Belgian clubs raided by police amid probe into match-fixing, corruption

Investigators at Club Brugge's stadium as searches were carried out across Europe as part of a larger investigation into tax evasion, money laundering and possible match fixing. Picture: Getty Images
Investigators at Club Brugge's stadium as searches were carried out across Europe as part of a larger investigation into tax evasion, money laundering and possible match fixing. Picture: Getty Images
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A number of Belgium’s top-flight clubs have been raided by police as part of a wide-ranging investigation into corruption, money laundering and match-fixing in Europe.

The federal prosecutor’s office in Brussels has confirmed 57 raids - 44 in Belgium and 13 in France, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia - were carried out.

The raids are part of a federal investigation begun in 2017 into suspicious financial activities in the Jupiler Pro League, Belgium’s top division.

Former Anderlecht general manager Herman van Holsbeeck, Club Brugge boss Ivan Leko and referees Sebastien Delferiere and Bart Vertenten have all been arrested, according to local media.

The federal prosecutor’s office also confirmed the arrest of agents Mogi Bayat and Dejan Vejlkovic.

Club Brugge chairman Bart Verhaeghe told Flemish TV channel VTM Nieuws: “Club Brugge will give full cooperation to the investigation and has nothing to hide.”

Anderlecht have also confirmed they were raided.

A club statement read: “The federal police today carried out a search of RSC Anderlecht. This action is part of a judicial inquiry into the practices of certain players’ agents.

“The club is cooperating fully with the investigation and will make no further comments.”

Standard Liege confirmed they made all requested documents available during a two-hour search of their premises on Wednesday morning.

Lokeren have also said they are co-operating with the investigation after officers spent three-and-a-half hours with the club, but nobody was needed for questioning.

A statement from Oostende said that a swift search of their offices had taken place but no-one from their club was questioned.

“The club is also convinced that no-one is involved in this case at KV Oostende,” it added.

Other Belgian clubs reportedly affected are Genk, Gent, Kortrijk and second division side Mechelen.