Government minister Ben Wallace said that at least one club is under investigation for money laundering.
Ben Wallace, Minister of State for Security at the Home Office, told MPs that the sports industry “is as susceptible as anything else” when it comes to being used to hide ‘dirty’ money.
Speaking at the Treasury Select Committee “I know of a professional football club or clubs under investigation. I couldn’t reveal how many and what they are. That is an operational matter.”
Wallace was then pressed for more information, to which he replied, “There are live investigations… to expand any more could threaten investigations.
“The sports industry is as susceptible as anything else to dirty money being invested or their organisations being used as a way to launder money.”
A spokesperson for the National Crime Agency would not confirm or deny the ‘existence of investigations’ when contacted by the Daily Mail’s political correspondent, Claire Ellicott.
If you want to know more about how football rights are ‘sold’ around the world, I would recommend Ken Bensinger’s excellent book, ‘Red Card: FIFA and the fall of the most powerful men in sports’ which details the staggering corruption in the game surrounding the awarding of TV rights around the globe.
The announcement follows on from news a couple of weeks ago that two referees and the coach of Club Brugge were among 19 people charged by prosecutors in Belgium investigating match-fixing and allegations of corruption.
Earlier in October, I reported in a News Shorts section that Belgian prosecutors had carried out raids and arrests across the country linked to investigations into fraud and match-fixing and now more details have been released.
44 clubs and homes across Belgium were raided with a further 13 searches taking place in France, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro, Serbia, and Macedonia with Belgium’s ‘big three’ (Anderlecht, Brugge, and Standard Lige) clubs targeted.
The charge sheet runs from criminal organisation to money laundering and corruption.
Club Brugge coach Ivan Leko, charged with money laundering, was released.
“I will fight back,” he said. “I didn’t deserve this.”
Don’t forget to check out Ken Bensinger’s excellent book, ‘Red Card: FIFA and the fall of the most powerful men in sports’