I begin a new school year with a story from the lighter side of transnational crime. The CBC is reporting that a "Europe-based crime syndicate" has been engaged in an international soccer match-fixing scheme, in order to generate illegal profits from online betting. Six men have been convicted, and six are currently on trial, in Germany.
The evidence in the German prosecutions indicates that a game between the Trois-Rivieres Attak and the Toronto Croatia on 12 September 2009 was the target of price-fixing, with some Toronto players reportedly being bribed in the amount of €15,000 to throw the game. The CBC story notes: "The Canadian Soccer League, which is largely run by volunteers, was unaware of the verdict when approached by CBC News, even though it happened months earlier."
Above I characterize this as coming from the "lighter" side of this blog's ledger, though it is worth saying that any kind of corruption is corrosive and obviously should be suppressed by criminal law, not least because it lines the pockets of organized crime gangs who use the profits to do much more destructive things. Nonetheless, as compared to the usual fare here (genocide, war crimes, human trafficking, cybercrime, extra-judicial assassinations), this story is more of a curiosity.
Observers have been shocked by many aspects of this case, not least by the fact that Canada even has semi-professional soccer teams in which there is international interest, let alone the desire to fix their games.