A former professional footballer and former semi-professional footballer suspected of trying to manipulate the scorelines of football matches have been found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery.
The jury at Birmingham Crown Court found that Delroy Facey, 35, and Moses Swaibu, 25, had attempted to corrupt lower league players to influence the outcome of matches, enabling betting on the fixed outcomes. They were given prison sentences of two and a half years, and 16 months, respectively.
This is the second trial linked to the same conspiracy. In June 2014, Chann Sankaran, Krishna Ganeshan, and Michael Boateng were convicted, but the jury at the time was unable to reach a verdict on Moses Swaibu, who then faced a retrial.
Andy Young, specialist prosecutor in the Crown Prosecution Service Organised Crime Division, said: “Delroy Facey acted as the middleman in this conspiracy, sourcing players who would be willing to fix matches. When he played professional football, he earned good money, being paid over £65,000 in 2010/11. But by the time of his arrest, he was no longer playing professionally and was earning considerably less.
“The jury heard how recordings made by an officer from the National Crime Agency captured Michael Boateng conspiring to give away a penalty to Moses Swaibu, a conversation facilitated by Facey on behalf of the professional fixer Krishna Ganeshan. Swaibu also advises Facey on how to approach fixing, including bribing referees, and on one occasion suggests that a match could be lost by two or three goals. These and other recordings provided vital evidence which showed the men had a settled intent to make an agreement about engineering the results of matches, in return for money, a reality.”
The NCA investigation into the men’s activities began when the Daily Telegraph presented the agency with evidence from its own undercover investigation. From 21 November 2013, the NCA deployed surveillance teams to watch and listen to the men, and found Facey and Swaibu in regular contact with each other and with Sankaran, Ganeshan and Boateng.
Their meetings, conversations and messages built up a picture of a concerted effort over seven days to engage and corrupt footballers to influence the scoreline of matches, and pass information to a wider overseas network to make money by betting on the outcomes, although they failed in their plot to fix a match between AFC Wimbledon and Dagenham & Redbridge on 26 November 2013.
NCA lead officer Adrian Hansford said: “The NCA is in no doubt that this was the beginning of a concerted attempt to build a network of corrupt players in the UK. That network included Facey, who acted as a conduit for potential targets, and Swaibu, who was recruited to expand the network further. They deliberately targeted lower leagues believing that because players earn less they could be more susceptible to taking a bribe.
“The NCA had a vital opportunity here to intervene early and secure the evidence to get convictions before any of their plans could succeed. This is corruption and bribery linked to serious organised crime, and the NCA is determined to stop criminals benefiting from it.”
Gambling Commission Director of Regulation Nick Tofiluk said: “We welcome the work of the NCA and we continue to work in partnership with law enforcement agencies, sport and betting operators to ensure that match fixers, whatever the sport, are identified and dealt with.”
The NCA has been supported in its investigation by the Crown Prosecution Service, the Gambling Commission, the Football Association, The Daily Telegraph, the Football Conference and Sporting Index.
— NationalCrimeAgency (@NCA_UK) April 29, 2015