Police raid Club Brugge and Anderlecht as part of wider match-fixing and money laundering investigation

Premises of Belgian first division clubs Anderlecht and Club Brugge have been raided.  In all 44 premises linked to football have been targeted. Federal prosecutors earlier detained football agent Mogi Bayat.

VRT understands that the raids form part of an investigation  into money laundering and match fixing. The investigation started in 2017.  It's believed that matches in the Jupiler Pro League in the season 2017-18 may have been fixed.  In addition there are suspicions of money-laundering involving suspect financial transactions.  Investigators are looking at payments and commissions paid by football agents to players and coaches that remained undeclared.

Federal prosecutors are co-ordinating the investigation that extends abroad.  In Belgium 184 officers were involved in today's operation.  Abroad their number was 36.

Club Brugge coach Ivan Leko has also been detained for questioning. A lawyer representing Club Brugge insisted that the club itself wasn't involved in the investigation.  Nobody from the club has been questioned.  Police simply came to collect certain documents.

Police also visited football clubs Standard de Liège, Racing Genk, Lokeren, KV Mechelen, KV Oostende and Kortrijk.

Mogi Bayat is seen as the country's most powerful football agent.  He enjoys both French and Iranian nationality.  He has arranged transfers for all the leading Belgian clubs including Anderlecht, Club Brugge, AA Gent and Racing Genk. Fellow football agent Dejan Veljkovic has also been detained.

A football agent is a person who, for a fee, procures and negotiates employment and endorsement deals for their player. In return, football agents receive a commission that is usually five percent of the contract, although this figure varies between various agents.

Ex Anderlecht manager Herman Van Holsbeeck is among those detained for questioning too.  Several referees are under investigation too. Leading Belgian referees including Bart Vertenten and Sébastien Delferière are being questioned.

Belgian justice minister Koen Geens has responded to the raids saying that match-fixing undermines the integrity of sport. Similar police operations have been staged across the continent of Europe. Thirteen premises have been searched abroad.

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