Football is Good Ground for Financial Crimes, EFCC Warns
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has cautioned that the rapid investments in the betting sector in Nigeria is a red flag indicating that the Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL) is vulnerable to match fixing, saying football is generally a soft center for financial crimes.
EFCC’s Principal Detective Superintendent, Ogbu Chinedu attached to EFCC Kano zonal office, in a paper presentation titled “sports As A Tool For Money Laundering” presented at a four-day training workshop organized by the Kano chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN) said the huge investments flowing into Nigeria’s betting sector is a worrisome development that should official football league organizers in the country.
Ogbu revealed that if control mechanisms are not erected to check the developments in the betting sector, “people from across the globe will come and bet huge amounts and when they continue to win, match fixing now becomes possible.”
He warned that football is now at the risk of criminal elements who are in search of a growing front for the flow of huge amounts of money.
“Football is attracting criminals because of the obscure method of accountability, horse and motor racing are also attracting cross border money flows that goes beyond the control of sports governing bodies.”
The EFCC detective revealed that football specifically has created the avenue for conversion of dirty monies to clean monies, explaining that the criminal act is carried out through over-valuation of players and investments in clubs that are liquidated with the aim to launder criminal monies and also indulge in tax evasion.
“Football market is easy to penetrate. There are so many actors in the industry, ranging from agents, club owners, government agencies and betting syndicates, the spider like network makes investigations to be tedious,”Ogbu said.
He disclosed that investigations unveiled that in Europe, over £78 billion is been laundered through sports annually.
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