Match-fixers target of expanded INTERPOL global task force
Failure to exchange police information rapidly across borders leaves international playing field open to crime
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble has warned that unless police are permitted by laws and judicial authorities to share information in real time, the global fight against match-fixing will not be won.
The Head of INTERPOL said that police and prosecutors must be given the legal framework to share information with a global impact in the midst of active investigations, underlining how the ‘days of thinking only about the secrecy of the investigation within each individual jurisdiction are over’.
Addressing the INTERPOL international conference ‘Match-fixing: the ugly side of the beautiful game’ in Malaysia, Mr Noble said that while there is much to be proud of in the infrastructure which has been built and the initiatives taken, outdated laws and practices have left law enforcement ‘falling behind’ the criminals.
“It is not that law enforcement agencies lack the technology. It is that collectively we lack the culture and legal power to take advantage of these advances. Unfortunately, criminals are exploiting the speed and flexibility advantages that 21st century technology and betting schemes offer,” said Secretary General Noble.
“Law enforcement agencies can no longer limit themselves to investigating crimes committed long ago in one jurisdiction. Real-time sharing of information globally will keep evidence from disappearing and suspects from fleeing , and allow other jurisdictions to prevent crimes from occurring.
“If investigators were able to access the leads, details of suspects’ identities and locations of suspicious matches when that information is fresh, this would enable numerous countries to bring cases against criminals, making it harder for them to operate freely as they could face prosecution in multiple countries simultaneously,” said the INTERPOL Chief.
Secretary General Noble pointed to Operation VETO where all of the new cases occurred outside of the European Union, but where current laws and agreements had prevented the rapid sharing across borders of evidence of criminal conduct.
To better support each of its 190 member countries in their efforts, Mr Noble announced that INTERPOL would be expanding the mandate of its international match-fixing task force, and that Singapore had already identified officers to come to INTERPOL’s headquarters once investigative details were made available.
“Law enforcement authorities around the world need this information and are ready for it. I know from experience that once the authorities in Singapore receive credible evidence of criminal conduct in their country, from a citizen or foreigner, Singapore's police will react swiftly to locate and apprehend the offender so that the rule of law can run its course ,” said Mr Noble.
“As a first step, we need to get the evidence of alleged match-fixing by a transnational organized crime group based in Singapore to Singaporean police and law enforcement around the world so they can thoroughly investigate and act on this information as appropriate,” concluded the INTERPOL Chief.