Swiss football games among those fixed

Swiss football games among those fixed
Europol chief Rob Wainright at press conference in The Hague. Photo: Robin Van Lonkhuijsen/ANP/AFP
Forty-one football games in Switzerland were fixed over a period from 2008 to 2011, according to media reports of an international Europol investigation into illegal betting and corruption of players and officials.

The finding is part of a larger probe that concluded 380 games were manipulated across Europe during the period, including World Cup and European championship qualifiers and Champions League Games.

A further 300 games were fixed outside of Europe, in Africa, Asia, South America and Central America with links to organized criminal in Singapore and elsewhere in Asia.

Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, released results from The Hague in the The Netherlands on Monday of an investigation, code-named Operation VETO, carried out with police forces from 13 European countries.

Running between July 2011 and January 2013, the probe uncovered illegal activities that generated more than eight million euros in betting profits and two million euros in bribes

“This is a sad day for football and more evidence of the corrupting influence in society of organized crime,” Rob Wainwright, director of Europol said in a statement.

Illegal profits are being “being made on a scale and in a way that threatens the very fabric of the game”.

The figures involve some cases that have already been prosecuted or are under investigation.

But the number of fixed games reported for Swiss football is significantly more than was previously known, the Tages Anzeiger reported on its website, citing information from Interpol.

The newspaper said 19 cases were already identified, including an affair in Bellinzona.

But details about the specific Swiss games fixed are scarce.

According to Interpol, a total of 425 players, referees, officials and criminals were involved in fixing 380 games in Europe.
“We have evidence for 150 of these cases and the operations were run out of Singapore with bribes of up to 100 000 euros paid per match,” said Fridhelm Althans, a spokesman for Operation Veto from Bochum Police, Germany.

Europol said the organized criminal group behind much of the match fixing has been betting “primarily on the Asian market” with Asian ringleaders working with “European facilitators”.

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