Investigators say that World Cup qualifying games and Champions League games involved in match fixing
THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS (FEBRUARY 4, 2013) (REUTERS) - Europol said on Monday (February 4) it has identified about 380 football matches that had been fixed across Europe, bringing in about eight million euros in profits.
Speaking in The Hague, Europol head Rob Wainwright said the joint investigation had identified an extensive criminal network involved in match fixing.
"A total of 425 match officials, club officials, players and serious criminals from more than 15 countries are suspected of being involved in trying to fix more than 380 professional football matches. The activities form part of a sophisticated organised crime operation which generated over eight million euros in betting profits and involved the payment of at least two million euros in corrupt payment to those involved in the matches," he said.
"This investigation coordinated multiple police inquiries across Europe and was facilitated by intelligence reports from Europol which was based on the analysis of 13,000 e-mails and other material, and this helped to identify links between suspected matches and suspects and uncovered the nature of the organised crime network involved in this illegal activity. The investigation has since led to several prosecutions in the countries involved."
Wainwright did not name directly the matches involved, but said they included high profile World Cup qualifying and Champions League games.
"Among the 380 or so suspicious matches identified in this case are qualification matches for the World Cup and European football championships, two UEFA Champions League matches, including one played in England, and several top flight matches in European national leagues. In addition another 300 suspicious matches were identified outside Europe in Africa, Asia, South and Central America. So this is match fixing activity on a scale that we've not seen before involving hundreds of criminals and corrupted officials and players affecting hundreds of professional matches and generating very large amounts of illicit profits. It is also the work of a sophisticated international organised crime syndicate based in Asia and working with criminal facilitators around Europe," he said.