Police in Catanzaro are in the process of identifying a Maltese person who was allegedly approached to fork out €40,000 in order to finance a match-fixing operation in Italy last April.
According to information obtained by Times of Malta, the latest update on the Dirty Soccer probe reveals that an Italian national, who is well-known in local football circles after working for a few Maltese clubs in the past, asked a Maltese contact to give him €40,000 so that he could rig the Lega Pro match between Vigor Lamezia and Casertana, played on April 25 this year.
At the time, the Italian suspect had a close association with Vigor Lamezia.
Reports in Italy claim that the fixers wanted to rig the game in favour of Casertana, who were playing away from home.
Casertana won 2-1.
It is being alleged that several bets were placed on the fixed result.
The Maltese citizen has not yet been named but according to the reports, the investigators are engaged in efforts to identify the suspect.
The Italian man at the heart of the plot to manipulate the Lamezia-Casertana match was among 50 people implicated in the Dirty Soccer scandal which came to light in May after police in the Calabrian city of Catanzaro exposed a massive scam whereby matches from the lower echelons of Italian football (Lega Pro) were fixed for betting purposes.
Two Maltese brothers with close ties to two local clubs were also on the original list of suspects issued by the police in Catanzaro two months ago.
Those under the investigators’ spotlight include club presidents, players, coaches, officials and financiers.
The Vigor Lamezia-Casertana clash is one of four newly-flagged matches, played last season, the Catanzaro police believe were targeted by match-fixers embroiled in the Dirty Soccer scandal.
The other games are Martina-Paganese (2-0, played on December 20) Pistoiese-L’Aquila (April 12 – 3-1) and Salernitana-Barletta (April 25 – 3-1).
A few days after the Dirty Soccer scandal emerged, the Malta FA said in a statement that they had made contact with the Italian football federation (FIGC) who replied that the inquest documents were being held by the Catanzaro prosecutors.
Local football’s governing body submitted an official request to the Catanzaro prosecutor’s office, declaring that they have jurisdiction over some persons involved in the inquiry “who, in this case, may cause repercussions for Maltese football”, the MFA had said.
The MFA asked to be sent the relevant documents so that they can initiate their own investigation into the case. Sources have told Times of Malta that the MFA have remained in touch with the FIGC but have yet to receive the inquiry dossier from the Catanzaro prosecutors.
Meanwhile, the MFA have advised their international betting-monitoring partners to keep a close watch on the pre-season tournaments being played here.
This was done as a precautionary measure as, in the past, certain pre-season games played locally produced strange results.
The request to scrutinise the betting patterns on pre-season games was made by the MFA’s Integrity Office.