After a lengthy investigation, Police have laid proceeds of crime charges against an Australian table tennis player and brought down an international match fixing syndicate.
Adam Green, a world-renowned former professional player is alleged to be the mastermind behind predetermined table tennis matches in the Ukraine.
NSW detectives say they tracked betting trails tied to money remittance involving approximately $500,000 to Mr Green's Newcastle home.
The investigation was initially conducted by Sport Integrity Australia, before NSW Police took over.
The former Australian champion has been arrested and formally charged.
Suspicious Betting Raises Eyebrows
The majority of international table tennis matches were occurring in East European countries.
Despite this, Australian betting agencies detected an unusual pattern of gambling on these matches along Australia's east coast.
The agencies uncovered the pattern through their computer analysis of bets that were being placed. It revealed that certain punters were consistently winning in a way that defied statistical averages.
Suspicions were raised and the agencies referred their analysis to Sports Integrity Australia – the country's corruption watchdog. The NSW Organised Crime Squad were also notified.
Overseas gambling authorities were also detecting anomalies.
To combat allegations of corruption, Ukraine's Setka Cup required competitors to take a lie-detector test to ensure they didn't cheat.
Despite this, in June 2020, American gambling regulators banned betting on Ukrainian table tennis matches due to concerns over match-fixing. The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement also banned betting on any international matches that involved six specific players.
Police Investigation Makes Headway
NSW Police also began investigating the unusual winnings. They were able to track approximately $500,000 in money remittances that were allegedly used in the matches.
Some of the funds are said to be linked to tie a Newcastle address. This was the home of a former Australian table tennis champion – Adam Green.
Mr Green had trained in Europe and in fact was once considered a potential Olympian.
Detectives executed search warrants on nine properties linked to Adam Green and arrested him.
He was formally charged with using corrupt conduct information to bet on an event and knowingly dealing with proceeds of crime.
NSW Police Organised Crime Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Martin Fileman spoke to media and revealed that the prosecution case is that Green was the head of the betting syndicate.
The former top table tennis player is said to have used "his inside knowledge to gain information about table tennis matches in Ukraine that had a predetermined outcome".
"In other words, they knew who was going to win the match, before they put the bets on," Fileman said.
"We can show, through evidence gained during the strike force, that direct money transfers from the head of the syndicate [were sent] to people very, very closely linked to these table tennis games in Ukraine."
Further charges are expected to be laid against people in NSW.
The Police case further alleges Adam Green used various betting accounts in his name and the names of others to place bets.
Speaking to Green's personal gain from the scheme, Superintendent Fileman said, "We can show direct money transfers from that money he received, probably about a quarter of a million dollars that go back to persons who are very closely linked to those games."
Recent History of Match Fixing
In recent years, the attention of Australian Police has moved towards sports corruption.
In September 2013, detectives were able to detect a match-fixing operation within Victoria's Premier League soccer competition.
Police initially alleged that an overseas criminal syndicate had placed over $2 million in bets on fixed matches. All of the games involved the Southern Stars Football Club and the bets were said to come from a well-known European criminal consortium.
The investigation led to the arrests of several professional and semi-professional soccer players.
Following this, a Sports Integrity Unit was established with the Police force. At the time it was set up to operate like many of the already established organised crime squads.
The unit was able to utilise intercepted phone calls and other tools to aid their investigations.
It also was able to work with international betting and sports corruption intelligence agencies. This included sports betting agencies who shared their data with Police. This was what ultimately led to the arrest of Mr Green.
Inquiry into Match Fixing Leads to Change
An inquiry into sports corruption was conducted by former NSW Judge James Wood in March 2018.
It came to the conclusion that Australian sports gambling was open to be exploited.
The inquiry made a range of recommendations which included the establishment of a centralised federal anti-corruption agency.
In 2019, the federal government accepted this recommendation and created a new national agency – Sport Integrity Australia.
Former police officers were appointed on 1 July 2019 to work within the body. The organisation then began working with state police, sporting codes and betting agencies throughout Australia.
Proceeds of Crime Offences
Dealing with money or property that was proceeds of crime is an offence under Section 193B of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).
The prosecution must prove that:
- The Accused dealt with (ie. received, possessed, concealed or disposed of) money or property; and
- (Depending on the level of knowledge alleged) The Accused knew; or was reckless; or was negligent as to that money or property being proceeds of crime; and
- (Only if charged with intending to conceal) intended to conceal that it was proceeds of crime.
There are also a number of defences to money laundering charges which can be used to be found 'not guilty' of this offence.
When there are large sums of money involved, Police can apply to the Supreme Court of NSW for 'freezing orders'.
This will prevent you accessing your bank accounts and can even cause your assets to be frozen. You will not be able to withdraw money from those accounts or sell those assets while the freezing orders are in place.
Facing Proceeds of Crime Charges?
Avoiding jail for serious criminal charges when you have excellent legal representation is not uncommon. There have even been a number of recent examples of people being found 'not guilty'. Having the best criminal lawyers for proceeds of crime charges will go a long way towards this.
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