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Money laundering and football; some rather interesting examples

 

By: Anne

This article is Part II of a 3-part series that is intended to provide information about precisely how money laundering works on a global scale. Because my personal take is that, if the criminals know how to do it, why not all of us? And the truth is that, without such parity of knowledge, we have no hope of ever stopping them.

So, pay attention, won’t you? If you do, I promise that I will reward you with a gripping tale of international intrigue in exchange!

But let’s all get caught up on the facts first. As I explained in part I of this series, there are three different stages in the money laundering cycle: “placement,” “layering,” and “integration.” Part I of this article addressed the “placement” stage of the cycle, which, true to its name, involves the “placement” of dirty cash from crime into the legitimate financial system.

We last left our tale of international intrigue with the information provided in a  Daily Mail article headlined French police raid drug and money-laundering gang linked to English Premier League. And while I cannot personally verify the accuracy of this information, taking it for the moment as true, it provided us with the following beginning to our story:

Two English men were caught smuggling large quantities of cash out of England, into other European nations, using luxury cars that had been specially equipped with hidden compartments to conceal the cash.

The men who were arrested for smuggling this cash claimed that the cash “was linked to agents or other parties involved in the lucrative – and notoriously unregulated – trade in footballers.”

Specifically, the “criminals claimed the millions of used notes came from Premier League football ‘transfer bungs’”

One alleged perpetrator “claimed that the money in his Mercedes was provided as part of a ‘bung’ connected with the transfer of a player to a leading English club, police said yesterday….

‘He told us that all the money came from professional footballer transfers in England,’ added the investigating officer.

‘Those arrested say they had links with big names in the world of Premiership football.’”

So, dirty transfer cash, secret compartments… what exactly is going on here? In Part I of this article, I expressed the opinion that, if the information above was correct, it represented a quite clear example of the attempted “placement” of dirty cash as required to initiate the money laundering cycle. Once the cash was “placed,” then we would enter the “layering” stage of the cycle.

But our ultimate goal here is just to follow the cash from beginning to end. So we must first ask ourselves, where were they going to “place” it? And at this point we hit a little snag….

In reality, there are so many places that they could have “placed” this cash that I have absolutely no idea where they did it. However, just based on the law of averages, the most likely locale is Switzerland, which is the undisputed global money laundering capital of the world, and which is not too far away… So, from here on out, I might not be telling you exactly what happened to this particular cash.

However, I found the information about a certain criminal courier network for the transport of dirty cash (from a lawsuit filed by the European Community against RJR Nabisco) to be quite interesting in relation to the above article.

Specifically, the method that the above Daily Mail article described as being used to transport the EPL transfer cash appears to be the very same method that the EC lawsuit documented as being used by the Italian Mafia for the “placement” of the cash proceeds of crime, which involved:

“an organized group of ‘money couriers.’ These couriers would receive criminal cash in Italy and other parts of Europe, and then illegally smuggle the cash out of Italy and into Switzerland…

RJR used of an organized group of money couriers whose function was to receive criminal proceeds in Italy and other parts of Europe and to illegally ferry those proceeds out of Italy and Europe to Switzerland, where the couriers would hand the cash proceeds over to the Swiss money-laundering broker organizations, such as the ‘Alfred Bossert organization’ and the ‘Gegis money-laundering broker organization.’”

So, let’s just hypothetically assume that the dirty cash in this case was headed for Switzerland, for deposit with a “money-laundering broker organization,” which would then initiate stage II of the money laundering cycle:

Layering – In essence, the “layering” process of the money laundering cycle involves nothing more than moving the dirty money through as many bank accounts and investments as possible, so that the path is confusing and makes no sense, and nobody will ever be able to figure out exactly where the money came from.

So, I’m not going to worry too much about showing you exactly how the layering process works. And the reason for that is because, consistent with its design, the process is confusing and generally makes absolutely no sense. However, I do want to show you enough about it that you can recognize it when you see it.

Also, you should be aware that there is a flourishing shadow banking industry in Switzerland that will conveniently handle all of your “layering” needs for you, so long as you have the ability to pay the right price. Here’s how it works….

Basically, a criminal organization (like the Italian mafia in our example above) will use couriers to get their dirty cash to a Swiss money broker, and then deposit it into their very own “bank” account with that broker. Same as a regular bank account, just “off the books.”

From there, all they have to do is specify a bank account where they want the dirty money to end up. The money broker will then run it through their own series of accounts to disguise the origin of the funds, before it ends up in the specified account, origin unidentifiable.

In the RJR Nabisco lawsuit, the idea was that various Mafia outfits were earning cash proceeds from crime, and they wanted to use that money to buy RJ Reynolds cigarettes. They would then sell the cigarettes, earn the same amount of money back, and their profits would look legitimate. So, the idea of the layering process was that they needed to deposit their money with a broker, “layer” it, and ultimately get it to an RJR cigarettes distributor, who would then release cigarettes to them.

So here is a relatively “simple” example of “layering,” just to give an idea of how it works.

Criminal money was placed into accounts with a company called Mingo Finance Limited, which was registered in the British Virgin Islands. Mingo Finance Ltd had a series of bank accounts in Liechtenstein and Switzerland, in which the criminal money was placed. Mingo Finance used these accounts to transfer the money to Algrado, AG, which was an RJR cigarettes distributor. Algrado would then distribute the cigarettes to the relevant Mafia organization, and transfer the money back to RJR.

Possible Relationship to Football:

Unfortunately, there is no “A-Z” type money laundering case that has ever been prosecuted in football to show us exactly how it works. However, we do have lots of bits and pieces of information that might sound a little… familiar….. after reading the above. I’ll provide some examples of this below, although I must emphasize that I’m not alleging that any money laundering was actually occurring in any of these specific cases.

In the cases that follow the links show the original pages from which we have quoted articles.  You will of course know that Mr Redknapp in particular has had a full trial in the UK and been found not guilty of any crime.  His case is quoted because it is clear that the prosecution saw something of interest and particular significance here even though the jury did not agree at all. 

(From the Independent) “One of Britain’s most high-profile football managers, Harry
Redknapp, flew to Monaco to set up a secret offshore bank account named after his pet dog to receive bungs…

Mr Redknapp…flew to the principality with its tradition of banking secrecy to obscure a money trail.”

(From the Guardian) “Redknapp, 64, had failed to declare the existence of the account for six years even while undergoing a separate inquiry…over a similar payment from his former club, West Ham, over the sale of the player Rio Ferdinand.

When he finally admitted to the Monaco account, after being questioned about his offshore holdings as part of a wider inquiry into financial irregularities in the Premier League, Redknapp had ‘feign[ed] almost complete ignorance of its existence.’

This was despite the fact he had flown to Monaco personally to open the account in 2002, and had named it Rosie 47 after his pet bulldog and the year of his birth…

On the second day of his opening statement, [Prosecutor] Black detailed ‘many and various explanations’…offered…about the payments [which had] been variously characterised as employment income, as a loan, as a gift and in some instances a combination of all or some of them.’”

(From the BBC) “on 13 January 2003, following a fax request from Mr Redknapp, $100,000 moved from “Rosie 47” to a company in Miami called First Star International.”

Example 2: Porto

According to an article by Bloomberg, “European soccer ruling body UEFA is asking U.K. authorities to investigate two so-called letterbox companies that helped Porto (FCP) fund a player transfer.

For Gool Co. and Pearl Design Holding Ltd. provided finance for the two-time European champion to sign Brazilian striker Walter da Silva for 6.2 million euros ($8.1 million) in 2010, according to Porto’s latest quarterly statement…

UEFA officials said this increases the risk of money laundering because it’s unclear who owns the letterbox companies, which have mailing addresses in the U.K. and seemingly nothing else.”

Example 3: FC Barcelona

As reported in the Economist, “Sandro Rosell, who is now the president of Barcelona Football Club…became a director of Ailanto, a sports-marketing firm in Rio de Janeiro set up shortly beforehand…A week before the Brasília match, the government of the Federal District signed a contract to pay Alianto 9m reais ($4m at the time) for the marketing rights and for other loosely defined services…That deal is now being investigated for padding and corruption….Brasília’s police force has searched Ailanto’s premises in Rio de Janeiro, seizing documents.

Alongside these deals run three others whose purposes are not immediately obvious. The Economist has copies of what appear to be the contracts for all three. One dated March 2009 commits Vanessa Precht, a Brazilian who formerly worked at Barcelona FC and who was Mr Rosell’s partner in Ailanto, to leasing a farm in the state of Rio de Janeiro from Mr Teixeira for 10,000 reais a month for five years. Rede Record, a Brazilian television network, visited the farm in June and could find nobody who had heard of Ms Precht.

Two Brazilian congressmen have called for an investigation to establish whether the deal was a way for Ms Precht to return to Mr Teixeira some of the money Ailanto earned from the Brazil-Portugal friendly.

The other two contracts were signed separately in July 2008 by Mr Teixeira and Mr Rosell with Cláudio Honigman, a financier who is a partner of Mr Rosell’s in a different Brazilian sports-marketing company, Brasil 100% Marketing. Mr Honigman undertook to pay each man 22.5m reais to buy back options on 10% of the shares in Alpes Corretora, a São Paulo brokerage, which the contracts state he had previously sold to them.

A spokesman for Alpes Corretora has told The Economist that Mr Honigman never had any interest in any shares in the company. Mr Rosell and Mr Teixeira declined to comment for this article. Mr Honigman’s lawyer says that he has been unable to contact him. Ms Precht did not respond to our request for an interview.”

Example 4: FIFA  

(in the words of three journalists who purportedly refused an invitation to participate in FIFA’s “anti-corruption” efforts. Although, once again, I cannot verify the accuracy of any of their information. I have been able to independently corroborate some, but not all of it. )

This information is directly quoted from the personal website of Jens Weinreich (one of the journalists in question).

“As journalists we have investigated FIFA corruption for many years. We are recognized internationally as experts on the dark world of Joseph Blatter and his associates, inside and outside FIFA.

We have been invited to co-operate with Joseph Blatter’s so-called ‘reform process’ at FIFA.

It is absurd that Blatter, who has benefited from the explosion of corruption during his tenure as FIFA General Secretary and President and who managed the kickback scandals for at least two decades, is controlling this ‘clean-up’ scheme. It is created by Blatter to protect him and those close to him. His pretence of a ‘road map to reform’ is risible…

FIFA’s published accounts are a disgrace, designed to disguise how football’s money is spent – and on whom. KPMG should be replaced by an auditor committed to transparency.

Publication of all confidential management letters from auditors KPMG since 1999… These contain explosive evidence about misuse of FIFA funds and criminal money-laundering through FIFA’s Finance Department…

Investigation of allegations made in Argentina that FIFA finance committee chair Julio Grondona controls offshore accounts, mostly in Switzerland, containing $120 million. There seems no obvious source of this wealth.

Investigation is long overdue into how Chuck Blazer could simultaneously be both Treasurer and General Secretary of CONCACAF – and the secret payment to him of $10 million in recent years as ‘commissions.’ Have his offshore assets come from FIFA funds – including his vintage Mercedes car registered in Zurich in FIFA’s name?

Re-open the investigation into Jack Warner and extend it to embrace every payment of any kind since 1998 to Warner, members of his family, companies owned by him including Simpaul travel agency, the CFU, CONCACAF and the João Havelange Centre of Excellence…”

To conclude, I would like to thank any and all of you who took the time to read this far. I will be more than happy to answer any questions in the comments section.

42 comments to Money laundering and football; some rather interesting examples

  • mjc

    And how does Bebe fit in with all this?

  • Anne

    Extra Credit:

    How the layering process works through an actual Swiss money-laundering “bank”:

    One of the primary Swiss money brokers who laundered money for RJR was the organization created by Alfred Bossert, located in and around Lugano, Switzerland. Mr. Bossert’s primary company, “Intercambi S.A.,” received large cash payments stemming from the criminal activity of various criminal organizations.

    These payments would be received by the Bossert organization in Switzerland, the sums would be counted, and the person to which the funds belonged would be credited with the appropriate amount. The Bossert organization would then, either directly or through a variety of money-laundering “subcontractors” such as “Enrico Rosini” and/or “Gecap S.A.,” change the various currencies (i.e., Italian lira, Spanish pesetas, and others) into U.S. dollars, and would hold those dollars in several accounts created and/or controlled by the Bossert organization or its “subcontractors”.

    On a monthly basis, the Bossert organization would send a “statement” to the various owners of the funds, such as the organization created by Corrado Bianchi, a major RJR customer, indicating the dates and sums received on their behalf from mafia-type criminal organizations. Furthermore, the Bossert organization would receive instructions from its various clients, including Corrado Bianchi, to make payment out of their informal “account” to a variety of destinations, including directly to RJR and other providers of cigarettes.

    For example, these money broker organizations would make payments to a Swiss company called “Maxim SA,” which would then distribute RJR cigarettes to Italian criminal organizations. Similar payments were made to numerous different cigarette distributors, all purportedly located in different countries, all of which were selling RJR cigarettes to the Italian mafia. Examples include:

    Rosacta Co. Ltd., located in Cyprus, through .an account at Helenic Bank Ltd.,also in Cyprus

    Namari Holdings Ltd., located in the Channel Islands, through an account at Harris Bank International Corp in New York, which then transferred the money to Namari through a second account at the Royal Bank of Scotland International PLC, in the channel islands.Account name: “Nama Hold-USD1”.

    Corlett Trading Limited located in Cyprus, through .an account at Anker Bank Genf Postfach in Switzerland

    Old Navy Trading, located in Cyprus, through .an account at Union Bank of Switzerland,

    Icosa A.G., located in Switzerland, through an account at Banque Vanorient in Switzerland.

    Rowill International located in Belgium through an account at KBC Bank, located in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and additional payments were made to a second Rowill account at the KBC Bank located in Antwerp, Belgium

    All of the aforesaid companies ultimately delivered these criminal proceeds to RJR, and RJR cigarettes to the Italian mafia in exchange.

  • Anne

    Extra extra credit:

    Money laundering by the Russian mafia through the legitimate banking system:

    RJR was also involved in money laundering for the Russian mafia, through a financial institution known as “Sinex Bank,” which was incorporated in the country of Nauru. However, according to the EU, this bank was actually created almost exclusively for the purpose of laundering the proceeds of Russian organized crime.

    Just to give you a general idea of exactly how much criminal money the Russian mafia is moving through these networks, between 1996 and 1999, Sinex Bank laundered up to Seven Billion Dollars in criminal proceeds.

    Sinex bank did business in the United States by way of an office maintained in Queens, New York, by Aleksey Volkov, one of its directors. Sinex’s criminal customers initiated bank transfers that were sent to Depozitarno Kliringovy Bank (DKB). Transfers to DKB Bank were cleared through DKB’s accounts at the Bank of New York in Queens. These payments were then sent to accounts at Credit Suisse First Boston in Geneva, Switzerland, which were held by a company owned by RJR. .

    These payments were made to purchase RJR cigarettes, which were ultimately distributed to the Russian mafia. On payment detail forms, Sinex Bank identified itself as the Ordering Customer. However, it’s quite obvious that a Russian bank is not going to be distributing RJR cigarettes. By identifying itself as the “Ordering Customer,” Sinex Bank was concealing the true identity of the entities that were paying for the RJR cigarettes.

  • nicky

    Anne,
    After ploughing awestruck through your post PLUS the additional comments, NEVER will I accuse the fairer sex of not understanding the offside rule in football OR the lbw law in cricket.

  • Anne

    @Nicky:

    Why thank you. Although I must admit, while I fully understand the offside rule in football, I have no idea what the lbw law in cricket is 🙂 Care to enlighten me?

  • nicky

    Anne,
    When I recover from the grovelling position I will attempt to
    explain the lbw law. 😆

  • Anne

    @mjc:

    You wouldn’t have asked me that, I don’t think, if you didn’t already have a theory. I would be interested to hear it.

    Bebe is a 3rd party ownership case, which means that money from signing or transferring him can be easily diverted to pretty much anywhere, creating high vulnerability to money laundering. I don’t know anything specific about him, though. Do you?

  • Anne

    @Nicky:

    Lol. Ok. Just see that you do, because you actually have me curious about it now 🙂

  • Anne

    Not a very good day for Barca, is it?

    “Syrian TV have accused Barcelona of helping rebels smuggle arms to try and overthrow President Bashar al-Assad…They allege that passing patterns during a match with Real Madrid were planned to show rebels where weapons were hidden.”

    http://sportwitness.ning.com/forum/topics/syrian-tv-accuse-messi-and-barcelona-of-helping-arms-smugglers

    So, this is an interesting twist. Does this mean that Barca could actually be laundering blood money for international arms traffickers?

    Oh, no, wait, hang on… I’m thinking of someone else. Someone else who was definitely not mentioned in this article, though.

  • Yommex

    I think this explains why Arsenal would just not be allowed to win the epl again since 2004. All the attacks from the media have been masterminded to get him to resign from Arsenal which he has refused to do. It is now better understood why terms such as stubborn, obstinate, belligerent, to mention a few are used to describe him since he would not succumbed to Arsenal being used as a conduit pipe for these laundering schemes. If things have been allowed to run its course according to these scoundrels, Arsenal would have won the league at least a couple more times since 2004. Added to this is why the media continue to slate a manager that has been consistently performing at such a high level without these big name (?) transfers. I believe part of the money find their ways back to some of these journalists that are in the know with majority of them ignorantly repeating what they have heard from a few of their colleagues benefitting from the scheme.

    Also, a clear understanding why RvP had to be sent off against Barcelona last season since he was bent on derailing the anointed ones’ coronation as European Champions – one of the things Sandro Rosell must have been promised as the new President of the club given his connection with those that matter in the game!

    *I may be wrong on this but I’ll not be surprised if certain web sites providing detailed analyses of matches and rating of players are not in on this scheme as they could be used to provide empirical backings to why some players should be worth certain amounts. I find their ratings questionable as I don’t ever see objectivity in their submissions. Some rubbish players are awarded so high ratings that one will begin to ask if the rating is a reflection of the performance in the same match watched. I don’t know if any Arsenal player has ever been awarded a 10 on this site even when RvP scored 3 and assisted 2 against Blackburn he didn’t score a 10. Why? I think Arsenal players are not lucrative enough to be marketed for as long as Wenger is at the helm of affairs there simply because he’d not play game.

  • Anne

    @Yommex:

    We’re thinking along similar lines, it seems. Arsenal definitely has a lot of money, and in my opinion, someone wants to get their hands on it.

    Your point about player ratings is interesting. Just in general, there seems to be a real disconnect between the skill level of an EPL player and the accolades that player gets from the press. (Rooney anyone?) There must be a reason for that.

    It’s worth noting that one way money is laundered is by overpaying a player, or paying too much for a transfer, and skimming the excess off the top.

  • bjtgooner

    Anne, this is a magnificent article and very informative. The comment you made about FIFA’s accounts was interesting – if I wanted to look up the published accounts of FIFA, UEFA, FA and PGMOL is there a handy link? The PGMOL is particularly interesting – I would like to see what happens to their £6.8m declared income.

  • Mandy dodd

    Fantastic article, very interesting examples, funny how certain names come up, wonder if the England kingmakers agree, I have a hunch they might be at least aware. I cannot see much hope for the game in its present form, it is corrupt right at the top, then there are the lower levels that will feed off this corruption and invent some more of their own. FIFA running football is like the Mafia running the European investment bank for reconstruction and development. Until they become accountable and audited by truly independent bodies, nothing will change,an ambitious ref on £60g pa is easy meat, as we are seeing. The problem is there are many on many levels who have transgressed, once they do that they are owned. An amnesty is a possible way for any body who wanted to confront this, assuming such a body exists, but spilling the beans would put one up against some very worrying organisations. And why do that if you are being paid and promoted.
    The fact is, the game we love is bent. All our team can do is what they did against dean/spurs, and that is not always easy. The game is bent, but not in our favour, which to me increases my respect for our club. We have nothing to do with it, and unfortunately pay the price on a regular basis.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Anne, much food for thought, great article.

  • Gf60

    Very thought provoking. Wasn’t Texeira (Barcelona Case 3)linked with FIFA?

  • Kentetsu

    Teixeira resigned two days ago as board member of FIFA, after stepping down as president of the Brazilian Football Confederation a week before, both allegedly due to corruption allegations.

  • Kentetsu

    Anne, another great article. I’ll have to read it again to digest all the information, but it is very intriguing.

    Considering that anyone can open a bank account anywhere it may not make much of a difference, but would you say that football clubs (or companies in general) that are registered in so-called tax heavens, like the British Virgin Islands, or whose owners are from there – such as Birmingham FC’s Carson Yeung in Hong Kong – are more likely to be involved in money laundering?

  • Kentetsu

    In fact, I think Birmingham City FC and Carson Yeung might be an interesting case study.

    – Birmingham City FC is registered in the Cayman Islands
    – placed under transfer embargo because they failed to submit the financial results of 2010-11 on time (before March 2012)
    – wealthy foreign owner – who started his career as a barber
    – Yeung has been arrested on allegation on money laundering
    – he owns a casino – always helpful for trafficking large amounts of money

  • Laundryender

    @Anne

    You have entered the UA Hall Of Fame.

    Football has always been rotten, I remember my early days in the seventies, as a fan i would go to watch Charlton Athletic on the weeks i could not get to Highbury, or Arsenal were away. The Charlton ground the Valley was the biggest in the country with massive crumbling concrete terracing, http://www.bbc.co.uk/london/content/image_galleries/valley_old_gallery.shtml?4 it was also very easy to “bunk in” which i did on many occasions, often hours before K/O hiding in the filthy toilets until the gates opened.

    You would get used to the size of the crowd, and be able to estimate the size of the crowd based on the gaps in the crowd and the density of the crowd. You could also do this remarkably accurately at Highbury, and even now at the Emirates.

    What was so evident at the Old Valley was how often the size of the crowd bore no resemblance to the figure that was released to the press, for the following days match report. A crowd that looked like 12,000 would be reported as 6,000, and a crowd that looked like 6,000 suddenly was 3,000 in the press. Football was a cash industry in those days, and obviously much of the money was filtered of by the club for dubious payments one way or another. It was in those days seen as legitimate practice, but the tax man started to clamp down on it in the eighties, which funnily enough saw a sudden increase in attendances at some grounds.

    On another subject, last night here in the UK channel 4 news reported on this, http://blogs.channel4.com/alex-thomsons-view/rangers-saga-hide-deeper-corruption-football/964
    Basically it is a confession that Rangers have been corrupt for years and that the SFA are powerless to do anything about it. Just in case you cant access the link here is the text.

    At 86 former Rangers director Hugh Adam may be hard of hearing, but hard of recollection and understanding he most definitely is not.
    Meeting at his house just outside Glasgow for his first TV interview since the current Rangers implosion began, he is precise in what he wants to say. He’s made notes in preparation for our visit.
    After some time on camera it becomes clear Mr Adam wants to go significantly further than in a couple of previous, ground breaking interviews with the Daily Mail.
    He already told that paper that there were, double contracts to pay players under the so-called Employee Benefit Trusts (EBTs) introduced by Sir David Murray who lavishly expanded Rangers on borrowed money until its spectacular collapse and sale for £1.
    Murray flatly denies double contracts, saying there were just discretionary payments.
    But speaking to Channel 4 News Hugh Adam goes further.
    He’s clear that these other payments to players were not declared to the football authorities the Scottish FA (SFA) and Scottish Premier League (SPL): “No I ‘m quite sure they didn’t declare them. I’m quite sure. The SFA isn’t pure in all this you know either. If something was put in front of them they’d have to examine it. It’s not a standard business.”
    The SFA says it followed the rule book and denies wrong doing (blog to follow).
    Now until the SPL inquiry is complete we don’t know whether or not the payments were declared. If they weren’t every player Rangers fielded with out telling the SFA/SPL full details of their money, would be ineligible and Rangers have to forfeit the match 3 – 0 to the other side. A lot of silverware in Govan could end up being moved and re-engraved. But like I say, it is all an if at the moment, assuming the SPL can be trusted competently to investigate itself in effect, over all this.
    Is it cheating, I ask: “It is. It is. But in football it’s standard practice. I mean it’s not serious cheating in that they were not putting money into their own pockets. The point is nobody really knew it was going on. You were a director and that was because you wanted to get a seat in the directors’ box.”
    And he paints a bizarre picture of life at Ibrox across the past fifteen years or more. A club where few – if any – of the directors were, he says, interested in directing Rangers at all. Everyone more or less happy to leave things to Sir David Murray and hop along to Ibrox to enjoy the box and the hospitality and that was really the meaning of being a director at Ranger PLC and that was it, beginning, middle and end. On that Hugh Adam is quite open.
    Of the EBT scheme itself he confirms again there were other payments made to players but nobody knew much and nobody asked.
    All in all it paints a strangely autocratic picture of a football club that was for some time expanding, winning and living the football dream. Sir David Murray came, expanded the business, talked big then crashed and burned
    And all the while everyone just seemed prepared to go along with the dream on borrowed time and a vary large amount of borrowed money.

    Sadly the sport I love, and put much of my hard earned cash into is rotten to the core, and always has been. I do believe our club is a shining beacon above the cess pit, and that Arsene Wenger is a highly moral and principled man. On those grounds alone he is worthy of admiration from not just me but everyone in sport. Sadly by too many he is just seen as an oddball who is up his own arse.

    Keep up the great work Anne, Fucking fantastic!!!!!

  • WalterBroeckx

    What a great article and some great comments. Like someone said in the comments: this is something one has to read a few times before you can digest it. I will read it again a few times in the next days.

    Utterly remarkable article and comments. Thanks folks.

    The UA Hall of Fame… I like that phrase, Laundryender

  • nicky

    @Laundryender,
    I recall watching Arsenal in the 1940’s at the Valley and being impressed at the size of the ground which, unfortunately, dwarfed the attendance. It was though, as you say, the biggest ground in the country. 😆

  • Jitty

    Hi Anne

    You would no doubt love this book
    http://www.amazon.com/Thirty-Pieces-Silver-Anthony-Mollloy/dp/0958371717

    For anyone who doubts whether large scale fraud could exist in a western nation with full complicity of politicians, blue chip advisors and media – this is the book 🙂

    Well respected throughout the Commonwealth, Anthony P Molloy QC is New Zealand’s leading authority on Tax Law. In “Thirty Pieces of Silver”, Molloy examines the events surrounding New Zealand’s infamous “Wine Box” tax frauds of the 1980’s, and in particular he examines the legal ethics of one of New Zealand’s premiere law Firms in setting up, administering, and then covering up the transactions that made up the “Wine Box”.

    Molloy pulls no punches, but instead makes serious allegations, challenging both the reader to understand the scope and nature of often complex transactions, as well as challenging the law Firm to respond. Molloy names names and makes specific accusations — this would have been a very brave book to write, requiring Molloy to be absolutely dead-certain of each of his facts, at peril of finding himself on the wrong end of defamation suits. It is seldom that such books are written.

  • Jitty

    @ Laundryender

    To be honest the deeper corruption at the SFA/Rangers is not even hidden.

    Its the best example yet of how a league is tilted via a corrupt body with complicity of media figures.

    More significant in my view is how the SKY Leagues have simply become product rather than a real sport.

    The product is of course not the football, but the viewing audience that is to be reached. In this , the twin engines of the industry are Media plus Gambling.

    Even United as a business is a tiny enterprise with not even 0.5Bn turnover.

    But once you start thinking about the engaged audience as the ultimate product, then you see how big this business really is.

  • LRV

    Wow! Anne, I bow. Like a few others, I am still gasping for breath after that maraton reading. I need to read again without a doubt. Kudos!

  • bob

    Anne,
    Awe-some — and yikes, too true to be good.
    Very Special Work you do.

  • Laundryender

    @nicky

    you predate me by quite some distance, but the Old Valley was a massive gound certainly, close to our origins and a big Arsenal support in SE London.

    @Jitty

    You are spot on, i just brought attention to the fact that football is and has always been rotten to some degree. what happens nowadays though is off the scale!!!! It is simply “as sad as fuck” that a game we love and are hooked into has become so corrupted.

    @Walter

    You have been in the Hall Of Fame with @Dogface for quite some time.

  • Anne

    @bjtgooner:

    Good luck trying to find those accounts 🙂 If I knew how to link you I don’t know if I would even recommend looking. I only like to link our readers to information sources that I deem reasonably credible 🙂

  • Anne

    @Mandy Dodd:

    Very informative and well thought out as usual. Yes, I agree that, to a certain extent, we’re any a very deep hole of corruption that we may be unable to dig ourselves completely. However, at the same time, as I’ve said before:

    “It’s in the best interests of cockroaches to keep the lights off… It’s a hell of a lot easier to hide.”

  • Anne

    @Gooner gal:

    Thanks.

  • Anne

    @Gf60:

    See Kentetsu’s response below your comment (thanks Kentetsu). The Teixeira case is quite an interesting one, but it was a bit beyond the scope of this particular article. Hopefully we’ll have the chance to look at that case at some point in the future.

  • Anne

    @Kentetsu:

    I’m sure that Yeung’s case is interesting. It’s one that I haven’t had time to research much myself but I think the list of money laundering warning signs that you listed in your second comment is spot on.

    You raise a very interesting question on the subject of club ownership, where clubs are registered in offshore jurisdictions. First, about offshore bank accounts generally. When you’re dealing with an offshore bank account, the one thing that you can be sure of is that the holder of the account is interested in secrecy. There could be any number of reasons for that, money laundering among them, but there are other possibilities as well. But whatever you’re doing, if it’s above board, why hide it?

    I’m very interested in your comment about Carson Yeung, and other owners who are “from” tax havens. Now, in general, while people might bank in a tax haven, they very rarely live there. But one issue that particularly comes up with regard to football clubs that are registered in offshore jurisdictions is the question of:

    Who is the real owner and/or owners of the club?

    Because one of the possible benefits of registering a club in such a locale is that it can provide a certain level of secrecy about who the true owners and investors in the club are. If they’re registered in such a place, they might have reason to keep their identities secret. So, again, if whatever you’re doing is above board, why hide your identity?

    So, with regard to any particular owner who claims to be “from” an offshore tax haven, my first question would be “ok, so who are the real owners?”

  • nicky

    @Laundryender,
    A little piece of Charlton history for you.
    In one of the pre-WW2 issues of (Ithink) Picture Post they ran a story of a new whizzkid who had signed for Charlton Athletic with pictures of his arrival, training, etc. His surname was Lancelot and I often wondered what happenend to the lad. It was just before the War so his football career was halted however good he might have been. 😆

  • Shard

    I’m officially impressed 🙂

    I am still not sure EXACTLY how a money trail disappears but I guess to know that it does is enough, and actually isn’t that difficult depending on who’s keeping the accounts I guess.

    In the Porto example I am surprised that UEFA are that public about money laundering. I would think they would be unwilling to share that information. Maybe they are just indirectly advertising for their own banks which ensure that no action will be initiated against those who use them? 🙂

    FIFA pretend they are their to administer the game rather than act as parasites of it. Don’t get me wrong. I actually think administrators are important. But the powers they enjoy, they are a law (and a currency) all unto themselves. They are registered in Switzerland as well aren’t they? When did that happen actually.. I thought they were born in 1904 in Paris. Not sure about that though.

    Barcelona.. well first the ‘admission of guilt’ and now this. Not what will be called definitive about any criminal activity, but we already know they are morally corrupt, and also somehow financially bankrupt despite their success. Money mismanagement at Barca? Wouldn’t be a surprise now would it.

    But I must say, I have new respect for Harry Redknapp. It’s tougher than it looks and h obviously loves that dog. Go ahead..Try being in his shoes for a day.

    http://www.mousebreaker.com/games/bungabulldog

  • Anne

    @Laundryender:

    “The UA hall of fame.” I like that one. 🙂 Thank you, and glad you enjoyed the article.

    That Rangers case is quite interesting, and is very similar indeed to the Portsmouth case. The question about that would be are the two cases similar because money laundering shares certain commonalities? Or could there be some more direct relationship? For example, could it be possible that the same criminal organization is actually operating through multiple football clubs?

    Also, since your link mentions a Trust, I thought I would provide a bit of background on that. Similar to an offshore bank account, a “Trust” provides a certain level of secrecy for those who would have occasion to need it. Because when money is invested, and business conducted, through a Trust, it’s possible to maintain the secrecy of who controls the Trust, who is investing money in it, and where the money comes from.

    And to repeat myself yet again, if whatever you’re doing is above board, why would you need to keep it secret? So, in that regard, whenever you hear mention of a “Trust,” you should keep in mind that, you don’t know exactly who it might be that is controlling it and putting their money in it. And you should also ask yourself whether this Trust might be linked to any activities that you yourself would like to avoid. Because you wouldn’t have any way of finding out if it was.

    Anyway, point is, always be weary of “Trusts,” and never assume that their stated goals are the actual reason they exist. And I’m including in that statement any Trusts that might be associated with Arsenal or other football clubs.

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    Thanks, glad you liked the article. And don’t worry about not getting it immediately. After all, the process is designed for precisely that purpose 🙂

  • Anne

    @Jitty:

    Thank you for the heads up about that book. It definitely does seem to be right up my alley. Law firms are legally protected against compelled disclosure of information to a certain extent, which means that they’re often used for concealing this and that.

    Although, honestly, I might have to take a look at the book just on the basis of this statement:

    “Despite the weighty subject matter — tax law — Molloy writes with entertaining charm and wit”

    “Tax law” combined with “entertaining charm and wit.” Ok… we’ll see about that 🙂 However, I’ve always enjoyed expanding my horizons,and re-defining the scope of what is and is not possible in this life… 🙂

    Also, very interesting comments about the meaning of the term “product” in the context of Sky. It has me wondering about all of the various ways that this “product” could possibly utilized to someone’s advantage. Although I must say, I don’t understand why any member of the public would want to gamble based on anything they hear on Sky 🙂

  • Anne

    @LRV:

    Thanks. Glad you liked it.

  • Anne

    @bob:

    Always good to see you around here 🙂 And I’m very glad that you liked the article. Thanks.

  • Anne, if you use your pads (inadvertently or otherwise) to prevent the ball from hitting the wicket, you are given “out”. you will probably require an explanation of “pads”, “wicket” and “out” but i must warn you, it’s a downward spiral from there. thanks for an entertaining read. see now why the media has had an agenda?

  • Anne

    @mike:

    Thanks. That’s enough for me to follow 🙂

  • Anne

    @Shard:

    For the most part, nothing to add, which means that you said it all very well, as usual 🙂

    Interesting point about FIFA being registered in Switzerland, though. You know, I had never really thought about it? But yes, that might say a few things about them that are quite interesting, I’m thinking.

  • Mark

    Hello Anne , i have one simple question to ask. We know that , there have been a lot of corruptions cases in football industry . Money laundering in football can happen through various of ways like corrruptions , sponsorships , ownership and many more..

    I am not sure if you have came across the FATF recommendation 2001 and recommendation 2012. FATF produce 2009 Football GAfi report as stated football as a dangerous vehicle to be used as money laundering , however , FATF in 2012 did not cover the sport body as reporting institutions…? Why is that so? don’t you think is quite fishy , they were the one ( FATF) who said football is on danger , but they did not directly solve this issue in 2012 recommendation….what do you think?