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Thursday, May 04, 2006

QPR one of (Many) Clubs Visited by "Bung-Busters" Investigators

Bung-busters quest only lasts 15 minutesBy Mihir Bose (Filed: 04/05/2006)
Premier League bung-busters headed by Dick Andrews, the chief executive of Quest, and managing director Nigel Layton spent only 15 minutes at each of the eight London clubs in preliminary visits this week.
This visit by Quest - the firm whose chairman, Lord Stevens, is the former head of the Metropolitan Police - included the six clubs in the Premiership along with Crystal Palace and QPR, who were involved in transfers being examined by the investigators.
I understand that the bung investigators had six questions similar to: 'Did you ever pay a bung? Do you know of a bung being paid in a transfer?'
Inevitably, the clubs all replied, no. The team have since visited the Midlands and next week move on to clubs in the North-West headed by Manchester United. But the investigators emphasised that they would be back to look at the books and examine the transfers.
However, I understand they have found more encouraging material in Paris. Two weeks ago they met a former French army officer who runs a company dedicated to flushing out agents who receive bungs and use transfers to launder money internationally.
Francois Raud is the general manager of Certification Network, a company set up in October, 2002, at the request of Phillippe Piat, president of Fipro, the international players' union. The company are funded by the Bolton player Bruno N'Gotty and their aim is not merely transfers but what Raud calls the growing "slave trade" of young African players being brought to Europe.
Raud told me Fifa's system of controlling transfers is not working. "What we need is European legislation which will allow us to look into the bank account of an agent who may be registered in Monaco," he said. "Having received one million euros for a player transferred from an English club, two days later he takes out 400,000 euros and sends it to a bank in the Cayman Islands.
"At the moment we do not know who that second payment is for. But if we had a proper certification process controlled by the Ministry of Finance then you would be able to use special investigating officers that the ministry has in France to force him to reveal who he sent the money to. We are working to push politicians to create such a system but it needs to be done Europe-wide.
"Fifa is not strong enough. We need certification of the payments made as part of the transfer and players' agents must be certified when making a transfer.
"In South America we have a form of modern slavery where a person owns part of the player and this, our investigations show, has led to many abuses."
When Quest return to the clubs to look at individual transfers they are likely to be armed with the leads that Raud has provided.

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