Huge soccer fixing uncovered
The Hague - European investigators said on Monday they had identified some 680 suspicious soccer matches including World and European Cup qualifiers and Champions League games in a global match-fixing scandal spanning 2008-2011.
Europol head Rob Wainwright said the joint investigation had identified about 425 corrupt officials, players and serious criminals in 15 countries. The fixing, which was run out of Asia, had brought in at least €8m in proven profits.
The matches, some of which have already been subject to successful criminal prosecutions, were played between 2008 and 2011. About 380 of the suspicious matches were played in Europe, and a further 300 suspicious matches were identified in Africa, Asia, and south and central America.
German police described a global network involving couriers ferrying bribes of up to €100 000 per match around the world, paying off players and referees.
"We have evidence for 150 of these cases, and the operations were run out of Singapore with bribes of up to €100 000 paid per match," said Friedhelm Althans, chief investigator for police in the German city of Bochum.
Accomplices would then place bets on the internet or by phone with bookmakers in Asia, where bets that would be illegal in Europe were accepted.
"One fixed match might involve up to 50 suspects in 10 countries on separate continents," said Althans.
"Even two World Championship Qualification matches in Africa, and one in Central America, are under suspicion," Althans added.
Other matches fixed included World and European cup qualifying matches and top flight league matches in several European countries.
They also included two Champions League matches, including one played in Britain.
Investigators found that criminals from Asia also participated in the match fixing and that some of the fixed matches took place outside Europe.
Investigators said no names of players or clubs would be released while the investigation proceeded.
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