Report on Sports Corruption
On 5 August 2020, Europol published a new report looking into the involvement of organised crime groups in sports corruption. The report analyses the following:
- The link between sports corruption and organised crime;
- The characteristics, structure, and modus operandi of criminal networks;
- The different types of match-fixing as the most prominent form of sports corruption monitored by Europol;
- The Asian betting model;
- Targeted sports such as football and tennis.
According to the report, annual global criminal proceeds from betting-related match fixing are estimated at €120 million.
The report sets out ten key findings, concluding that organised crime groups (OCGs) involved in sports corruption are active on a transnational level, operate using a top-down operational business model, and are often polycriminal. Online betting is increasingly used by OCGs for betting-related match fixing. In this context, the fear exists that the use of online technologies for the purpose of sports betting ‒ linked to competition manipulation ‒ will continue to facilitate these illicit activities. Furthermore, the fixing is usually organised separately from the betting in match-fixing schemes. In addition, OCGs predominantly target lower-level sports competitions.
The report also finds that betting-related match fixing can well serve as a platform to further high-scale money laundering schemes by the same OCGs involved in sports corruption for its own benefit and/or serve other OCGs in search of specialised ‘laundering services.’ Money laundering takes place via online betting, either by exploiting regulated betting operators or by taking direct ownership of these operators. In addition, OCGs misuse identities to create betting accounts and e-wallets that are used to bet on prearranged matches. Lastly, OCGs seem to maximise their illegal gains by combining the benefits of competition manipulation for both sports-related and betting-related purposes.