News 2 February 2016

ABC: tennis match-fixing systemic for a decade

A three-month investigation by Four Corners, the investigative journalism division of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), has found that match-fixing in tennis has been systemic in tennis for over a decade. It also found that large illegal Asian bookmakers have been taking bets worth tens of millions of dollars on tennis events, but that tennis executives were unaware of this.

The programme alleged that Wei Seng ‘Paul’ Phua (pictured) was involved in laundering money made from illegal Asian gambling through high-rolling poker games at Melbourne’s Crown Casino. Phua allegedly heads IBCBet, based in Manila, understood to be one of the world’s largest gambling companies turning over US$7 billion per month. He has been arrested in Macau and the US in connection with illegal gambling. When questioned by the programme makers, President of the International Tennis Federation (ITF) David Haggerty had not heard of IBCBet or Phua.

They were also unaware of a blacklist involving 350 players that bookmakers are reluctant to take bets on, due to their involvement in suspicious results. Four Corners also uncovered new information on 40 suspicious tennis matches that occurred in a three-month window last year – three suspicious matches every week. Four players involved in those games had been reported to the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) before, and all four competed in the Australian Open.

One of the players on the bookmaker’s blacklist is Aleksandr Nedovyesov, reported Four Corners. Bookmakers stopped taking bets on his match in a recent tennis tournament in Happy Valley, Adelaide – Nedovyesov said he had no idea why this had happened. Another is Spaniard David Marrero, reports Four Corners, who featured in a mixed doubles match in the Australian Open which bookmakers stopped taking money on.

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