Cyprus Mail

Man arrested for Belgian match-fixing appeals extradition

A 52-year-old man, arrested in Cyprus last week as part of a major investigation by Belgian authorities into financial fraud and possible match-fixing, was released on Monday under terms after challenging his extradition to Belgium.

He had been in custody since Wednesday when he was taken to court for his extradition hearing. The man is a national of another European country and a holder of a Cypriot passport who has been living in Cyprus for the past 20 years.

He has filed an appeal over the European arrest warrant issued by Belgian authorities.

He was arrested last Wednesday on suspicion of participating in a criminal organisation and money laundering. The offences are said to have been committed in Belgium, Cyprus and other EU countries between 2012 and 2018.

Police told the court last week that the 52-year-old is a director/accountant in several companies in Cyprus through which the alleged unlawful activities were committed.

The 52-year-old objected to the demand of the legal services to remain under custody until the next court hearing, which has been set for October 31.

He was released after signing a €100,000 bail bond. Court granted his request to be released as the man is a widower and has two children who are minors.

Following his appeal, the court must issue its final ruling on the case within 60 days of his arrest. In special circumstances the 60-day period may be extended by another 30 days at most.

The suspect is said to have had a long association with another person who is “indirectly implicated” with these companies. This person allegedly helped the 52-year-old draw up fake contracts and invoices in the name of a specific company with the purpose of laundering monies obtained through illicit activities.

The 52-year-old is said to have received payment on a commission basis for services rendered to the other person.

The search and arrest were part of investigations launched in Belgium in connection with forgery and circulation of documents, tax evasion and money laundering.

Belgian prosecutors said the searches were related to an investigation launched at the end of 2017 into suspect financial transactions in the top Belgian football league, with possible charges of criminal organisation, money laundering and corruption.

Some agents were suspected of hiding commissions on transfers, players’ pay and other payments from the Belgian authorities, the prosecutors said.


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