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  • INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin – 5-18 January 2021

INTERPOL Integrity in Sport Bi-Weekly Bulletin – 5-18 January 2021

Interpol
 

INVESTIGATIONS

Peru

Probe launched into match fixing allegations against Peruvian referee

Liga 1 referee Miguel Santiváñez has been removed by the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF) whilst an independent integrity body investigates match fixing-related allegations, claiming that Santiváñez attempted to manipulate Liga 2 fixtures.

The investigation was launched when incriminating text messages between Juan Edmundo Merino Aurich, former president of the Juan Aurich club and the referee were discovered. The exchange suggested that the pair had planned to manipulate Liga 2’s 2020 semi-final match between Alianza Atlético de Sullana and Sport Chavelines.

As reported by El Comercio, the details that the authorities found in the conversations are consistent with the events of the match. After favoring Alianza Atlético, the team secured a spot in Peru’s top tier.

Additionally, in one of the conversations there was a message from Santiváñez where it is believed that he admitted to having called for a penalty kick to favor the team and also finish the match in the 90th minute.

Although Liga 1 declined to comment due to the ongoing probe, Liga 2 President, Arturo Sánchez, said to Exitosa Deportes radio that he discussed the issue with the FPF president and asked him to investigate ‘thoroughly’.

“We are disgusted. You can’t [simplify this]. We’ve heard about this many years ago, but there has never been evidence like this. It has to be investigated,” Sánchez remarked.

“You have to analyse what is happening with the National Referee Commission (CONAR), you have to investigate the authorities. There’s corrupt people. If this is true, [we] need a complete transformation in Peru’s football because it’s not just about Liga 2, it’s also about Liga 2 and the Copa Perú. I don’t think this is an isolated event.”

The results of the report will be passed on to the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).

Source: 15 January 2021, Insider Sport Football

https://insidersport.com/2021/01/15/probe-launched-into-match-fixing-allegations-against-peruvian-referee/

Peru

FPF investigará presunto amaño en la semifinal de la Liga 2 entre Alianza Atlético y Sport Chavelines

Luego de conocerse el nuevo inquilino de la Liga 1, una cuenta anónima en redes sociales ha hecho viral un video de una conversación de Whatsapp en la que se presume un supuesto amaño del partido entre Sport Chavelines y Alianza Atlético por las semifinales de la Liga 2.

Los personajes que aparecen en este chat son uno apodado "El Chino Adidas" y, aparentemente, el juez del partido Miguel Santiváñez. Todo hace indicar que esto estaba coordinado junto con una casa de apuestas para que se cobre un penal a favor del elenco de Sullana.

Esta información ha llegado a la Federación Peruana de Fútbol (FPF), quien ha tomado la decisión de hacer las investigaciones respectivas para aclarar este tema que deja por los suelos el fútbol peruano.

Una de las personas que ha hecho crecer este rumor sobre supuesto amaño del duelo entre Chavelines y Alianza Atlético es el presidente del Deportivo Coopsol, Freddy Ames. El mandamás del club en mención anunció en redes sociales que tienen en su poder ciertos audios que podrías comprometer al árbitro responsable en este acuerdo para favorecer a un club.

Ya se verá qué decisión toma la FPF con esta información que comienza a ventilarse, el cual deja manchado el título de Alianza Atlético de Sullana en la Liga 2.

Source: 8 January 2021, Futbol Peruano Football

https://www.futbolperuano.com/liga-2/noticias/fpf-investigara-presunto-amano-en-la-semifinal-de-la-liga-2-entre-alianza-atletico-y-sport-chavelines-290785

SENTENCES/SANCTIONS

Indonesia

BWF hands life ban to three Indonesian players for match-fixing

Badminton World Federation (BWF) on Friday banned three Indonesian shuttlers from all badminton-related activities for life after they were found guilty of offences related to match-fixing, match manipulation and betting.

According to BWF, eight Indonesian players who knew each other and competed in lower-level international competitions mostly in Asia up until 2019, breached BWF Integrity Regulations.

“Three of them were found to have coordinated and organised others into being complicit in the behaviour and have been suspended from all badminton related activities for life,” BWF said in a statement.

Five others were suspended for between six to 12 years and fined between USD 3,000 and USD 12,000 each. A report from a whistleblower allowed the BWF Integrity Unit to start an investigation and to interview a number of players regarding the matter. All eight players were provisionally suspended in January 2020 until a determination could be made through a hearing process.

However, the athletes have the right to appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) within 21 days of the notice of the reasoned decision.

In another case, BWF suspended a Malaysia citizen, who represents an equipment brand that sponsors international players, from all badminton-related activity for life after he approached international players and offered money to manipulate matches.

“BWF Integrity Unit had been investigating the individual for a number of years. Due to the nature of the breaches and this person's access to and influence over players his company-sponsored, the IHP suspended the individual from badminton-related activities for life,” the BWF said.

Source: 8 January 2021, Sport Star Badminton

https://sportstar.thehindu.com/badminton/bwf-hands-life-ban-to-three-players-indonesia-match-fixing/article33528653.ece

Malaysia

BWF serve life ban on 3 Indonesian shuttlers, a M'sian executive

A MALAYSIAN executive of a sports equipment company and three Indonesian shuttlers have been banned for life for match- fixing, the Badminton World Federation said yesterday.

The BWF Independent Hearing Panel (IHP) found that Lim Ze Young had offered money to shuttlers to manipulate matches, bet on multiple badminton matches, including those involving players who were sponsored by his employer.

"... the individual had approached international athletes and offered money to manipulate matches ...," said BWF in a statement.

He "abused his position of influence as an executive in a sporting brand in an attempt to corrupt international badminton and enrich himself", the world body quoted the panel as saying.

Ze Young is not the first Malaysian to have been banned for match-fixing in the sport.

In 2018, shuttlers, Zulfadli Zulkiffli and Tan Chun Seang were suspended for 15 and 20 years respectively for breaching the BWF code of conduct in relation to betting, wagering and irregular match results.

Another five Indonesian shuttlers were also suspended for between six and 12 years and fined up to US$12,000 (RM48,500) each.

The BWF said all eight Indonesian players had competed in lower-level international competitions in Asia up until 2019.

The three banned for life had "coordinated and organised others into being complicit in the (dishonest) behaviour", added the BWF.

The IHP found that the players had breached the body's integrity regulations related to match-fixing, match manipulation and betting on badminton.

The three who were banned for life were Hendra Tandjaya, Ivandi Danang and Androw Yunanto.

Those banned between six and 12 years were Sekartaji Putri, Mia Mawarti, Fadilla Afni, Adittiya Dwiantoro and Agripinna Prima Rahmanto Putra.

Agripinna, 29, was once ranked World No 25 and had partnered Marcus Fernaldi Gideon in men's doubles. Marcus is currently ranked World No 1 with Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.

Source: 9 January 2021, New Straits Times

Badminton

https://www.nst.com.my/sports/badminton/2021/01/655811/bwf-serve-life-ban-3-indonesian-shuttlers-msian-executive

 

Malta

Man fined €50,000 and handed suspended sentence over match-fixing

A man was handed a suspended sentence and a €50,000 fine after admitting to match-fixing charges relating to Attard FC.

Rudgear Scerri, a 21-year-old Qormi resident, was escorted to court on Wednesday under arrest and charged with breaching the law on prevention of corruption in sports.

He was charged with involvement in the manipulation of a sporting event, failing to pass on information to the police authorities, as well as conducting unlicensed gaming, namely taking bets.

Prosecuting Inspectors George Frendo and Wayne Borg explained how the accused had been arrested following a tip-off to the police, who then searched his home.

Some €20,000 to €30,000 were confiscated in the raid of the residence where the suspect lived with his girlfriend, along with electronic devices which were still subject to ongoing investigations, the prosecution informed the court.

Upon the man’s guilty plea, presiding magistrate Charmaine Galea explained that the charges carried a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a maximum €500,000 fine.

“Sit down and think about it,” said the magistrate, granting the accused sufficient time to reconsider his plea. Yet, some minutes later, the man confirmed his admission.

After taking note of the evidence put forward, the accused’s early guilty plea and his clean criminal record, the court condemned him to a two-year jail term suspended for four years and a fine of €50,000 payable in €1,500 monthly instalments.

When meting out punishment the court also took note of the fact that these “were serious crimes undermining the competitive spirit in sport”.

Lawyers Lennox Vella and William Cuschieri were defence counsel.

Following the verdict, the Malta Football Association announced that it was suspending Scerri from all football activity with immediate effect.

The MFA said its integrity department would be speaking to the police to consider any further disciplinary action that could be justified following further investigation.

Source: 13 January 2021, Times of Malta Football

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/man-fined-50000-and-handed-suspended-sentence-over-match-fixing.844709

 

United Kingdom

Kieran Trippier told friend to 'lump on' bet ahead of Atletico Madrid move

Kieran Trippier told a friend to "lump on" his transfer from Tottenham to Atletico Madrid, according to the Football Association's independent regulatory commission.

England defender Trippier was banned for 10 weeks and fined £70,000 in December for breaches of betting rules, although that has since been suspended pending an appeal.

In the written reasons for the FA's decision, it was revealed Trippier kept his friends informed about his transfer in the summer of 2019 via a series of WhatsApp messages.

The commission rejected Trippier's assertion the messages were simply "banter", and he was found guilty of four of the seven charges he faced.

Trippier permitted the FA to take possession of his mobile phone for examination.

It was discovered that in mid-July, 2019, Trippier's friend Oliver Hawley placed 10 separate bets, ranging from £20 to £65, on the full-back joining Atletico.

After placing one bet, Hawley sent Trippier a message reading: "6/1 Athletico (sic) Madrid", to which Trippier responded with three laughing emojis.

On July 12 Trippier texted Hawley: "It's happening", shortly before Hawley placed two more bets on the move to the Spanish side.

On July 14 another friend, Matthew Brady, met Trippier at a wildlife park and later texted to ask: "Shall I lump on you going there?". Trippier later said: "Lump on if you want mate."

As the transfer came closer to being finalised, Hawley and another two friends placed further bets ranging between £20 and

£300.

When Trippier messaged a WhatsApp friends' group saying: "Done deal", he received a text from Brady saying: "Could only put a little bit on mate, they massively restricted the bet, keep me posted pal", to which the player replied: "No worries mate."

The £25m transfer was finally announced on July 17.

The commission said it took into account witness statements on behalf of Trippier from England manager Gareth Southgate, captain Harry Kane and his former manager at Burnley, Sean Dyche, among others.

Trippier's good disciplinary record, character and the remorse he showed were also factors in its decision, the commission said.

Source: 5 January 2021, Sky Sports Football

https://www.skysports.com/football/news/12040/12180077/kieran-trippier-told-friend-to-lump-on-bet-ahead-of-atletico-madrid-move?fbclid=IwAR1djwZ5- VfNfMYIl7B66eH1l-eii0MwY1UwTknQIOVmFdvQtQYyTwErk-g

 

BETTING

United States

Bookie with history of alleged mob links pleads guilty to new federal gambling charges

A convicted bookmaker with a history of alleged connections to organized crime figures faces up to nearly three years in federal prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to new charges of running an illegal sports betting business.

Gregory Emmett Paloian, 66, of Elmwood Park, admitted in a plea agreement with prosecutors that he ran a gambling operation over a four-year period beginning in 2015. He also pleaded guilty to failing to pay about $200,000 in state and federal taxes during the length of the scheme.

Preliminary sentencing guidelines call for a range of 27 to 33 months in prison. U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow set a sentencing hearing for April 7.

Prosecutors said Wednesday there were at least five other people who worked with Paloian and that the investigation involved wiretaps. Paloian used “a number of agents” to recruit gamblers, which took in more than $2,000 on some days and used a foreign website to handle bets and bookkeeping, Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Kinney said.

No one other than Paloian has been publicly charged in the case.

Near the end of the 45-minute telephone hearing, Lefkow asked Paloian to say in his own words what he did wrong.

“I took sports wagers from various friends of mine and people that I knew, and paid or collected depending on the outcome of the games,” Paloian said in a matter-of-fact tone.

Court records show Paloian has an extensive criminal history that includes Chicago Outfit connections and friendships with some colorful — and notorious — Chicago characters.

Paloian had connections to John “Quarters” Boyle, who pleaded guilty to mail fraud and tax fraud in connection with accepting bribes from trucking companies when he worked for the city’s Transportation Department, the Chicago Tribune reported in 2005. Paloian was removed from the scandal-plagued Hired Truck Program after pleading guilty in another criminal case, the Tribune reported.

His felony record includes a 1980 conviction on charges of extending juice loans to gamblers. Federal prosecutors said in one court filing Paloian had dozens of other arrests on his record, including one in 1995 when Chicago police spotted him writing down suspected wagers at a basketball facility in Elmwood Park.

When officers approached, Paloian shoved bunches of paper in his mouth and “fell to the ground and rolled around” until he was able to swallow them, prosecutors said.

In 2002, Paloian pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges alleging he’d been running an illegal gambling ring under the protection of West Side Outfit boss Rocky Infelise that raked in millions of dollars over at least two decades.

In court filings from that case, prosecutors said Paloian admitted that if his customers couldn’t pay the debts, he would threaten to refer them for juice loans to feared mob enforcer Jimmy Inendino.

“Paloian said that a bettor would be told cannons would be pointed at his head if he didn’t pay,” prosecutors wrote in a 2002 sentencing memo.

The operation was taken down in 1998, when federal agents raided Paloian’s family home and discovered a secret room concealed by a mechanized wall in the basement, court records show.

Inside, they found $157,000 in cash stacked in safes and on tables, as well as jewelry, loose diamonds, gold krugerrands and a voice-changing device and soluble paper that bookies often use to record bets, court records show.

Paloian was sentenced to 3½ years in federal prison in that case. In 2005, the Tribune reported that Paloian had been allowed to participate in the Hired Truck Program for more than a year after he was initially charged.

 

In fact, Paloian’s firm, Ruff Edge Inc., still had trucks participating in Hired Truck Program for months after he pleaded guilty, according to the Tribune report.

Among the evidence seized at City Hall by federal investigators was a handwritten note dated July 11, 2002, from a city official who said that the boss of the Hired Truck Program, Angelo Torres, had called “and told me to knock off four trucks that Ruff Edge had on.”

Paloian was never charged as part of the Hired Truck probe.

Source: 6 January 2021, Chicago Tribune All Sports

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/criminal-justice/ct-mob-gambling-guilty-plea-paloian-20210106-kege5xsrsfbgpfqg4eih3x6fwe-story.html

 

GOOD PRACTICES

INTERPOL; FIFA; UNODC

Interpol And FIFA’s Fight For Sport To Recover From Covid-19 With Integrity

World Anti-Corruption Day 2020, on December 9th, saw countless organizations—including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the European Parliament’s (EP) Sports Group, The  International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) and Interpol—warn that the Covid-19 pandemic had made sport uniquely vulnerable to match-fixing, corruption, money-laundering and transnational crime. Despite official consensus on steps to help sport "Recover With Integrity" from Covid-19, available data depicts new and likely unprecedented challenges for the sector in 2021.

On December 9th 2020, sports organizations used Global Anti-Corruption Day to outline a series of initiatives which recognized increasing instances of crime in sport—particularly match-fixing. Industry analysts such as StatPerform and Starlizard Integrity Services had reported a marginal decrease in match fixing, from 0.61% to 0.56% of games played in 2019. In reference to the findings reported, Starlizard's Head of Integrity Services, Affy Sheikh, told me by email that "This is an issue we at Starlizard Integrity Services are following closely as part of our efforts. Our work with sport governing bodies to combat the threat of match-fixing continues. This is a threat we are monitoring closely".

The prognosis for the third quarter of 2020 has deteriorated significantly. Statistics for the third quarter of 2020 provided by the Global Lottery Monitoring System (GLMS), indicate that reports of suspicious betting patterns increased by 91.3%—suggesting that, when compared to pre-pandemic data—Covid-19 saw match fixing almost double. As 81.8% of reports concerned soccer, FIFA has shown justifiable concern. As I reported in a previous article for Forbes, the organization signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in September 2020. The partnership's theme for World Anti-Corruption Day aligned with the IOC's—hoping to lead the drive for soccer to also "Recover With Integrity". The organization had described how "the backdrop of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and the associated economic uncertainty creates a higher integrity risk for players and clubs around the world".

In remarks ahead of World Anti-Corruption Day—when FIFA's partnership with UNODC officially launched—FIFA's President, Gianni Infantino sought to emphasize his understanding of the economic pressure that had come with Covid-19, league closures and global recession. Infantino described the importance of FIFA's relationship with Interpol, remarking, “It is essential that we work together with partners such as the UNODC to ensure that players, coaches and officials have the confidence to speak out against match-fixing, as well as any other integrity issues"

UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly echoed Infantino's desire to eradicate match-fixing, but also described the extent of the threat to sport—in a detailed and far-reaching statement, which suggested a renewed interest and understanding of the risks which emerged in 2020. "The UNODC has joined forces with FIFA to support efforts aimed at preventing, detecting, reporting and sanctioning match-fixing and other forms of corruption in sport" Waly commented. "Working with governments, sports organizations and all stakeholders, we can build on the UN Convention against Corruption to tackle match-fixing and keep sport fair for all."

Whether FIFA and its partners can eradicate the current threat to sports integrity remains to be seen. The scale of the problem is substantial, and is fueled by the economic realities of recession—as FIFA itself recognizes in documents issued to clubs in order to prevent corrupt approaches to players.

As The Economist has reported, the National Basketball Association, the National Football League and Major League Baseball stand to face "a fall in revenue of $13bn in 2020". The Economist also estimates that The England Cricket Board is currently expecting a shortfall in revenue to the sum of $240 million U.S Dollars. Meanwhile, Deloitte's Annual Review of Football Finance for 2020 estimates that the English Premier League PINC 0.0% will lose approximately $670 million U.S Dollars in the 2019-2020 season. Deloitte's forecast identifies particularly bleak prospects for clubs in lower divisions—which intimate that clubs outside the top tiers have long standing problems with cash flow.

When examining the fortunes of the United Kingdom's second soccer league, the English Football League (EFL), Deloitte identify a disconnect with economic reality for clubs determined to move to the Premiership. Concurrently, Deloitte note that "For the fourth time in seven seasons, a record-breaking wages to revenue ratio (107%) [within EFL clubs] demonstrated the collective lack of control. In no other industry would such a metric be viable, and whilst football benefits from the desire of many to fund those losses, the impact of the pandemic on club owners’ broader finances and business interests brings the question of long- term sustainability into sharper focus than ever". As FIFA itself notes in guidance to teams, lowering wages increases the risk of corrupt approaches—yet simply to remain soluble, it would follow that this is the only option for teams. Claudio Marinelli, Project Manager on Integrity in Sport at Interpol, has underscored how ailing prospect for sides in lower leagues is creating opportunities for match fixing. "The attention of criminals is on low level competition rather than in the past they were targeted more high level competition and high level tournaments" Marinelli stated, and discussed at length, in an in-depth discussion on corruption and Covid-19 in a podcast for the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA).

 

Attorneys who specialize in sports law for their clients believe that finding solutions to mitigate the economic pressure on the sports industry will be very challenging—despite the positive tone of UNODC and FIFA's campaign. They are also concerned that bodies who fight transnational crime and corruption have taken too long to act, and may not comprehend the new ties between organized crime and professional sport—or the forms this now takes.

As Richard Barbalis Esq. who is a sworn advocate of the Republic of Latvia and expert in transnational crime told me, the conventional criminal practices common to sport have ballooned during the pandemic. But in Barbalis' capacity as attorney he has also witnessed how the diversification of e-sports, cybercrime and gambling during the pandemic has created knowledge gaps for regulators, "grey zones" for certain sports and legal questions for sports law attorneys.

"Match-fixing, irregular betting patterns and ghost-matches in minor leagues or countries with a high ranking on the Corrupt Perceptions Index were once the crime which regulators detected less" Barbalis told me, in an interview, by telephone, from his office in Riga, Latvia.

"As Interpol have remarked, 202o has brought signs of far more sophisticated transnational criminal involvement. Interpol itself has recognized the diversification of illegal activity in sport, innovation by criminal networks, and the presence of new criminal activities—particularly cyber-crime, and control over players via transfer arrangements. Covid-19 has exposed the sport's industry's multifoliate vulnerabilities. Legal ambiguities have also emerged".

Barbalis added. "E-Sports is a field where we have developed some expertise as attorneys due to our base in the Baltic states and the well documented growth of the technology sector here. FIFA and UNDOC appear to be targeting very well known sectors at the current time—particularly conventional match fixing. If we are to truly recover with integrity, we must recognize that 2020 changed sports, and the sector which regulators are now policing, and in which we act for clients, has different questions compared to 2019, and new stakeholders, along with different vulnerabilities and many legal grey zones".

There is no doubt that UNODC and Fifa are to be commended for taking a proactive response to what is undoubtedly a very difficult time for the sports industry. Success in protecting global integrity from transnational crime, however, will now depend on whether traditional organizations and regulators can adapt to complex new threats.

Source: 12 January 2021, Forbes Football

https://www.forbes.com/sites/willnicoll/2021/01/12/interpol-and-fifas-fight-for-sport-to-recover-from-covid-19-with-integrity/?sh=632a6292c97e

 

MATCH FIXING

New Zealand

Speak Out: Banned Cricketer Lou Vincent Opens Up About Sinister World of Match Fixing on Apple Podcasts and Spotify

In an exclusive podcast interview with Giving The Game Away, former New Zealand cricketer, Lou Vincent, opens up about the world of match fixing.

In 2014, Vincent was given eleven life bans for match fixing, and he has not spoken in detail since then. In the Giving the Game Away podcast Vincent explains how he was lured into the murky world of match-fixing, what he was asked to do by the fixers, and how they kept him working for them through intimidation:

“Once you’re there, you’re always living with a noose round your neck waiting to be bribed. There’s always subtle conversations about your children and where you lived and things they knew about you that you didn’t even know.”

He outlines exactly what was expected of him for $50,000 cash per match. Using a pink grip as a signal to the fixers that he was ready to throw a match, Vincent explains how he would score a pre-determined number of runs off an over but it wasn’t easy: .

“It’s about controlling the runs - by being on strike and playing and missing and then getting out. The hardest part was to control a game when you’re on the take but the other person isn’t. So you can see why they groom you into getting other players involved - because with more players involved in a team then the more they can guarantee that the betting is controlled.”

Reflecting on his match fixing past, Vincent said “I’ll have to live with the way I disrespected the game, particularly in England - the home of cricket… no one has the right to do what I did.”

Vincent is now seeking redemption and is looking to turn that period of his life into a positive by educating young sportspeople about the dangers of match-fixing and how to avoid it. He hopes his experiences can help to ensure that no one else gets tangled up in the same corrupt mess he was in.

“I’m telling athletes first-hand experiences. Hey this is me, I’m Lou and yeah I did ok for New Zealand cricket at times, but man did I make some mistakes, and this is how it happened, and this is something you’ve got to be careful of, and it’s your right to protect the game and the future.”

You can listen to the whole interview on Apple Podcasts and Spotify, by visiting the following links:

Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/giving-the-game-away/id1519343211#episodeGuid=4e096816-556a- 455a-beb4-fda6ae0c2f80

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/episode/2T2kWiyRFW10iwF8Pwyet

Source: 12 January 2021, BET 365 Cricket

https://www.cricketworld.com/speak-out-banned-cricketer-lou-vincent-opens-up-about-sinister-world-of-match-fixing-on-apple-podcasts-and- spotify/68183.htm

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