Feb. 4 - Investigators from across Europe say they've identified a total of some 680 suspicious matches from around the world, bringing in at least 8 million euros in proven profits. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
(ROUGH CUT ONLY - NO REPORTER NARRATION) Speaking in The Hague, Europol head Rob Wainwright said the joint investigation had identified about 425 corrupt officials, players and serious criminals in 15 countries. 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 euros per match around the world, paying off players and referees. 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. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ROB WAINWRIGHT, EUROPOL DIRECTOR, SAYING: "I think this is a sad day for European football. We have known for some time that organized crime operates in many parts of illegal economy, and that it affect the society and citizens in very many different ways, this is the first time that we've established substantial evidence that organised crime is now also operating in the world of football." "We have uncovered an extensive criminal network involved in widespread football 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." "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."