July 28, 2010

Dinamo Zagreb under investigation for match fixing

Croatian Minister of the Interior Tomislav Karamarko on Monday confirmed that the Croatian police were continuing cooperation with their German colleagues in an investigation into the rigging of First Croatian Football Division matches, declining to comment on media reports that Zoran Mamic, sports director of the soccer club Dinamo Zagreb, was under investigation.

"The operation Offside is still in progress and it would not be good to give any comments or prejudge anything. We are cooperating with our German colleagues in the case," Karamarko told reporters.

The media have reported that German prosecutors suspect Mamic of fixing the national cup's first final match between Dinamo and Hajduk last year. The Sportske Novosti paper on Sunday reported that German prosecutors have evidence that Mamic, referees and the-so called betting mob had fixed last year's first final cup match in which Dinamo beat Hajduk 3:0. The report was carried on Monday by almost all domestic media.

Ante Sapina, a Croatian living in Germany, has been linked with this case. Sapina has been involved in several scandals regarding match fixing and he reportedly earned 1.4 million euros on the Dinamo-Hajduk match. The German state prosecutor's office in Bochum, which is investigating match-fixing scandals, today would not either confirm or deny reports in the Croatian media, and the Croatian anti-corruption agency USKOK would not comment either.

Dinamo issued a statement today condemning in the strongest terms illegal betting and match fixing, describing media reports implicating Mamic as dangerous and destructive.

Based on data provided by the German police, the Croatian police last year launched an operation called Offside, arresting 22 sport workers and footballers for fixing matches for personal gain. Three of the alleged organisers of the scam remain in custody.

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