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Everton versus Arsenal: midweek preview

By Phil Gregory

Arsenal are off to Goodison Park for our midweek game, after a weekend devoid of Gooner-related activity. This probably went in our favour despite our excellent recent run of performances, with tired legs benefitting from a bit of an extra breather, those carrying knocks better rested and the chance for some of our injured players to get back in contention for the match day squad.

Indeed, Everton were in action at the weekend perhaps giving us a slight edge in that regard. We’re not talking about terrible fixture congestion here for the Toffees, with a rest from Saturday to Wednesday perfectly reasonable, but it can’t hurt Arsenal’s chances going into the game.

In regards to injuries, the squad is slowly edging back to health. Santos was on the bench recently and Wenger has confirmed he is fully fit and ready to play, while Diaby made a return for the reserves versus Liverpool. Wilshere seems to be fit with the question mark remaining over when he will return to match fitness: given the length of his absence to date, it could be some time. Long term absentees Mertesacker and Frimpong remain out, however young midfielder Francis Coquelin should be back in the near term.

Szcznesy

Sagna Koscielny Vermaelen Gibbs

Song Arteta

Rosicky

Walcott Van Persie Chamberlain

Don’t change it if it isn’t broken and, with the way recent results have been, the Arsenal first eleven is certainly not broken. With a nice breather between this game and the last, I can see no reason why any member of the previous eleven wouldn’t keep their place for what is likely to be a tricky tie up at Goodison Park.

Everton don’t have too many men injured, with the biggest losses being wide player Coleman and the defensively minded Jack Rodwell. Everton’s height and aerial ability in midfield could cause us problems in contesting the long balls, with the likes of Fellaini and Cahill likely to dominate Arteta and Rosicky in the air. As ever with Arsenal, the best course of action will be to keep it on the ground and play it out from the back: Everton may look to press from the front to tempt us into the long ball however. Arsenal will need to be at their fluent best to play around any such pressure, though I’d certainly back the likes of Arteta, Song and Rosicky to deal with such an approach.

Mikel Arteta’s first return to Goodison will be interesting, given his lengthy service there. The slightly last minute nature of his departure may not have pleased Everton fans, but I imagine that largely came down to Arsenal’s late approach than any inconsiderately timed desire to leave on the part of Mikel. Hopefully Arteta gets a reception his lengthy and committed service to Everton deserves but if not, the best way to silence fans is with a performance!

Clearly then this game is a tough one, everybody knows Everton are a solid, committed side. It wouldn’t be the end of the world if we drew here as it is a fairly tough fixture, but a win would do fantastic things for our chances of overhauling Spurs. Any dropped points could be made up in the remaining games, but allowing Spurs to extend the lead between us once again – assuming they win their game at home versus Stoke – would take off some of the pressure that has been building on them.

I’m going to go for a narrow 1-0 to the Arsenal. Hopefully we score early and it’s not too nail-biting: I can’t get to a screen for this one as I’ll be travelling back from London so I don’t fancy an evening of anxious live text refreshing! Enjoy the game Gooners.


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.

Arsenal is being screwed by the referees. The evidence from 3 different sources

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Our thoughts are of course with Fabrice Muamba.

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By Walter Broeckx

This article is a follow up of the article about the wrong calls going against WBA and QPR.  The aim is to reveal a few things about the wrong calls and about other websites that also are working around the things we have do over here.

As far as I know there are 3 websites that are keeping an eye on refs.  We are doing our ref reviews here at Untold. Then there is the debatable decision website. And then there is another blog called football is fixed.

First I will try to tell a bit about the websites.   On Untold Arsenal we review the whole games from the first till the last minute. We look at each decision a ref makes and also look at the decisions a ref had to make but didn’t make. And we do this all over the field. We put all this in our reviews that you can see almost every day of the week.  Indeed shortly after this article is published we will release a couple more such reviews.

And I should add we focus on each call/non call all over the field because as a ref myself I know that you can tilt a game by calling or not calling some fouls across the field of play.    Because of not having enough ref reviewers we focus on the top teams in the EPL.  (If we had more on our team we would of course publish more reviews).

The Debatable Decision website only looks at the big and important calls. They use MOTD reports and take a look at the major moments. Now I do appreciate what they are doing but if I may be critical about them I would say they are working in a not completely correct way.

A big difference is for example that Untold Arsenal looks at the “incident” and our conclusion can be: the call was correct or not correct. If it was difficult for the ref to see then that is something we can use in our comment and excuse the ref for his mistake but we will not use it as an excuse to mark a wrong call as correct. I have seen on the Debatable Decision website where they have called the Blackburn offside goal as a correct decision because: ‘it was difficult to see’. Difficult or not: it was a wrong decision and had to be called like that.

The Football is Fixed blog is something completely different. But if you want to read about strange things in football this is a great place to take a look every now and then and you will see some strange very strange flukes on this site.

The debatable decision website has a league table where you can see a table with the influence on the points from all the wrong calls. I hope they don’t mind but I will copy it over here in this article

Decisions Table

Team Played For Against Total
1 Stoke 27 21 6 15
2 Bolton 27 13 3 10
3 QPR 27 9 4 5
4 Fulham 27 6 2 4
5 Sunderland 27 10 8 2
6 Wolves 27 10 8 2
7 A. Villa 27 5 3 2
8 Norwich 27 10 10 0
9 Newcastle 27 9 9 0
10 Blackburn 27 6 6 0
11 Swansea 27 5 6 -1
12 Wigan 27 5 7 -2
13 Tottenham 27 10 13 -3
14 Liverpool 26 8 12 -4
15 Chelsea 27 7 11 -4
16 Man City 27 5 9 -4
17 Man Utd 27 5 10 -5
18 Everton 26 4 9 -5
19 WBA 27 8 14 -6
20 Arsenal 27 5 14 -9

In this table being on number one is meaning that you are having a lot of big calls going in your favour. Being in position 20, oh look it is Arsenal, is meaning that you have things going against you.  And this based on the important decisions.

Now I will add our own wrong calls league table and this is based on percentages on decisions going against you all over the field. So there could be some differences but also some patterns you could see when comparing both tables.

Team Games Wrong Average/match %
1 Mu 20 83 4 30,59
2 Sto 7 35 5 32,5
3 Swa 4 9 2 37,95
4 QPR 4 22 6 38,82
5 Bol 7 30 4 40,25
6 Sun 7 30 4 41,8
7 AVI 4 17 4 42,85
8 MC 21 106 5 44,4
9 Liv 16 76 5 45,67
10 Tot 12 69 6 46,2
11 New 7 44 6 46,61
12 Nor 8 33 4 48,01
13 Ful 8 49 6 49,07
14 Che 23 148 6 51,05
15 Bla 7 32 5 51,56
16 Wig 5 20 4 57,6
17 Eve 7 52 7 60,04
18 Wol 4 27 7 61,34
19 WBA 4 28 7 69,2
20 Ars 28 317 11 77,98

So this is our table based on the games we have reviewed so far this season.  And again being in first place is meaning that the refs make few mistakes against you and oh look it is Manchester United who seem to be the favourite flavour of the refs. And oh well in last place we have again Arsenal meaning for some reason the refs don’t like us that much.

Now the big difference is of course that in the first table they have only looked at important wrong calls and in the second table we have counted all wrong calls. So you will see sometimes a difference in the league table. Manchester United is having some problems with important calls so far (Stoke and Newcastle come to mind) but for the rest the refs are very well for them. And a game is often won in the midfield battle and in this area United is getting the benefit of the calls.

Arsenal is just on the wrong end of wrong calls be they important or not. Just as WBA is for some reason. And Everton is also receiving a lot of wrong calls. It will be interesting to see how our game develops this time.

A very interesting article about this also appeared on the football is fixed blog and if you take a look at those numbers you see that they come almost to the same conclusion as Untold Arsenal (oh you know a biased Arsenal blog) but also the not Arsenal related website the debatable decision comes to almost the same conclusion.

So as far as I know there are 3 blogs/websites who are taking a look at the refs and their decisions. And all 3 of them come to the conclusion that Arsenal is the most screwed team in the EPL.

Dear Mr. Riley, as you are so keen on pointing out that +93% of the decisions are correct how come that 3 websites (of whom 2 are not related to Arsenal) come to the conclusion that the refs from the PGMOL cost us points and show a bias against Arsenal?

Explain this Mr. Riley if you can.

 

Below I added a graphic of the wrong calls against the teams. The higher the number the worse things are for the teams in question.

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Other recent articles on corruption and refereeing…

Why does West Bromwich Albion, like Arsenal, get so many wrong calls?

PGMOL – the referees’ association: a secret body in breach of its own terms of reference

Untold Ref Review: Man U 2 WBA 0

The ref’s decision not to give a foul was so ludicrous that even the Newcastle players stopped the game.   Arsenal v Newcastle – the ref review

Barca Vice President reveals the scandal of Barca’s match fixing activities

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