"A fundamental police special operation to stop the activities of criminal groups that organized an extensive system of fixed football matches has been completed. Today, operatives from the Department for Economic Protection of the National Police, under the procedural control of the Prosecutor General's Office, conducted 40 authorized searches in Kyiv city and in Kyiv, Zhytomyr, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, Odesa, Kirovohrad, Mykolaiv and Chernihiv regions," Avakov said.
According to him, for more than two years the Department for Economic Protection of the National Police has conducted observations and documented the active work of five criminal groups in the organization of fixed matches.
"Any methods were used to receive the 'right' result in the match - from the bribing of players, referees, club owners to intimidation and threats. The amount of 'reward' for the desired result - a victory or a draw - ranged from 30,000 to 100,000 hryvnias. Knowing the outcome of the game in advance, members of criminal groups made bets in betting offices registered in the Asian countries and received huge profits. Due to the anonymity, non-transparency and uncontrollability of gambling in these countries, a peculiar 'football business' brought the organizers up to $5 million per year," the minister wrote.
He also provided video materials that were permitted by investigators to be published, "with figures and mechanism of dirty machinations."
"According to investigators, five organized groups worked in Ukraine for many years. Thirty-five football clubs from ten regions were involved in their activity. The organized criminal groups included the presidents of clubs, former and current players, referees, coaches, and football-related commercial entities. The participation of 320 persons involved in 57 proven episodes has been documented," Avakov added.
The minister said that persons involved had been notified of suspicion of committing a criminal act stipulated in Part 4, Article 368-3 (bribery of a person providing public services) and Part 1, Article 369-3 (illegal influence on the outcome of sports competitions) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
"This is the first case in Ukraine when not only players of football clubs, but also organizers of fixed matches are brought to justice," Avakov said.
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