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Soccer matchfixing trial starts in Germany – SportsUntapped.com
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Added October 6th, 2010 by Steve

Soccer match-fixing trial starts in Germany
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Four men accused in a huge soccer scandal went on trial on Oct. 6 in Bochum, Germany after being accused of fixing close to 270 matches across Asia and Europe. The men are all aged between 32 and 55 and allegedly fixed the outcome of games by influencing or bribing referees, coaches, and players involved with the games. The accused then made wagers on the matches. Prosecutors stated that the bribes amounted to about 1.5 million euros and the amounts of the wagers reached the millions.

The court said the accused pressured referees and players into affecting the outcome of the games and then placed bets in Austria, Germany, Asia, and England. It added that even if the attempts at bribery failed, the actual act of wagering on the games could be illegal.

In July, German prosecutors announced they had investigated hundreds of games that were played throughout Asia and Europe in 2009 and 2010. They investigated over 250 people they thought were involved in match fixing and who placed bets on games with bookmakers throughout Europe.
Police in Bochum stated they carried out over 50 raids in Germany, Britain, and Switzerland and focused on a gang of international criminals who allegedly fixed the games to win money on them. They said 17 people were taking into custody in the summer, two in Switzerland and 15 in Germany. The current trial is the first one connected to the police raids.

Most of the games investigated were lower-division matches spread out across nine nations. However, none of them involved major football leagues in Spain, England, and Italy, but three European Champions league and 12 Europa League games were involved along with a European under-21 qualifying match.

Police believe the illegal gambling ring could have walked away with a profit of about U.S. $14 million and $1.48 million in cash was seized by investigators along with various other assets. The criminal investigation took a special unit over a year to carry out and UEFA was aware of it. The governing body of European soccer will also be pushing for harsh sanctions against any officials, individuals, and clubs who are found guilty.

Michel Platini, the president of UEFA, strengthened his organization’s fraud unit in 2007 after being elected to his post and thanked German investigators and authorities for their hard work and results. UEFA added that the investigation shows it’s possible for authorities and police to join forces and work together successfully with a sports body to combat illegal activities such as match-fixing.

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