing the Qatari over a charge of “private corruption”, with the outlet in question reporting to have obtained confidential documents revealing how Nasser Al Khelaifi organised the financing of a luxury villa that happened to be occupied by the former number two at FIFA, Jérôme Valcke and occurred at the same time that a generous TV contract was secured with the football governing body at a time when Qatar’s 2022 World Cup hosting was under threat.

This story takes us to Sardinia, on October 13th 2017. Italian police raided and seized a sumptuous 438-square-metre villa overlooking the Mediterranean. Jérôme Valcke, ex-Vice President of FIFA, was the tenant. The day before, French police from the anti-corruption unit had searched a building in Boulogne-Billancourt which plays home to the headquarters of both PSG and BeIN Sports. These are also the offices of their president: Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

Since then, Swiss authorities, who are leading this operation, have put Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Jérôme Valcke on trial for “private corruption”. Mediapart claim that the Swiss Public Ministry of the Confederation (MPC) suspects Al Khelaifi to have financed Valcke’s Sardinia villa simultaneously as another contract was being signed by the two men: the purchase of the World Cup rights for BeIN in a $480m deal. This is one of two cases of corruption currently being pursued against Al Khelaifi, the other being undertaken in France relating to his winning the rights for Qatar to host the World Athletics Championships.

Documentation from the Swiss prosecutor seen by Mediapart alleges that Al Khelaifi’s initial plan was to gift Valcke the Sardinia villa. However, Al-Khelaifi eventually changed tact and bought it via a company register in Qatar, then resold it to a friend of his, who rented it to the FIFA Secretary General on some unusual terms.

Mediapart also allege that there is a possible link between this series of events and the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, whose ability to win the bid was being investigated at the time for being corrupt by authorities in France, Switzerland and the United States. French investigators are intensely interested in a supposed deal proposed by Nasser Al Khelaifi to FIFA just before the vote on 2nd December 2010: BeIN promised to buy the TV rights for the World Cup for $300m, plus an additional $100m bonus if Qatar won the rights to the 2022 edition. Documentation uncovered by the European Investigation Collaboration team suggests that the extension of his TV rights contract, which occurred in 2014 at the same time that Valcke received his villa, could have been a quid-pro-quo for FIFA to accept that the Qatar World Cup would be held in winter.

Al-Khelaifi’s Swiss lawyer, Grégoire Mangeat, refused to respond to questions from Mediapart, preferring to give statements to Le Monde instead, during which he stated that his client “strongly contests having committed the slightest infraction” and “denounces continuous media manipulation”. Before adding on Valcke’s villa: “Mr Al-Khelaifi will simply repeat here that he is not and has never been the owner of the villa.”

Jérôme Valcke in the meantime “formally contests the idea of having received any undue compensation.” His lawyer, Patrick Hunziker, has indicated to Mediapart that he was neither the negotiator nor the decision-maker on the contracts with BeIN and that he “has not influenced the taking of these decision in a manner contrary to his duties.”

It all began in the summer of 2013. After 6 years as FIFA’s number two, Jérôme Valcke was rich: he was being paid €120,000 a month and received €15m in bonuses. The former Canal + journalist was living a life of luxury. He abused a system of private jet trips at the expense of FIFA, one of these instances resulted in him being suspended in 2015, then banned for 10 years and indicted by the Swiss federal prosecutor. As revealed by the Panama Papers, Jérôme Valcke created an discreet offshore company in the British Virgin Islands in July 2013 called Umbelina, to enact the purchase of a $2.8m 32-metre yacht, which he renamed Ornella (the name of his wife) and renovated it for an estimated €15m.

The yacht Ornella was bought in 2013, and the offshore company with which he used to do so was the same vehicle through which he rented the Villa Bianca, which is central to this case. Valcke is understood to have been fixated with the idea of anchoring his yacht in Porto Cervo, a village occupied by the super-rich in northeastern Sardinia, which attracts international jetsetters in summer. Ex-Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi owned the Villa Certosa, which was located next door to Valcke’s targeted prize.

In 2013, the Villa Bianca was owned by Lele Mora, a businessman heavily implicated in the infamous Bunga Bunga parties with Prime Minister Berlusconi. The Bianca has 13 rooms and a swimming pool. On August 30th 2013, Jérôme Valcke signed a proposal to buy the villa he wanted for €5m, a bid that was accepted at the beginning of September. He could not contain his joy in writing to someone close to him about this per documentation obtained by Mediapart: “The house in Porto Cervo has been confirmed to me tonight. I own Porto Cervo!”

On October 2nd, Valcke wrote to a financial institution that he “will finalise the acquisition… without credit because of exceptional cash flow that covers the cost of the acquisition, the €5m.” A bill of sale was drafted and dated November 8th, the day scheduled for the signing. It was Valcke’s wife, Ornella (they have since divorced) who was assigned in the documentation as the owner of her house. According to her lawyer, it was because she was of Italian nationality.

On 30th October, a week before the signing, Jérôme Valcke writes and prints out a document intended for Nasser Al Khelaifi. On this document, according to Mediapart, are instructions for him to pay for the villa.

“You need to sign,” wrote Valcke. “… the special power of attorney, to give the lawyer a mandate to sign for the deed of sale in your place… You don’t need to sign, you just need to see it. Everything is ok.”

He then further adds: “A transfer of €5,070,000 must be made early next week to the account of the notary… It is also necessary to make a transfer of €200,000 on the account of… for the expenses of the agency.”

But at the last moment, the sale to Jérôme Valcke’s wife was cancelled. It was replaced by a more discreet instrument, and probably a less risky one at that. On December 31st 2013, Nasser Al Khelaifi bought the Villa Bianca through a company called Golden Home Real Estate, a Qatari company that he owns and to which he has lent €5m. The PSG boss then transferred his shares in the company to a 15-year-long friend, who repaid the loan and loaned the property to Valcke.

The friend in question was a man called Abdelkader Bessedik, a French jurist residing in Qatar. His brother Ahmed, a BeIN Sports employee, is a very close advisor of Al Khelaifi’s: “The shadow of his shadow,” have written L’Équipe Magazine in the past to describe him.

Abdelkader Bessedik’s lawyer affirms that it was his brother who advised him to buy the villa because it was “a good business deal.” This individual’s counsel explains that Al Khelaifi bought the villa first purely owing to an administrative problem: “My client could not make the acquisition of this property via a Qatari company without having received authorisation. This came just after the sale and therefore he immediately became owner (of the Golden Home Real Estate company).”

Jérôme Valcke has indicated to Mediapart via his lawyer that Al Khelaifi’s temporary ownership of this villa was a mere coincidence. He affirms that “it was never a question” that Al Khelaifi would finance the purchase of such a villa for him, which Valcke had hoped to buy with a FIFA bonus, before being forced to give it up. He says that he only learned after the fact that the man whom he finally rented the house from was “someone close to Mr Al-Khelaifi.”

Valcke rented the villa through his Umbelina offshore company based in the British Virgin Islands. The nature of the lease, as revealed by Le Monde, was peculiar to say the least. It was signed on 1st July 2014, three months after Valcke had already moved in. The rent was set at €96,000 a year, but a clause was included that allowed Valcke to deduct operating costs of the villa from the overall total as well as the purchase of any new furniture.

Abdelkader Bessedik’s lawyer, Pierre-Dominique Schupp, has indicated that his client first reached a verbal agreement with Valcke, authorising him to occupy the premises in exchange for payment of “running costs and a few expenses.” This was formalised into a contract only later – the two men say that Valcke paid what Bessedik was owed until he vacated the villa in 2015, the year he was suspended by FIFA.

The prosecutors of the Swiss Federal Prosecutor’s Office suspect this dealing to have ties to another contract, which Valcke and Al-Khelaifi were involved with at the same time: the purchase by BeIN of the television rights to the 2026 and 2030 World Cups for $480m.

In the summer of 2013, Qatar was facing two problems, which were calling into question their 2022 World Cup hosting ambitions. Michael Garcia, the Chief Investigator of the FIFA Ethics Committee, was conducting an extensive investigation into the alleged corruption behind the award of the 2022 competition to Qatar. The second issue, was that the federation had still not been convinced about moving the competition to winter. Everyone knew that if Qatar 2022 were to go ahead, it could not be played in summer, where temperatures average at 50 degrees centigrade. The longer that FIFA took over the latter issue, the more likely that a different location would step in – moving the World Cup to winter does not suit anyone: it has played havoc with club competition scheduling already and it would also likely bring in less revenue.

Valcke, despite his denials, was at the heart of this thorny issue. At a meeting of the FIFA Finance Committee at the end of 2013, he explained that “the date of the event will be crucial for all television rights contracts, because several major events take place between November and February, such as winter sports and the NFL Super Bowl.”

On August 30th 2013, Valcke signed the purchase proposal for the Villa Bianca. In September, he flew to Doha aboard a private jet chartered by FIFA for more than €100,000 for a business meeting with the Emir of Qatar himself.

On October 3rd 2013, at a meeting of the FIFA Finance Committee, a member is understood to have asked Valcke whether the Emir was ready to compensate FIFA for the loss of income likely related to moving the 2022 World Cup from summer to winter. Valcke answered that he mentioned this to representatives of Qatar, and that whilst the Emir does not want to pay directly, FIFA could get the money via “Qatari commercial partners, asking for bonuses from them in case the competition is moved from summer to winter.” Valcke added that Qatar and FIFA have agreed to “cooperate positively” to solve the issue.

A month and a half later, in November 2013, FIFA drafted a contract to sell BeIN Sports the TV rights for the World Cups in 2026 and 2030 for the Middle East, in exchange for $480m. Valcke announced the good news to FIFA’s Finance Committee on December 4th.

There were several strange quirks to this contract. FIFA did not undergo a bidding process for these rights, which is common practice in order to incite a bidding war. There after all other sports channels operating in the Middle East. Two sources close to FIFA have told Mediapart that it was also highly unusual to sell such rights more than 10 years in advance of the competitions actually taking place. Generally, FIFA can earn more money by selling them closer to the time.

FIFA’s own lawyers, who reviewed the draft contract late in November 20134, pointed to the same thing, per Swiss prosecutorial documentation, citing “the very long duration of the agreement leaves us open to legal and regulatory risks.”

On top of that, there the highly elevated fee. The previous deal was €300m for two earlier World Cups, plus a $100m bonus if Qatar obtained the hosting country status for 2022. For the 2026 and 2030 competitions, such a bonus was of course not necessary as they had already won the rights to host in 2022.

The contract was ratified by FIFA’s Executive Committee on 21st March 2014. It was signed on behalf of FIFA by Valcke himself and for BeIN Sports by PSG President Nasser Al Khelaifi. Two months later, Valcke signed a contract to loan the Villa Bianca. Coincidentally, FIFA shortly thereafter took two decisions in Qatar’s favour. In September 2014, FIFA refused to publish the report on alleged corruption in the 2022 World Cup bidding process written by Michael Garcia, who resigned in December. Following this development, FIFA President Sepp Blatter pronounced that there was no reason to question the decision to give this World Cup to Qatar.

On February 24th 2015, a special committee recommended that the 2022 World Cup should be held in winter, a decision that was ratified seven months later. All very coincidental. Legal representation of all principal actors attest that no wrongdoing was committed. The Swiss prosecutor is not so sure.

Qatar continued to pamper Valcke – in February 2015, during a trip to Doha, he received a Cartier watch, worth €40k, as a gift. Al-Khelaifi’s lawyer claims that he had no part in this decision allegedly made by the Qatari government.

In September 2015, Valcke was suspended by FIFA. Per Mediapart, Valcke stopped renting the villa in the same year. Abdelkader Bessedik, Al Khelaifi’s friend, in March 2017 transferred the Golden Home Real Estate company from Qatari to Italian jurisdiction. After Valcke’s departure, it has since and continues to be rented to rich holidaymakers. But for two years between 2015 and 2017, Villa Bianca was empty.

Source: 19 October 2019, Get Football News




UEFA kicks off feasibility study regarding the fight against match-fixing in European football

UEFA has begun its search for an individual or organisation to conduct a feasibilty study aimed at examining ways of enhancing football's capacity to investigate and prosecute match-fixing cases.

UEFA announced after its Executive Committee meeting in Ljubljana last month that it would be undertaking a feasibility study regarding the fight against match-fixing in European football.

Today, the search for an individual or organisation to conduct that study has begun through a tender process.

The aim of the feasibility study is to examine ways to enhance football’s capacity to investigate and prosecute match-fixing cases by bringing UEFA closer to public authorities, national police, governments and state prosecutors.

Any new organisation would complement existing structures, such as the Council of Europe’s Macolin Convention, EUROPOL, ICPO-Interpol as well as other frameworks, and would aim to co-operate with other sporting bodies and governments in a focused, coordinated, and centralised way across the countries of UEFA’s 55 national associations.

UEFA President Aleksander eferin said, “We must do more to fight match-fixing aggressively because collectively and individually, we haven’t done enough. The most important thing is co-operation with governments because our problem always was and always is that, even if we know many things, each case has to be prosecuted.

“The main problem is that our jurisdiction ends at football. We cannot tap phones, we cannot put people in prison, and with many computer servers being 10,000km from Europe, it’s a problem we cannot solve on our own. This study will look at how to bring together the different actors on this stage, so we are all working in partnership, not isolation, to tackle one of the biggest threats to the integrity of sport.”

The problem of match-fixing has increased in recent years and, despite the excellent work done, the capacity of UEFA and other sports bodies to fight it has not grown in line with the threat.

Sport leaders have repeatedly stated that sport itself does not have the means to effectively counter match-fixing – only state authorities do. UEFA believes that there are various reasons why the fight against match-fixing needs to be strengthened. This feasibility study aims to address these challenges.

Source: 18 October 2019, UEFA Football


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