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INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin - 8 January 2019 - 21 January 2019

Tennis Court and crowd

An unfolding and ongoing investigation in the match fixing activities of an organized crime group focusing on tennis, and with the heads based in Belgium, now covers Bulgaria, Slovakia, Germany, the Netherlands, France, the United States and Belgium. Over the last two weeks, four players were taken into custody in France, and 15 arrests were made in Spain.

In Indonesia, the chairman of the national Football Federation announced his resignation following an ongoing investigation on manipulation in football.

In Belgium, the Gaming Commission is investigating the gambling behavior of hockey players. In Sri Lanka, the International Cricket Council has granted an unprecedented fifteen-day amnesty to individuals to report corrupt conduct in and around cricket.

The Tennis Integrity Unit suspended 28-year old Chilean tennis player Cristobal Saavedra-Corvalan for two and a half years and fined him $8,000 after being found guilty of failing to co-operate with a Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) investigation. You can also find a link to the 2018 Annual Review of the activities of the TIU.

Meanwhile, French investigators are conducting a corruption probe that now targets the President of the Japanese Olympic Committee, in relation to the 2020 Olympics bidding contest. In Sri Lanka, the sports minister claimed he was offered a bribe to include certain players to the national team.

In the world of anti-doping, WADA stated it has successfully retrieved data from the Moscow Laboratoy in order to complete its probe into state-sponsored doping in Russia. The IOC expressed disappointment with a Swiss Federal Court Tribunal decision to clear Russian champion skier Alexander Legkov of doping and return his 2014 Sochi Olympics medals. Finally, the MPCC, Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Credible, has released the results of a study <> that compiles doping and corruption cases across different sports.

The Asian Racing Federation has published a white paper covering the societal, economical and sporting integrity impact in Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and South Korea. In every jurisdiction, illegal betting was found to be large and growing, as well as its associated negative impacts on sports integrity, money laundering and other criminality.

Finally, A Ghanaian undercover journalist has been shot dead while driving home, after a politician called for retribution against him. He was a member of Tiger Eye Private Investigations and had investigated corruption in Ghana's football leagues.

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, 4 February 2019.



Belgian tennis-fixing inquiry looking at "100 individuals"

A Belgian inquiry into match-fixing in tennis is investigating "100 individuals", many of them players and coaches, a spokesman for the Belgian Federal Prosecutor's Office said on Friday (Jan 18).

The case involves "a highly structured gang from Eastern Europe, which acts from Belgium and specialises in tennis matches," said Eric Van Duyse, the spokesman.

"They focused on low-stakes games, where it's easier to bribe and cheat," he added.

Van Duyse said the inquiry has spread across seven countries: Bulgaria, Slovakia, Germany, the Netherlands, France, the United States and Belgium.

Four French players were arrested last week, two as they were preparing to play doubles in a third-tier Futures event in Bressuire, in central France, a tournament which carried a total prize fund of US$15,000 (13,210 euros).

The four players were released on Wednesday, but are still being investigated. They are suspected of taking bribes to help fix matches at Futures and second-tier Challengers events.

"These are players who have come close to an ATP pro career but who today are struggling to make ends meet," a French police source told AFP.

"The bribes go up to 3,000 euros," said the police source, adding that at a lesser tournament, even winning the title often nets only 2,000 euros.

In Belgium, six members of the suspected network at the heart of the conspiracy have been charged. The supposed leader, known as "GS" remains in custody.

Source: 18 January 2019, Channel News Asia



Trois Red Lions soupçonnés de paris illégaux pendant le Mondial, d'autres matches concernés

Un mois après le titre historique des Red Lions au Mondial, un nuage vient obscurcir le ciel du hockey belge. Des joueurs de l'équipe nationale auraient parié sur des matches pendant la Coupe du Monde, annonçaient ce matin la Dernière Heure et La Libre. Trois joueurs sont concernés. La police a ouvert une enquête.

Selon nos informations, la commission des jeux de hasard s'intéresse aussi au dossier. Elle a transmis une demande d'information plus large qui concerne une vingtaine de rencontres (championnat de Belgique, World League et des matches du club anversois du Dragon en European Hockey League) dont certaines remontent à 2015. La commission a demandé et obtenu les feuilles des rencontres en question.

Rappelons que la loi sur les jeux de hasard interdit "à quiconque de participer à tout jeu de hasard si l’intéressé peut avoir une influence directe sur son résultat". En clair, un joueur ne peut pas parier sur un match qu'il dispute. Des sanctions sont prévues allant de l'amende à la prison.

Précision importante, l'enquête ne viserait pas d'éventuels matches truqués. Elle se concentrerait sur "le nombre de paris émis par ces joueurs, leurs mises et les gains éventuels", détaille encore le quotidien.

Contactée par nos soins, la fédération affirme ne pas être officiellement au courant de cette affaire. "Nous n'avons pas été contactés par cette Commission de Contrôle des Jeux de Hasard, ni par aucune instance officielle. Nous ne sommes pas au courant d'une enquête judiciaire à l'encontre de certains Red Lions. Nous croyons savoir qu'il y a eu une demande d'information de la part de la Commission, mais n'en avons pas la confirmation", explique Denis Van Damme, directeur de la communication de l'Association Royale Belge de Hockey (ARBH). Nous avons pu obtenir la confirmation qu'une enquête avait bien été ouverte.

"Nous ne connaissons pas le nombre, ni le nom des Red Lions concernés", précise encore Van Damme. "Nous avons contacté chacun des joueurs présents en Inde et leur avons demandé s'ils étaient impliqués dans des paris en ligne sur des matchs de la Coupe du monde. Aucun d'eux n'a répondu par la positive."

"Maintenant la question se pose si l'interdiction s'étend également à un membre de l'équipe non sélectionné pour le tournoi ou même d'un membre du staff non repris sur la feuille de match", a précisé Van Damme à l'agence Belga. "Nous resterons attentifs

  • l'évolution de cette demande d'information. Nous voulons être le plus transparent possible et notre position est claire et net: seul notre sport et son image comptent".

La police s'est donc saisie de l'affaire. Au terme de son enquête, elle dressera un PV qui sera transmis au parquet. Sur cette base, la Commission de Contrôle des Jeux de Hasard, elle, n'interviendrait qu'à l'issue de cette première phase, qui pourrait prendre un an.

Source: 15 January 2019, RTBF


Four tennis players in French custody as match-fixing ring unravels

Four tennis players are in French custody on suspicion of helping an organized gambling syndicate believed to have fixed hundreds of low-tier matches, sources close to the investigation told The Associated Press.

The players are suspected of working for Grigor Sargsyan, the 28-year-old known as the Maestro. Police believe the Belgium-based kingpin may have paid more than 100 players from at least half a dozen countries.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to discuss details publicly, said at least one suspect told investigators that he fixed around two dozen matches for Sargsyan.

They named the players as Jules Okala, 21; Mick Lescure, 25; Yannick Thivant, 31; and Jerome Inzerillo, 28. None operated in the highest spheres of tennis. The career-best singles ranking of any of them was 354, reached by Inzerillo in 2012. The arrests of Okala and Lescure were first reported Wednesday by French sports newspaper L'Equipe.

The detentions are part of months of digging by police working across Europe to unravel a massive match-fixing scheme, organized via encrypted messaging and involving dozens of low-ranked players who struggle to make ends meet by playing in small tournaments.

A dozen or more other French players are expected to be questioned in coming days or weeks. An investigator said France was one of the countries "hardest hit" by the syndicate, which targeted lower-level pro-circuit tournaments. Okala and Lescure were detained before they were to play in a modest tournament in Bressuire, France, this week that offers a total of $15,000 in prize money.

Investigators have also questioned other players in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Slovakia and Bulgaria and are looking to question others, including both players and managers, in the United States, Chile and Egypt.

Police say Sargsyan employed mules, people hired for a few euros to place bets for the syndicate that were small enough to slip under the radar of gambling watchdogs.

In all, more than 100 players are suspected of having worked with the syndicate, fixing matches, sets or games in exchange for payments of 500 to 3,000 euros ($570 to $3,400), with the deals sometimes organized through encrypted messages.

"The impression we're getting is that it is very commonplace," one official told the AP. Another said several hundred matches are thought to have been fixed.

Investigators fear that players corrupted by the syndicate could suck others into the scheme if left unchecked and could go on to infect bigger tournaments if they climb higher in tennis' rankings.

"In time, they could be managers of other new players or trainers, so we have to get them out of the system or they could corrupt others in a few years," one official told the AP.

Sargsyan was swept up in a wave of arrests in Belgium in June and remains in custody, facing organized crime, match-fixing, money laundering and forgery charges. A suspected banker for the syndicate also faces money laundering and organized crime charges, while four others are being investigated for illegal gambling and finding mules.

Because the bets were small, the risk of detection was "almost zero," but the profits could still be considerable if many bets were placed, one official said.

Still unclear is whether the Belgium-based syndicate was linked to another match-fixing and gambling operation, also involving Armenians, that unraveled in Spain. Spanish police last week announced that 28 professional tennis players, including one who participated in last year's US Open, were linked to that ring, taking bribes to fix results that the group bet on using fake identities.

Source: 16 January 2019, ESPN



Head of scandal-plagued Indonesian football resigns

JAKARTA: Indonesia’s top football official resigned Sunday following a match-fixing scandal that has reignited concerns over the game’s long-running struggle with corruption in the Southeast Asian country.

Chairman Edy Rahmayadi announced he would step down at the Football Association of Indonesia’s (PSSI) annual congress in Bali, according to the organisation’s Twitter account.

For the future of the PSSI, I am resigning as chairman,“ he was reported as saying by Indonesian news website

Rahmayadi, who was elected chair of the scandal-plagued PSSI in 2016, admitted some failings under his leadership, local media reported.

Indonesian football has recently been rocked by a series of match-fixing allegations.

The PSSI and police announced a crackdown on match-fixing in December after an executive member of the association was caught on tape trying to bribe a coach approximately US$10,000 (RM41,000) to throw a second division game.

Hidayat, who like many Indonesians only uses one name, resigned from his role and was handed a three-year ban and fine by a PSSI disciplinary committee.

Police have since named more than 10 suspects in a match-fixing probe.

While it has a low international profile, Indonesia has attracted Premier League players including former Chelsea star Michael Essien and Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Didier Zokora.

But Indonesian football has been tarnished on the global stage by a host of problems over the years, including months of unpaid wages and the deaths of at least two foreign players who were left unable to afford medical care.

An explosive row between the domestic association and government prompted FIFA to ban Indonesia from international competition in 2015. The ban was lifted in 2017.

Source: 20 January 2019, the Sun Daily



Spain arrests 15 people in tennis match-fixing investigation

Law enforcement officials in Spain have arrested 15 people in an investigation into tennis match-fixing by an Armenian criminal gang.

Spain's Civil Guard said 83 people were implicated, among them 28 players from the ITF Futures and Challenger tours.

One of those arrested is Spanish tennis player Marc Fornell-Mestres, 36.

He was ranked 1007th in singles at the end of 2018 and was suspended by the Tennis Integrity Unit last month as part of an anti-corruption probe.

Spain Civil Guard also said one of the players implicated in the investigation competed at last year's US Open.

EU police agency Europol said 11 house searches had been carried out in Spain in which 167,000 euros (£151,000) in cash were seized, along with a shotgun.

It added that more than 50 electronic devices, credit cards, five luxury vehicles and documentation related to the case were also seized.

Forty-two bank accounts have also been frozen.

Europol earlier said on Thursday that 83 people had been arrested by the Civil Guard, but the Spanish authorities later clarified the situation.

"The suspects bribed professional players to guarantee predetermined results and used the identities of thousands of citizens to bet on the pre-arranged games," Europol said in a statement.

"A criminal group of Armenian individuals used a professional tennis player, who acted as the link between the gang and the rest of the criminal group.

The Civil Guard added that "once they got the bribe, the Armenian members went to the places where the matches were being played to make sure the player went through with what they had agreed, making the most of their imposing size".

"Fifteen people have been detained, among them the leaders of the organisation, and 68 others have been investigated."

None of those investigated has been named.

The Civil Guard said the organisation had been operating since at least February 2017, while Europol said at least 97 ITF Futures and Challenger matches had been fixed.

The investigation started in 2017 after the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) grew concerned about "irregular activities" relating to pre-arranged matches in the tournaments, Europol added.

A joint BBC and BuzzFeed News investigation uncovered suspected illegal betting on tennis matches in January 2016.

Last month a final report into corruption in tennis by the Independent Review Panel said there should be no live streaming, or scoring data provided, at the lowest tier of professional tennis.

The ITF Futures and Challenger tournaments are below the top-tier ATP and WTA Tours.

The International Tennis Federation estimates there are 14,000 players trying to make a living from the sport, half of whom do not make any money at all.

Source: 11 January 2019, BBC Sport


Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka corruption: ICC launches 15-day amnesty as investigation widens

The International Cricket Council has announced an unprecedented 15-day amnesty as part of its investigation into corruption in Sri Lanka.

The amnesty, which will run from 16-31 January, is the first of its kind held by cricket's world governing body.

Failure to report an approach, incident or information can result in a ban from cricket of up to five years, but those who come forward during the ICC amnesty with information on corrupt conduct, which they had previously failed to report, will not be charged.

Last year, former Sri Lanka international players Sanath Jayasuriya, Nuwan Zoysa and Dilhara Lokuhettige were charged by the ICC's anti-corruption unit as part of a wide-ranging investigation.

Alex Marshall, general manager of the ICC's anti-corruption unit, said: "This is the first time the ICC has held an amnesty and it is in response to the very specific challenges we face in Sri Lanka.

"Allowing retrospective reporting of alleged approaches to engage in corrupt conduct will assist in our ongoing and wide-ranging investigations, as well as enabling us to continue to develop a comprehensive picture of the situation there."

The amnesty will apply to anyone who comes under the ICC's and Sri Lanka Cricket's anti-corruption codes.

Under those codes, players are obliged to "report, without delay, full details of any approaches, incident or information that they receive to engage in corrupt conduct", and failure to do so is a serious offence.

Former Test captain Jayasuriya, 49, was charged last October with two breaches of the ICC's anti-corruption code.

Jayasuriya, also a former chairman of selectors and an ex-Sri Lanka government minister, was accused of failing to co-operate with an investigation and "concealing, tampering with or destroying evidence", but issued a statement saying he had always acted with "integrity".

Sri Lanka bowling coach Zoysa, 40, and former all-rounder Lokuhettige, 38, were separately charged with breaches of the codes relating to match-fixing.

Source: 10 January 2019, BBC Sport




Cristobal Saavedra-Corvalan suspended and fined for failing to co-operate with TIU corruption investigation

28-year old Chilean tennis player Cristobal Saavedra-Corvalan has been suspended for two and a half years and fined $8,000 after being found guilty of failing to co-operate with a Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) investigation.

Independent Anti-Corruption Hearing Officer (AHO) Prof Richard H. McLaren considered the case at a disciplinary Hearing held in Miami on 11 December 2018. His decision and applicable sanctions were confirmed today, 8 January 2019.

On 16 October 2017 Mr Saavedra-Corvalan was provisionally suspended from playing by AHO McLaren, as a result of his failure to comply with a series of requests for information from the TIU. The two and a half year period of suspension now imposed is backdated to begin from that date and means that the player is not allowed to compete in, or attend, any tournament or event organised or sanctioned by the governing bodies of the sport.

Assuming no further breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program (TACP) are incurred, he will be eligible to resume playing tennis from 15 April 2020.

Mr Saavedra-Corvalan was charged under Section F.2.b of the TACP which requires all Covered Persons to co-operate with TIU investigations into potential breaches of integrity:

All Covered Persons must co-operate fully with investigations conducted by the TIU including giving evidence at hearings, if requested. No Covered Person shall tamper with or destroy any evidence or other information related to any Corruption Offense.

He achieved a career-high singles ranking of 284 in November 2011 and was ranked 663 at the time of his provisional suspension in October 2017.

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: 8 January 2019, Tennis Integrity Unit




Et le sport le plus touché par le dopage est…

«Les cyclistes, tous des dopés!» Le café du commerce est toujours très sévère avec le peloton des professionnels, quand il s'agit de débattre de la crédibilité du Tour de France et des autres prestigieuses courses de la saison. Pourtant, les choses semblent avoir pas mal changé ces dernières années. Enfin, d'après les chiffres du MPCC, le Mouvement pour un cyclisme crédible, organisation qui instaure aux équipes qui le forme des mesures antidopage plus drastiques que celles de l'UCI, l'Union cycliste internationale...

En cette fin de semaine, le MPCC a publié des chiffres qui sont censés résumer la triche en 2018. Des cas de dopage, comme des cas de corruption. On y voit un décompte des contrôles positifs sport par sport, auxquels il faut ajouter les affaires d'athlètes «achetés». «Cela fait maintenant 5 ans que nous vous proposons ce baromètre qui ne prend en compte que les cas révélés par les fédérations ou la presse et parmi lesquels nous ne retenons que ceux liés aux athlètes de haut niveau ou professionnels. Pour la première fois, le MPCC a également comptabilisé cette année les cas de corruption, qui englobent aussi bien les malversations financières que les matchs truqués.», écrit le Mouvement.

«Le nombre de cas de dopage révélés publiquement dès l'ouverture d'une procédure disciplinaire ou lors de la prise de sanction, augmente progressivement année après année (près de 600 cette année), est-il également écrit. Cela ne veut pas dire que les sportifs se dopent plus qu'avant, cela signifie en revanche que les fédérations sont de plus en plus nombreuses à traiter publiquement leurs cas de dopage, comme n'importe quelle autre décision disciplinaire. On constate aussi que la rigueur d'une politique antidopage s'accompagne souvent d'une communication plus transparente sur ce sujet. Il y a 5 ans, une vingtaine de fédérations seulement révélaient publiquement leurs cas de dopage. Elles sont aujourd'hui une cinquantaine à le faire.»

En gros, on voit que le vélo ne pointe qu'à la 13e place des disciplines les plus touchées, loin derrière l'athlétisme, l'haltérophilie, le football et une flopée de sports nord-américains. Ce sont logiquement les États-Unis et la Russie qui dominent le «classement par pays».

Source: 19 January 2019, L'Essentiel

All Sports


IOC "disappointed", decides against appeal as Olympic champion Legkov cleared of doping

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has expressed “disappointment” at the Swiss Federal Court Tribunal decision to clear Russian champion skier Alexander Legkov of doping and return his 2014 Sochi Olympics medals.

An IOC press release dated Friday read: “It is with disappointment that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has been informed of the ruling by the Swiss Federal Court Tribunal rejecting the IOC appeal against the CAS decision dated 23 April 2018 regarding the Russian cross country skier Alexander Legkov."

It went on: "To protect the rights of the clean athletes, the IOC had challenged the CAS decision of 1 February 2018 to uphold the appeal of Mr Legkov against his disqualification following an anti-doping rule violation at the Olympic Winter Games Sochi 2014."

Legkov's alleged rule violation was announced on November 1, 2017, which precipitated his disqualification from the Games, having his records expunged, and his medals withdrawn.

However, at the beginning of February 2018, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) fully acquitted 28 of 39 Russian athletes who were suspected of anti-doping violations at the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, southern Russia, ruling there was insufficient evidence.

The IOC explained its decision to lodge an appeal against the CAS ruling as the organization "received the first reasoned decisions from CAS in late April 2018, and it was decided to appeal the first of the 28 CAS decisions that did not confirm the IOC Disciplinary Commission decisions before the Swiss Federal Tribunal.

"It was felt that, even if the chances of winning might not be high, given the specific circumstances of the cases, it was still important to appeal the cases to exhaust all possible avenues in order to protect clean athletes."

During the Games, Legkov underwent three doping tests on February 13, 21 and 23, none of which showed any trace of banned substances.

The IOC maintained that the athlete had submitted negative urine samples that were taken earlier, substituting them with probes at the time of the competition.

However, CAS resolved that these arguments did not have exact dates, places, witnesses, and most importantly, exact test tubes that were involved in the scheme, and therefore the accusations were baseless.

The IOC emphasized that, in future, it will retain the right to take the issue to court in the event that new evidence of doping violations by Russian athletes during the Sochi Games appears.

Christof Wieschemann, Legkov's lawyer, said he was “delighted” that the proceedings against his client, which lasted more than two years, had been “successfully concluded” and that the decision was “correct”.

Source: 20 January 2019, RT



"Moscow data could expose 300-600 doping cases"

Richard McLaren, the Canadian lawyer whose 2016 bombshell report exposed state-sponsored doping in Russia, suspects “hundreds” of doping cases could be contained in the latest data retrieved from Moscow.

On Thursday, WADA said they had “successfully retrieved” data from the Moscow laboratory at the heart of the affair.

It’s pretty much anyone’s guess as to what that number is,” McLaren said when asked how many doping cases he expected the new data to reveal.

My thinking would be in the 300-600 possible range.

WADA had demanded the data be handed over to complete its probe into the 2011-2015 scandal which eventually saw Russia’s athletics team barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics and exiled from the 2018 Winter Olympics.

In September, WADA conditionally lifted a ban on the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA), paving the way for its reinstatement.

One of the conditions was access being granted to the data by the end of 2018.

But when a WADA team arrived last month, Russian authorities raised issues with the certification of their equipment under Russian law and a December 31 deadline was missed.

It’s puzzling to go back and think, what went on in December that they weren’t prepared to provide information and some ten days later in January, they are,” McLaren, who is no longer involved in the investigation, told German broadcaster ARD on Friday.

I think what was going on there was nothing to do with WADA, but it was a power struggle within Russia.

“That got resolved over the Christmas period and now they are preparing to provide the information and are in the process of doing so.

WADA will now attempt to authenticate and review the data “and my hope would be that they get the complete and true data,” McLaren said.

Some of it will have to be cross-checked and analysed to determine its authenticity in a number of steps, that won’t happen in a couple of days — it could take two or three weeks.

Source: 20 January 2019, The News International


Asian Racing Federation

Illegal betting in an Asian context

The white paper covers the scale of illegal betting and its associated negative impacts on society, economies and sporting integrity in six ARF jurisdictions – Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and South Korea. In every jurisdiction, illegal betting was found to be large and growing, as well as its associated negative impacts on sports integrity, money laundering and other criminality.

Link to publication:

Source: 9 January 2019, Asian Racing Federation


Ahmed Hussein-Suale: Ghana journalist shot dead

A Ghanaian undercover journalist has been shot dead while driving home, after a politician called for retribution against him.

Unidentified men on motorbikes shot Ahmed Hussein-Suale three times in the capital Accra, local media reports say.

He was a member of Tiger Eye Private Investigations and had investigated corruption in Ghana's football leagues.

The undercover report on cash gifts led to a lifetime ban for the former head of Ghana's Football Association.

BBC Africa Eye made a documentary about the scandal last year after gaining access to the investigation led by journalist Anas Aremayaw Anas, who runs Tiger Eye.

After the BBC broadcast the football documentary, Ghanaian MP Kennedy Agyapong circulated photos of Mr Hussein-Suale and called for retribution against him.

In turn, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists called on Mr Agyapong last summer to stop threatening journalists.

In a press release, Tiger Eye said they were "terribly devastated by the dastardly act", but were "unshaken" in their pursuit of "nation-wreckers".

Mr Hussein-Suale was shot twice in the chest and once in the neck in the suburb of Madina at about 23:00 (23:00 GMT) on Wednesday night, reports say.

His body has reportedly been taken to the Police Hospital Morgue and will be buried soon.

The investigative journalist co-operated with the BBC on several stories, including an investigation into human body parts sold for ritual magic in Malawi.

Violence against the press is rare in Ghana.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, only one other journalist has been killed in Ghana since 1992.

The International Federation of Journalists says eight journalists were killed across all of Africa in 2017.

Source: 17 January 2019, BBC

Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU)

Tennis Integrity Unit publishes Annual Review for 2018

The Tennis Integrity Unit today published its third Annual Review, covering the work and development of the organisation during 2018. A PDF version of the Review is attached and it can also be viewed and downloaded at:

Source: Mark Harrison, 9 January 2019, Tennis Integrity Unit




IOC Marketing Chair From Japan Investigated for Corruption

International Olympic Committee marketing chair Tsunekazu Takeda is being investigated for suspected corruption related to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, France's financial crimes office said Friday.

The National Financial Prosecutors office said Takeda, who is also the president of the Japanese Olympic Committee, was placed under formal investigation for "active corruption" on Dec. 10.

French investigators are in the midst of a years-long and wide-ranging probe into sports corruption that is looking, among other things, at the bidding contests for the 2020 Olympics and other major sports events.

Takeda's career in Olympic circles has ticked almost every box, starting with representing Japan in equestrian at the 1972 Munich Games and 1976 Montreal Games.

As the head of the IOC's marketing commission since 2014, Takeda has overseen signing sponsor deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars, including new partnerships with Alibaba, Intel and Allianz.

In a statement issued Friday by the Japanese Olympic Committee, Takeda denied any wrongdoing. The JOC said he was in Tokyo but gave no further details.

"The case is causing tremendous concern among the people who are supporting the Tokyo Games, but I will continue to cooperate in the investigation in order to clear any suspicion of me," Takeda said.

The IOC ethics commission is scheduled to meet later Friday in Lausanne, Switzerland. Takeda could be provisionally suspended from Olympic duty, or offer to step aside during the investigation.

"The IOC ethics commission has opened a file and will continue to monitor the situation," the IOC said in a statement. "Mr. Takeda continues to enjoy the full presumption of innocence."

The preliminary charge of active corruption filed against Takeda was first reported Friday by French newspaper Le Monde. The preliminary charge means the investigating magistrate has determined that there are serious grounds for suspicion but has not yet ruled on whether to pursue a prosecution.

Le Monde said the magistrate overseeing the probe, Renaud Van Ruymbeke, suspects the IOC vote for Tokyo in 2013 was swayed by secret deals that secured the backing of IOC members from Africa for the Japanese capital.

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike told Japan's NHK television she was "very surprised and puzzled" but declined to speculate how it might impact the Tokyo Olympics.

"I just got the initial report on this, so I don't have sufficient information," she said.

Le Monde reported that French investigators suspect Takeda of authorizing the payment of bribes. French financial prosecutors are looking at two payments, totaling 1.8 million euros ($2 million), made on either side of the IOC vote in September 2013 to a Singapore company, Black Tidings, Le Monde said.

French prosecutors have linked Black Tidings to Papa Massata Diack, one of the sons of Lamine Diack, the former head of track and field's governing body.

Lamine Diack also is under investigation in France on corruption-related charges.

Takeda, who is a distant relative of the Japanese Imperial family but does not have royal status, said he was cooperating with French investigators. He said the money paid by the bid committee is a legitimate cost for the service provided by the Black Tidings under the consultancy contract between the two sides. He also said he did not know Lamine Diack.

"I have explained (to the French authorities) that there was no such illegal activity tantamount to bribery," Takeda said.

Source: 11 January 2019, New York Times

Sri Lanka

Fresh investigation after Sports Minister’s bribe claims

Sports Minister Harin Fernando this week claimed he was offered a bribe to include certain players to the national team sparking a fresh investigation by the International Cricket Council, the game’s global gate-keeper.

The Minister’s shocking revelation came just a day after ICC started a 15-day Amnesty for Sri Lankans, cricketers and officials, on January 16, to divulge any approaches they may have received from fixers. It shows the extent to which corruption has infected the sport in the country. The grace period, which will end on January 31, has reportedly seen new people come forward with fresh information.

Recently someone tried to bribe me as well,” Fernando said, without naming the alleged perpetrator. “I was offered a bribe to get some players into the team. I reported the incident to the ICC.

You can realize how bad the situation is,” he said. “I initially thought this was an attempt to trap me. But it was not and I informed this to Alex Marshall, the ICC Anti Corruption boss.

The Minister had, indeed, mentioned this to Alex Marshall during his recent visit to the island in the presence of several others.

This prompted the ICC’s chief investigator to later record a statement from him.

In Sri Lanka, the Sports Minister wields substantial power over team selection. The Sports Law requires him to appoint selectors and also to sign off any national team representing Sri Lanka. Such power has often being misused by local politicians, spurring calls to remove them and make the selection process free from political interference.

The ICC is now investigating what they term “serious allegations of corruption” in Sri Lanka and has one of their investigators based on Colombo.

Three players have been charged, including former Chairman of Selectors and top cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya. Jayasuriya was not charged for match-fixing but for concealing information, an offence under ICC’s anti-corruption code.

Nuwan Zoysa, a former coach attached to SLC, and a former international cricketer, Dilhara Lokuhettige, were accused of “directly soliciting, inducing, enticing or encouraging a player” to fix or influence the progress of a match and failing to disclose approaches to “engage in corrupt conduct”.

Source: 20 January 2019, Sunday Times


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