Russian Mafia Involved in Football Fixing

Europol will conduct an investigation into football match fixing by Russian organized crime groups, The Moscow Times reports.

In early February, Europol uncovered an Asian organized crime syndicate that operated a system of football match-fixing. The discovery has caused investigators to look into 680 football games around the world, 380 of them in Europe, and including the World Cup and European cup matches.

Rob Wainwright, police chief of Europol, said that this problem was not just limited to Asian organized crime groups. There are ongoing investigations into Russian mafia groups and a few organized crime groups from the western Balkans. 

Russian organized crime groups are active across many sectors. Wainwright said that it is not surprising that they are suspected to be involved in match fixing, especially when it is high profit and low risk in nature, RAPSI reports

On July 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill that lengthens the maximum penalty for match-fixing to seven years in prison. The law makes it an offense for athletes, coaches, and officials to bet on their own sports. If convicted, lawbreakers could face prison time and a $30,000 fine.