PREMIER STARS IN HO­TEL SEX STING

Foot­ballers black­mail scan­dal

Midweek Sport - - FRONT PAGE - By REX ROW­LANDS

SOME of the Premier League’s big­gest names have fallen vic­tim to a ruth­less gang of black­mail­ers.

The stars, all house­hold names whose iden­ti­ties we are pro­tect­ing, have been forced to shell out tens of thou­sands of pounds af­ter be­ing caught up in a sex snare.

Criminals hire call girls to se­duce the foot­ballers, then af­ter a night of pas­sion con­tact the stars to de­mand cash in ex­change for si­lence.

If they refuse to pay up then the con­men say they will go to the press with the story and ruin their rep­u­ta­tion.

A lead­ing foot­ball agent said: “I’ve heard of at least ten cases of this hap­pen­ing.

“One of my play­ers pulled a beau­ti­ful girl at a bar in London. Well, look­ing back she pulled him, I guess.

Swap

“He took her back to a ho­tel, had a great night, and he thought that was that. They didn’t even swap num­bers.

“Then a week later I got a phone call out of the blue, and there was a guy with a Euro­pean ac­cent de­mand­ing money in ex­change for si­lence.

“He said he had pho­tos of my lad with the girl.

“At first I told him to get lost and threat­ened to call the po­lice, but the player is mar­ried with a fam­ily and wanted to put the whole thing to bed.

“I ended up hav­ing to meet this fella in a su­per­mar­ket and hand­ing over £35k in cash. We just hoped that was the end of it. Luck­ily, he never got in touch again.”

Last week Manch­ester City star Mario Balotelli ad­mit­ted hav­ing an af­fair with Wayne Rooney’s hooker Jenny Thompson.

He says he made the con­fes­sion be­cause he wrongly thought he was be­ing black­mailed.

In fact, Thompson (main picture, left) had NOTH­ING to do with the story.

The agent said: “They may seem like they have it all but in fact foot­ballers are quite vul­ner­a­ble.

“Many of them are ac­tu­ally naïve, and de­spite their wealth lots of them don’t re­ally have much worldly ex­pe­ri­ence.

“They’ve been brought up in a bub­ble from the age of 13 and that can cause them prob­lems.”

It’s thought the peo­ple be­hind the scam are east­ern Euro­pean gang­sters from the ruth­less Al­ba­nian mafia.

A po­lice in­sider also re­vealed the gang re­spon­si­ble for the black­mail scam can­not be caught un­til some­one re­ports them

He said: “We are aware of this but to be hon­est un­til some­one gets us in­volved there’s not a lot we can do.

“It hap­pens a lot in Italy and Spain and now it’s come here.

“We think there are transcon­ti­nen­tal crime syn­di­cates in­volved at the very top.

“We’d love to stop them but sadly the vic­tims so far have de­cided their rep­u­ta­tion is more im­por­tant than jus­tice.

“We would urge any­one, foot­baller or not, who is the vic­tim of a black­mail at­tempt to call the po­lice.

“We will pro­tect your iden­tity, we will catch the criminals and we will stop it hap­pen­ing to other peo­ple.

“If you stay quiet, we can’t do a thing.”

WRONG: Balotelli thought he was about

to be black­mailed

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