Fixing the Match Fixers


Jun Lu, a Chinese soccer coach pictured here at the 2002 World Cup finals soccer match, was snared in a massive bribery scandal. / REUTERS
A Chinese crackdown on fixed soccer games and associated corruption has now resulted in 39 people being sentenced by a Chinese court – including two high-ranking soccer officials who received stiff prison terms Saturday.

Yang Yimin, who had been deputy chief of the country’s soccer association, got a 10-year sentence for taking about $200,000 in bribes, according to the state-run Xinhua News Agency. The former head of the association’s referee committee, Zhang Jianqiang, got 12 years – he was convicted of taking more than $400,000 in bribes. Numerous coaches and other soccer officials were also sentenced.

According to Xinhua, Zhang took bribes from “eight clubs and two local football administrative centers,” and in one case took a $111,000 bribe (which he split with another official) to fix a crucial 2003 league championship game.

China’s professional football leagues “have been plagued with allegations of gambling, match-fixing and corruption for years,” Xinhua reports. “In order to clean up the game, a nationwide crackdown on gambling and match-fixing was launched by the government in 2009.”

Sweep to Former CFA vice-chief Yang Yimin jailed 10.5 years for bribery 

Sol Luis Fontanez has presided as mayor of Puerto Rico’s town of Barceloneta for more than 20 years. But last week he had what could be called a difficult lunch break – it ended with his arrest on corruption charges tied to a land deal.

Fontanez is alleged to have demanded nearly $200,000 in bribes from developers seeking to purchase two city-owned properties. He wound up receiving at least $55,000 in cash, but the FBI was listening in when the bribes went down, some of them in Fontanez’s own office.

The former mayor of the U.S. territory now sits in jail, as a judge denied him bail after he was caught – again on tape – making phone calls threatening potential witnesses against him.

Sweep to U.S. officials arrest longtime mayor of Puerto Rico coastal town

In a blow to federal prosecutors involved in a huge corruption case in New Jersey, a federal judge has dismissed all charges against a former state lawmaker.

Former state assemblyman and Jersey City mayoral candidate Louis Manzo was arrested in 2009 after allegedly accepting close to $30,000 in bribe money from an FBI informant. The original case was thrown out when an appeals court ruled that Manzo was improperly charged.

So the U.S. government tried again – as the Associated Press reports, they “brought new charges against Manzo, including two counts of violating the federal Travel Act by meeting on Staten Island with an undercover informant who posed as a corrupt developer and one count of not reporting federal offenses committed by others in the alleged scheme.”

Manzo argued, however, that the new charges shouldn’t be allowed to stand either. The federal judge hearing the case has now agreed – dismissing all charges. The overall corruption probe in New Jersey has seen more than 40 people prosecuted in what amounts to one of the state’s largest corruption cases ever.

Sweep to Charges dropped in NJ corruption case

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo

Diana Jean Schemo is president and executive editor of 100Reporters, and the founder and co-director of the Double Exposure Film Festival and Symposium, the United States' only investigative film festival.