Losing their amateur ML status

As someone whose entire lifetime expenditure on sports spectating totals just under £40 (that’s two Olympics tickets – for the athletics, at which I saw Usain Bolt in the far, far distance, and for the Greco-Roman wrestling, at which I saw men in leotards doing things to each other that haunt me still), I am perhaps not best placed to pass balanced judgement on the relationship between sport and money.  However, the announcement this week that the new England replica football shirt will cost a whopping £90 did catch my eye – as did the Daily Mash take on the story (warning: it’s a bit rude).

Of perhaps more relevance to those of us obsessed with AML was this recent article in an Indian money magazine about money laundering in sport.  Coming hot on the heels of the conviction of Birmingham City FC former president Carson Yeung for money laundering, the article points out that the big money sports (cricket, boxing, and of course football) are particularly fertile for laundering, with the huge amounts of money involved, combined with poor financial management, the naïvety of (often very young) players, and the corruption of officials.  (A more fulsome explanation of the football sector’s vulnerabilities is given in a 2009 report from the FATF.)  The recent confirmation of jail sentences for eight Romanian football officials, for tax evasion and money laundering, is the latest in a long line.  My only consolation is that in those leotards, frankly, there was nowhere to hide any money.

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4 Responses to Losing their amateur ML status

  1. Claire says:

    I used to work for Ion Tiriac, former tennis star, former tennis manager of Boris Becker, running a tennis & ski management & competition empire now. I did the accounts of some of the tennis players, and yes there is big money involved. Not only prize money. But also sponsoring, often related to the prizes they win. I am happy to say that Mr Tiriac was not interested in working with my ex. And his sister, Rodica, a wonderful woman!, used to run a children’s charity in Romania (their country of origin). I am sure that you have read about the appalling state of the orphanages in Romania. I have no idea if he really is squeaky clean, and lots of people claim he is not. Of course there is always major jealousy when someone made if from nothing and is very rich. All I know is: he did not want to work with my ex. But perhaps my ex is just an amateur in the business?? I really liked his sister though. Really nice to work with.

  2. As ever, Claire, you’re on the mark: the challenge is telling the good from the bad. The vast majority of PEPs are good, honest public servants, and the vast majority of sports people are honest too (it’s not their fault if they’re good at something rather useless that people are willing to pay a lot to see!). If only there were a foolproof way to tell the Tiriaces from the Yeungs – but then I would be out of a job!
    Best wishes from Susan

  3. Roy McCarthy says:

    Yet our football authorities, with the blessing of government, roll out the red carpet to these villains. Yeung states he made his pile from hairdressing and a few lucky investments. Unfortunately he mislaid the paperwork. Never mind, come on in Mr Yeung! Yet I get my ass kicked if I don’t verify the source of funds of a young couple buying their first property. Grrr!

  4. You and me both, Roy – drives me demented how the continued lapses of FIFA seem to be overlooked. It is always easier to find, catch and punish the small fry, who can’t afford the cleverest (i.e. sneakiest) advice or the most robust (i.e. sneakiest) defence.
    Best wishes from Susan

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