News 18th February 2015

Five arrested in Dutch match-fixing probe

The Dutch finance ministry’s special investigations unit (FIOD) has arrested five people as part of an international investigation into a criminal organisation that arranged bets on football games in the Netherlands. The main suspects are a 34-year old man from Rijswijk, a 40-year old man from Hilversum and a 40-year old Dutchman who lives in Cyprus, but is currently staying in The Hague. A 49-year old man from Zevenhuizen was also arrested on suspicion of forgery and a 58-year old man from The Hague was arrested on suspicion of operating illegal lotteries and profiting from the proceeds.

It is alleged that the 40-year old Dutchman living in Cyprus was at the head of the operation, using his two accomplices to arrange bets in cash, which would then be brought to him on visits to the Netherlands. Agents were used to offer illegal betting to hundreds of people. All transactions took place in cash, and the profits generated were laundered.

The FIOD said that the investigation started after information was received from Germany, suggesting that the 40-year old Dutchman living in Cyprus had been involved in match-fixing in 2008 and 2009, including races that took place in the Netherlands. The Dutch Public Prosecutor has investigated whether this defendant is still involved in match-fixing, however this has not been shown to date. Cars, cash and luxury goods were seized following raids on a number of houses in the Netherlands, Curaço, Germany, Austria and England.

‘Football fans should be able to rely on what they see’, read a statement from the Dutch football association (KNVB). ‘This investigation shows that organised crime is involved in illegal betting and manipulation of competitions. Although the KNVB do everything within the capabilities of football to address manipulation, investigations underpinned by judicial authorities are necessary. The KNVB is of the opinion that no competition is immune to manipulation. This study provides further evidence that there should be proper legislation to combat match fixing. The KNVB example, calls for a ban on gambling on events during a match, such as goal kicks, corners or yellow cards. It should also not be possible to gamble on amateur games. Because these competitions lack objective control, the risk of manipulation is higher.’

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