Cyprus & World News

FOOTBALL: Cyprus arrest as part of Belgium match-fixing raids

10 October, 2018

Cypriot police said Wednesday they arrested a 52-year-old foreign resident of Cyprus on a European warrant in connection with fraud and match-fixing in Belgium.

The man is wanted by Belgian authorities in relation to alleged cases of counterfeiting, circulating false documents, tax evasion and money laundering, said Cypriot police.

The offences were mainly committed in Belgium, but also in Cyprus and other European countries between 2012 and 2018.

Four premises were searched in the capital Nicosia and in the Famagusta district. The locations searched included offices and the suspect’s residence.

CNA said during the investigation, four computers, two laptops, two i-pads and a large volume of documents were found and confiscated as evidence.

It said more than 15 officers were involved in the raids with the help of two investigators Belgium for better co-ordination.

Legal procedures are now underway to extradite the man to Belgium and evidence collected will also be handed over to the Belgian authorities.

Police carried out raids in seven countries Wednesday as Belgian prosecutors targeted the country's biggest football clubs as part of an investigation into fraud and match-fixing.

A total of 220 police officers carried out 44 house searches across Belgium as well as in France, Luxemburg, Cyprus, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia, Belgian prosecutors said.

"A great number of persons have been deprived of their liberty and taken in for a thorough interrogation," the statement said.

Federal prosecutors told AFP that the arrests included well-known football agent Mogi Bayat, the former manager of Sporting Charleroi, who had been arrested in his home.

Bayat, a 44-year-old Belgian-Iranian, was the main target of the probe, Belgian media reports said, along with another agent and clubs with which they did business.

Belgian media, including public broadcaster RTBF, said police had conducted searches in the premises of ten clubs including Anderlecht, Club Brugge and Standard Liege.

At Standard Liege, reports in Le Soir daily said police seized contracts involving players Obbi Oulare, Michel Preudhomme and Dino Arslanagic that were all linked to Bayat.

Le Soir reported that prosecutors also confirmed the arrests of Herman Van Holsbeeck, former head of Anderlecht, the current Club Brugge coach Ivan Leko, and referees Bart Vertenten and Sebastien Delferiere.