No quick fix to fighting sports corruption, INTERPOL chief tells FIFA Congress

May 26, 2012

INTERPOL on May 25, 2012 released the following:

“BUDAPEST, Hungary – The increased involvement of transnational organized crime in illegal gambling and match fixing has made corruption in sport a global threat affecting the security of people worldwide, the INTERPOL chief told officials at the 2012 FIFA Congress.

INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble told the meeting of world football nations that corruption in sport today affects more than just the reputations and livelihoods of sport professionals and associations.

“As a result of transnational organized crime’s global reach, of the huge profits associated with illegal gambling, of the vulnerability of players and of the internet, which has made gambling on matches anywhere in the world extremely easy and accessible, we are seeing more and more cases of match fixing and suspicious results,” said Secretary General Noble.

“INTERPOL and FIFA recognized the growing scale of the problem and it was apparent that if both organizations acted quickly and forcefully, we could reassure football players and fans that this serious problem needed to be dealt with in a comprehensive and long-term manner,” added the INTERPOL Chief.

FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter said: “We are very grateful to INTERPOL and to its Secretary General Ronald K. Noble for the tremendous support they have given us so far, and we are very pleased with the results of our partnership, especially in the fight against match-fixing.

“We know that this is a crucial fight in which we need to help each other to be successful and to keep our sport clean. We look forward to continue working closely together to achieve this goal,” added Mr Blatter.

A guest of honour at the FIFA Congress, Italian footballer Simone Farina, who in November 2011 reported an attempted match fixing bribe to police, was recognized by INTERPOL earlier this year with the presentation of a Commemorative Medal. As part of INTERPOL’s ‘Fund for a Safer World,’ the medal acknowledges those who make an effective contribution to crime prevention and law enforcement at the local, national and global level.

“Corruption in sport is a very complex problem for which there is no quick fix. This is why it is crucial that in addition to the ongoing enforcement efforts, we continue to intensify our efforts towards prevention,” said Mr Noble pointing to the results achieved following the INTERPOL-FIFA partnership one year ago.

Key developments include the creation of a dedicated INTERPOL unit tasked with engaging law enforcement worldwide and developing information platforms to ensure that the INTERPOL-FIFA Training, Education and Prevention Initiative reaches the largest possible audience.

The Integrity in Sports unit has brought together specialists from law enforcement, sports and the betting industry for expert meetings and held the pilot national training workshop for police, players, referees, regulators and academic institutions.

By the end of 2012, training will be provided to referees and assistants for the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil in addition to the launch of an online learning programme designed as a preventative tool for players who may be targeted by criminals seeking to manipulate the outcome of a game.

Throughout Euro 2012, in addition to the deployment of an INTERPOL Major Events Support Team to Poland and Ukraine, INTERPOL will also be running operation SOGA – short for soccer gambling – targeting illegal football gambling across Southeast Asia.

The three previous SOGA operations conducted in the region during major soccer tournaments have resulted in nearly 7,000 arrests, the seizure of more than 26 million US dollars in cash and the closure of illegal gambling dens which handled more than two billion dollars’ worth of bets.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
INTERPOL Red Notice Removal Lawyers Videos:

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition Defense, OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal, International Criminal Court Defense, and US Seizure of Non-Resident, Foreign-Owned Assets. Because we have experience dealing with INTERPOL, our firm understands the inter-relationship that INTERPOL’s “Red Notice” brings to this equation.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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Fighting to Keep World Sports a Fair Game

April 24, 2012

The New York Times on April 24, 2012 released the following:

“By ROB HUGHES

LYON — In ancient Greek mythology, Hercules had to slay the multiheaded serpent-like Hydra, guardian of the underworld, although each time a head was cut off, two others would grow in its place.

In modern sports, it can seem that the authorities face a similar and equally herculean task in the global fight against illegal sports betting and match-fixing.

Michel Platini, the head of UEFA, the governing body of European soccer, which runs the richest sports club tournament in the world, the Champions League, has called illegal betting the greatest danger to the game, “the one that can kill football.”

Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, goes even further.

“Sport is in danger,” Rogge said. “It’s not about the Olympics, it’s not about the Games, it’s about sport in general. Illegal betting in sport generates a turnover of around $140 billion a year, and it is inevitable that the Games will be sullied.”

According to the World Lottery Association, an organization of state-authorized lotteries, €90 billion, nearly $120 billion, is spent each year in legitimate wagers on soccer games. The same group estimates that another €90 billion is spent in illegitimate soccer betting. But Interpol, the international police organization, estimates have put the figure much higher.

While the problem of match-fixing in soccer has existed for decades, it appears to have intensified in recent years, aided by the Internet. Concerned by this apparent surge, international soccer authorities and law enforcement officials joined forces last year in their struggle to combat rampant match-fixing by what they describe as sprawling networks of organized crime based in Singapore, Malaysia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

FIFA, world soccer’s governing body, pledged $20 million in May 2011 to create a unit within Interpol in Singapore dedicated to rooting out match-fixing in Asia.

Noboru Nakatani, until recently the special adviser to the head of Japan’s National Police Agency, is moving to Singapore this month to oversee the research and development facility.

The unit aims to develop a program for officials, players and administrators that warns against match-fixing and alerts them to how it dishonors the game and might ruin their careers.

Ronald K. Noble, secretary general of Interpol, has said that gambling on sports “might seem as harmless as placing a small bet on your favorite team.”

But these operations, he notes, are often controlled by “organized criminals who frequently engage in loan sharking and use intimidation and violence to collect debts.” He added, “If that doesn’t work, they force their desperate, indebted victims into drug smuggling and into prostitution.”

Rogge has suggested that athletes must be educated about corruption, and that education is needed worldwide to instill knowledge about how and where to prevent the betting and fixing cases that have become prevalent in a number of sports, including soccer, cricket, and even sumo wrestling.

Education is the task that Fred Lord, who spent 10 years on undercover missions to crack covert police corruption in his native Australia, is undertaking at Interpol. His department, the Interpol Integrity in Sports program, is headed by Michaela Ragg, a former German federal police officer, and advises sports bodies on how to spot criminality before it festers and grows.

“I’m not a soccer expert,” Lord said. “My skills were in undercover policing. Policemen aren’t out there looking for match-fixers, they’re looking for terrorists or organized criminals.”

Because behind the so-called sporting corruption, Lord suggests, the authorities often find crime syndicates using sports for anything from money laundering to entrapment.

A key player in the fight against corruption in sports, Interpol, which is based in Lyon, in southern France, does not actually make arrests itself. It acts as a liaison between the law-enforcement agencies of its 190 member countries, providing communications and database assistance. Its data include 140,000 fingerprints, 110,000 DNA samples, 170,000 wanted criminals, and records of 32 million missing passports or ID cards.

But Noble, the Interpol secretary general since 2000, can send advisers to potential trouble spots at the request of member countries, as he did with 60 officers dispatched to assist South African border police in preventing known criminals from entering the country during the 2010 soccer World Cup.

Similarly, while London will police the Olympic Games this summer with the assistance of the British government and Metropolitan Police and the military, Interpol will deploy a team of specialists to help to check the passport details of everyone entering the country through the period of the Games.

Interpol has had some successes against international betting rings, as have other police forces. In recent years, operations involving the police in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macao, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam broke up major rings.

In South Korea last month, prosecutors said 16 professional volleyball players and two baseball players had been indicted in connection with match-fixing schemes.

In Italy, officials have made a number of arrests in recent months in connection with an ongoing investigation into match-fixing and illegal betting on soccer games. Several players have been among those arrested.

Although this investigation has for now not indicated links to Asian syndicates, the reach and resistance of the Hydra-like criminal networks is extensive and difficult to defeat.

A 2008 double murder in Newcastle, England, is a case in point. A young man and young woman, former university students from China, were murdered. The throat of Zhen Xing Yang was cut; the skull of his girlfriend, Xi Zhou, was smashed in three places. Before he died, investigators said, Yang was tortured.

The convicted murderer, an illegal immigrant from China named Guang Hui Cao, refused to give a motive for his crime. But detectives unearthed evidence that the victims were both involved with an Asian gambling ring that was relying on advance tips to bet on English soccer matches.

The two victims had apparently been recruiters acting for a Chinese syndicate that bet heavily on minor-league soccer games in the north of England. By exploiting a time lapse of one or two minutes between the play and the satellite broadcast in Asia, the police testified, the syndicate could place a winning bet on the next goal, throw-in, corner or free kick before they appeared to happen.

The culprit was arrested and sentenced to more than 30 years in prison. British detectives found no evidence linking him to soccer betting, but they did uncover plenty to implicate the victims. They have since said that, for want of resources, they have had to close the case.

Detectives had visited China but ran up against a wall of silence. The murderer maintains his silence behind bars, and some residents of Newcastle maintain theirs, too. Journalists and investigators of corruption in sports in general have often encountered a similar silence, even from informants hired to advise sports at the highest levels.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
INTERPOL Red Notice Removal Lawyers Videos:

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Scourge of match-fixing getting worse, says Blatter

March 23, 2012

Chicago Tribune on March 22, 2012 released the following:

“Mike Collett
Reuters

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The scourge of match-fixing is undermining football and the problem is getting worse, FIFA President Sepp Blatter said on Thursday.

Blatter, addressing the UEFA Congress in Istanbul, said FIFA’s decision to use an ‘early warning system’ which monitors suspicious betting patterns and alerts the international police force Interpol was paying off but that the problem was growing.

He also alluded to Turkey being affected by match-rigging – Fenerbahce were banned from the Champions League this season due to match-fixing.

“Are we responsible for all the evils in our world? No. But we must see to it that we stay alert,” said Blatter. “There is something that is new and concerns the region where we are and that is illegal betting and this leads to match rigging.”

Blatter was pleased that FIFA, UEFA and the other confederations were working closely with Interpol.

“We are working together against the scourge of match-rigging, which is undermining our sport. This makes our sport a matter of chance when matches are being rigged.”

Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan also spoke of match-fixing in his address to the Congress but said individuals and not clubs should be punished.

“We must punish the individuals involved, the criminals, and not perhaps entire clubs or communities,” he said.

Early newspapers carried an open letter to UEFA President Michel Platini and UEFA officials which began: “Turkish Football Is Corrupted” and called on UEFA to take action against the Turkish FA which, they claimed, “has blocked the applications of disciplinary actions against match-fixing for eight months.”

The letter was signed by the Turkish Fair Play Platform.

Blatter also announced that UEFA’s new insurance cover for European-based players on international duty would be extended worldwide and that FIFA would insure all players involved in international matches on official dates from the start of the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign in September.

“You have to have the best interests of the players and we will have the pleasure of announcing at the next executive committee that from this year we will have total insurance coverage for all matches on the international match calendar,” he said.

“This is an insurance coverage for the players, for the clubs and for the associations.””

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
INTERPOL Red Notice Removal Lawyers Videos:

INTERPOL Notice Removal

INTERPOL’s Red Notice

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To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas C. McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


INTERPOL and Italian National Police launch inaugural high-level seminar under FIFA grant to fight match-fixing

March 6, 2012

INTERPOL on March 5, 2012 released the following:

“Italian footballer courage and integrity in rejecting bribe recognized with INTERPOL award

ROME, Italy – Italy’s hosting of the inaugural high-level seminar on sports integrity, for the first time bringing together all stakeholders – law enforcement, sports authorities, players, referees and teams – has been hailed by INTERPOL as a landmark occasion in the global fight against match-fixing and illegal betting in sports.

Organized by the Italian Police and the Italian Football Association, the meeting comes just five months after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with INTERPOL, making Italy the first country to officially endorse the initiative between INTERPOL and FIFA to target match-fixing as well as illegal and irregular betting around the world.

In his speech, INTERPOL President Khoo Boon Hui said the seminar, following so closely after the MoU, was a clear manifestation of Italy’s commitment to fighting corruption in sports and encouraged other countries to follow their lead.

“The cooperation and synergy among the police, sports organizations, regulatory agencies and the community in general is vital. Tackling corruption and establishing integrity in sports must be everybody’s concern,” said President Khoo.

“If we want to continue enjoying the true essence of sports, we need to ensure integrity in sports. We must remain vigilant against all forms of illegal activities, such as doping, cheating, financial corruption and match fixing,” concluded the President.

“The Italian National Police is proud to have hosted the first high-level seminar that brought together all key components of the Italian football community to demonstrate our collective commitment to join INTERPOL and FIFA in fighting match-fixing and corruption in football,” said Prefect Antonio Manganelli, the Head of Italian National Police.

INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said that the Rome meeting, held as part of the INTERPOL-FIFA funding agreement, was the strongest signal ever sent by all parties concerned that corruption in football must be stopped, pointing to Italian footballer Simone Farina as a role model in the fight.

In November 2011 the Gubbio defender rejected an offer of EUR 200,000 to fix the outcome of a match and reported the attempted bribe to the police.

In acknowledgement of the footballer’s integrity and the work being done by Italian authorities, Secretary General Noble presented the INTERPOL Commemorative Medal to Giancarlo Abete, President of the Italian Football Federation as part of INTERPOL’s ‘Fund for a Safer World,’ which recognizes those who make an effective contribution to crime prevention and law enforcement at the local, national and global level.

“Simone showed courage and integrity in turning down the bribe and by then going to the police, and equally important was the backing he received from the Italian Football Federation,” said Secretary General Noble.

“I hope that this is first of many awards to individuals and organizations in special recognition of their acts of courage and integrity in combating corruption in football,” added the INTERPOL chief, pointing to the INTERPOL-FIFA Training, Education and Prevention Initiative as a key element in supporting the footballing community in this fight.

INTERPOL will be conducting a series of training workshops which will bring together players, referees, regulators and law enforcement to improve key individuals’ awareness and understanding of corruption in football, of the strategies used by its perpetrators and of the methods to detect and counteract them. The first of four pilot workshops taking place in Finland in April 2012.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
INTERPOL Red Notice Removal Lawyers Videos:

INTERPOL Notice Removal

INTERPOL’s Red Notice

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


Italy first country to officially support INTERPOL-FIFA initiative to fight match-fixing

October 19, 2011

INTERPOL on October 19, 2011 released the following:

“ROME, Italy – An agreement signed by Italy today makes it the first INTERPOL member country to officially endorse the initiative agreed in May between the world police body and FIFA to target match-fixing and illegal and irregular betting across the globe.

Italy’s Minister of the Interior Roberto Maroni, who witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding at a special ceremony with INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble, said that his country’s support for the INTERPOL-FIFA programme would bring its national expertise in tackling this type of crime to the global arena.

“With international crime syndicates from Southeast Asia to Europe making huge profits from bets placed through legal and illegal networks and their attempts to infiltrate the world of sport, it is clear that there is a need for continued and more effective cooperation, which is why Italy is proud to be the first country to pledge support for the INTERPOL-FIFA initiative,” said Minister Maroni.

Signing the agreement, Director General of Public Security and Chief of Italy’s State Police, Antonio Manganelli, said it “would develop on an international scale the steps Italy has already taken to combat this type of crime such as the creation of the Sports Betting Intelligence Unit and the Investigations Group earlier this year.”

INTERPOL and FIFA’s unprecedented 10-year venture will see the creation of a dedicated FIFA Anti-Corruption Training Wing within the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) in Singapore which will provide a cutting-edge training, education and prevention programme to protect the sport, players and the fans from fraud and corruption.

The agreement between INTERPOL and Italy will further support this initiative through the sharing of mutual experience and expertise, as well as through close liaison in designing training programmes and course material for players, officials, referees, police officers and others.

“Italy’s support for the INTERPOL-FIFA initiative is a clear signal to those who may be involved in match-fixing or illegal gambling, both domestically and internationally, that such crimes will not be tolerated, and I believe today’s agreement with Italy should serve as a model for all INTERPOL member countries,” said INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

“With billions of dollars involved and more importantly the very reputation of sport itself at stake, it is vital that law enforcement presents a united front in not only fighting this type of crime but to ensure that everyone involved from the rank and file official to the star player is given the resources and training to counter the corrupt influences of transnational organized crime,” added the INTERPOL chief.

As part of the agreement Italy will also second a specialized police officer to the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters to further support the INTERPOL-FIFA Anti-Corruption training initiative.”

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Douglas McNabb – McNabb Associates, P.C.’s
INTERPOL Red Notice Removal Lawyers Videos:

INTERPOL Notice Removal

INTERPOL’s Red Notice

————————————————————–

To find additional global criminal news, please read The Global Criminal Defense Daily.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the U.S. law firm practice and write and/or report extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Red Notice Removal, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Sanctions Removal.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.


INTERPOL Concerned with Illegal Betting Practices

February 28, 2011

Olympic chief Jacques Rogge has urged governments around the world to clamp down on illegal betting practices, warning that the credibility of spectator sports is at stake.

The International Olympic Committee will be hosting a meeting on Tuesday at their headquarters in Lausanne dealing with these issues. Rogge will be joined by sports federations, along with INTERPOL’s chiefs as well as ministers from Australia, Britain, China, France.

Rogge’s initiative comes days after the World Anti-Doping Agency called for the establishment of a global “sports integrity body” to centralize and strengthen anti-corruption efforts.

Sports including football and cricket have been rocked by ongoing criminal investigations into alleged manipulation of matches for betting coups.

Rogge is calling for a system where betting operators have to be licensed by the government, in an effort to help monitor irregular betting patterns and also the financial flows.

INTERPOL, along with many others attending the meeting, will have the opportunity to discuss current issues regarding illegal betting, options for legitimizing the system, and developing cooperation efforts between countries.

The IOC introduced irregular betting early warning systems during the Beijing 2008 and Vancouver 2010 Olympics and neither Games showed anything suspicious.

Douglas McNabb and other members of the firm practice and write extensively on matters involving Federal Criminal Defense, INTERPOL Litigation, International Extradition and OFAC SDN Litigation.

The author of this blog is Douglas McNabb. Please feel free to contact him directly at mcnabb@mcnabbassociates.com or at one of the offices listed above.

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