Betting bribes offenders receive suspended sentences and are ordered to pay compensation
Vantaa District Court has passed suspended sentences on both of the accused in the so-called betting bribes scandal. The court recognised all the items on the list of charges.
Pertti "Speedy" Nissinen, the former coach of the Warkaus JK football club, was given a 13-month suspended sentence for aggravated fraud and two counts of bribery in business operations. His partner in crime, a 39-year-old heavy better from the western city of Pori, received a month shorter sentence for aggravated fraud and one count of bribery in business operations.
The men were ordered to pay just under EUR 150,000 in compensation to the Finnish state-owned lottery monopoly Veikkaus. The company had requested EUR 209,000 in damages, but the court decided to deduct the men’s original betting stake from the sum. Otherwise, Veikkaus would benefit from the crime, the court reasoned.
Both of the convicted men have denied the allegations.
Nissinen’s lawyer Heikki Salo thought already on Thursday that it was clear that the case would next be taken to the Helsinki Court of Appeal. “Every one of the District Court’s conclusions have valid counter arguments”, Salo explained.
Vantaa District Court felt that the duo’s activities in connection with the JJK vs. Warkaus JK football match on June 6th, 2004 met the criteria for aggravated fraud. According to the court decision, the men sought to fix the result of the game in such a way that Warkaus would lose. The men then placed bets on the outcome of the match.
The men bet EUR 63,000 on Warkaus losing the game. Veikkaus paid the duo just under EUR 209,000 in winnings.
The played bets were so-called “trebles”, where the outcome of three games was to be bet on. To claim a win, all three results had to be guessed correctly.
Nissinen told the court that he had placed the bets through the Pori man, but denied having ever bet against his own team.
The Pori man said he had bet against Warkaus against Nissinen’s wishes. The court failed to believe the men’s explanation. In its view the men had plotted together.
According to the court, the men assured Warkaus’s defeat by Nissinen having the team’s reserve goalkeeper take to the field instead of the team’s number one goalie.
The bribery crimes related to cases, where the men attempted to cause three teams to lose a game through bribes. The coach of Jaro of Pietarsaari and the goalies of Rakuunat of Lappeenranta and FC Honka were all offered money between 2003 and 2005. All three refused the bribe.
The Rakuunat game was in the same “treble bet” with the JJK-Warkaus match.
The court considered the bribery attempts particularly reprehensible as they weaken the public’s trust in the honesty of sports and the betting industry. The fact that Nissinen is a coach adds to the seriousness of his offence, the court concluded.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Finnish Football League to probe new match-fixing claims (13.12.2005)
Prosecution demanding prison sentences in betting bribes case (12.12.2007)
Former Atlantis FC goalkeeper given suspended sentence for taking a bribe (19.12.2007)
Football manager Olivier Suray admits Finnish match fixing (17.3.2006)