Top soc­cer chief linked to fix­ing

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Olympiakos owner and Su­per League pres­i­dent Van­ge­lis Mari­nakis and Greece in­ter­na­tional de­fender Avraam Pa­padopou­los were among the 68 fur­ther sus­pects named in con­nec­tion to match-fix­ing al­le­ga­tions by an Athens pros­e­cu­tor yes­ter­day.

First in­stance pros­e­cu­tor Eleni Raikou made pub­lic a list of the 68 sus­pects af­ter 15 had al­ready been named ear­lier in the week. Ten of those, in­clud­ing Olympiakos Volou chair­man Achil­leas Beos, have al­ready been ar­rested.

The 15 are al­leged to have formed the hard core of the ring and face crim­i­nal charges that carry prison sen­tences of be­tween five years and life. The other 70 sus­pects named on Fri­day face lesser charges but the ac­cu­sa­tions are nev­er­the­less se­ri­ous.

Mari­nakis, the owner of the Greek cham­pi­ons and head of the or­ga­ni­za­tion that runs Greece’s top soc­cer league, is ac­cused of col­lud­ing with a crim­i­nal gang and tak­ing part in bribery to fix the out­come of matches. The Olympiakos chief de­nied any part in the af­fair. “The match-fix­ing is­sue has noth­ing to do with us,” he said. “There is no ev­i­dence point­ing to any wrong­do­ing.”

Pa­padopou­los, an Olympiakos player, Kostas Men­dri­nos, for­merly of Olympiakos but now with Aris, and Jose Reyes of Di­ago­ras are some of the play­ers named among the 70 sus­pects. Ref­er­ees Dim­itris Kalopou­los and Yian­nis Spathas have also been iden­ti­fied as tak­ing part in the match-fix­ing ring.

Mean­while, the Hel­lenic Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion (EPO) de­cided to sack Yian­nis Pa­padopou­los, an EPO em­ployee who was named among the sus­pects. EPO also de­cided to sus­pend five ref­er­ees for their al­leged in­volve­ment, while it is said that Avraam Pa­padopou­los and Un­der-21 na­tional coach Gior­gos Ge­or­giadis, also iden­ti­fied as a suspect, have no fu­ture in the na­tional teams any­more.

Sources also re­vealed to Kathimerini that there is a net­work of off­shore com­pa­nies in the Far East, with at least one of them based in Malaysia, which con­ducted the laun­der­ing of prof­its from the il­le­gal bet­ting on the fixed matches. Authorities are fol­low­ing the money trail but co­op­er­a­tion with Malaysian jus­tice is not easy given the ab­sence of a pro­to­col of ju­di­cial co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries.

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