Judicial closure of the ‘Oikos case’, the largest investigation into corruption in football | Soccer | Sports

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No sports corruption, no criminal organization, no money laundering or swindling of betting houses. The head of the Court of First Instance and Instruction 5 of Huesca, Alicia Bustillo, has issued an order by which she agrees to the provisional dismissal and filing of the summary of the Oikos case, which when it was uncovered, in May 2019, was considered the largest case of corruption in football. On the verge of marking five years since the first arrests, including that of former players Raúl Bravo and Carlos Aranda, whom police reports indicated as alleged ringleaders of the plot, the magistrate concludes in her judicial resolution, dated last Monday which EL PAÍS has had access to, that “there is no sufficient evidence” that in the five matches investigated, including two in the First Division – those between Real Valladolid-Valencia and Getafe-Villarreal on the last day of the 2018-2019 season ― no type of rigging would have occurred. The judge’s decision, which has had the support of the Prosecutor’s Office, is not final and can still be appealed.

The judge’s decision to shelve the investigation of the Oikos case It was foreseeable after throughout the investigation he had closed some of the lines of investigation due to lack of evidence and had lifted charges against several investigators. The decision has also been preceded by a recent letter from the Prosecutor’s Office that stated that the investigations had produced only “conjectures, hypotheses and convincing reasoning but which, it is insisted, do not prove the commission of the crime of sports corruption.” The first investigating judge in the case, Ángel de Pedro, already acknowledged in a ruling from November 2022, shortly before his transfer, about the extraordinary difficulty that the prosecution of corruption in sport entails, even when everything indicates that existed.

In her judicial resolution last Monday, the judge supports the approach of the Prosecutor’s Office and applies it in the five matches that were investigated – in addition to the two in the First Division, another two in the Second and one in the Third -, in addition to emphasizing that, as the Supreme Court already established in its ruling on the Osasuna case, bonuses to third parties for winning are not criminal. The judge recalls that the investigation began around an alleged criminal organization led by Aranda and Bravo in which several players from different categories participated at lower levels (including Íñigo López) and in which several directors of the organization had allegedly been corrupted. SD Huesca. According to police reports, the objective of this alleged plot was the “fixing of football matches to obtain an illicit benefit through sports betting on those previously agreed results.”

However, the judge points out that in none of the five parties has evidence of the existence of this plot or of any of the crimes attributed to it been finally found, for which she carries out a game-by-game analysis of the results of the investigations. Thus, regarding the Sariñena-Cariñena match, of the Aragonese Third Division held on April 13, 2017, she points out that “it is not proven” that there were payments to the first team players for losing.

The magistrate points out that the conversations intercepted in some of those investigated about alleged payments and debts for the result – in the end Sariñena won the match 1-0 – could “derive from any other activity that has not materialized throughout the investigation.” ”. “It is evident that, regardless of whether a debt is discussed in the conversations, it cannot be attributed to match-fixing by the perpetrator, much less to a payment for losing, which is the punishable act,” the resolution highlights.

In the case of the SD Huesca-Nàstic de Tarragona match, played on May 27, 2018 and on which there were numerous bets on the victory of the Catalan team (which finally happened, with a 0-1) that raised suspicions that gave rise to the beginning of the investigation, the magistrate points out that “it has not been possible to establish that, in fact, there was a bonus for losing to receive, obviously, for the losing team, an essential element to be able to maintain the procedure for these events.” The order indicates that what possibly existed between the players of both teams was “a gentlemen’s agreement, common in football in the sense that, if one does not play anything (which was the case of Huesca) and the other does ( the Nàstic) the intensity of the game is lowered in a sort of ‘today for you, tomorrow for me’.

Regarding the Real Valladolid-Valencia match, in which it was investigated whether the alleged plot had tried to buy several first team players so that they would be lost, the judge highlights that, as the Police themselves recognized in their reports, “the defeat of Valladolid “It was predictable, given that nothing was at stake while Valencia was fighting for a place in another competition.” Regarding the telephone conversations intercepted by the agents, in which they supposedly talked about deliveries of money to third parties, the magistrate adds that it has not been proven that these referred to payments to players of the Castilian team “which could derive from any other activity, It was even reasonable that it was for sports betting” which, in addition, points out that in the end they were losers. The order recalls that already in September 2020 it was agreed to file the case for the then second captain of Valladolid, Borja Fernández, “in the absence of sufficient evidence of criminality.”

Regarding Getafe-Villareal, also on May 18, 2019 and which ended in a 2-2 draw, the judicial resolution recalls that it was a transcript of a conversation found on Bravo’s cell phone with a third person that led to his inclusion in the investigation. . These messages spoke of the alleged intention to offer 10,000 euros to each player on the Madrid team for winning after commenting that someone had allegedly offered a significant amount to seven footballers from the Castellón club.

The judge points out that the combined bet made by another of those investigated, Aranda, on this match and the Valladolid-Valencia match was a loser, since the Madrid team did not lose, which is why she considers “that there is not enough evidence that there was a action tending to pay for altering the result of the match and, if that were the case, it would have been for winning”, so there would have been no crime, in application of the Supreme Court’s doctrine on bonuses to third parties.

Finally, the order refers to the Reus CD-Real Valladolid played on June 4, 2017, and which ended with a 2-0 victory in favor of the Catalan team. In this case, the alleged payment of between 250,000 and 270,000 euros by SD Huesca to the Reus players to win the match was being investigated, and therefore the Huesca board of directors allegedly committed various financial irregularities to generate the necessary funds to make this fertilizer. The Catalan club had nothing at stake but Valladolid was fighting to get into the Promotion Promotion, something that they did not achieve and that Huesca did, finishing sixth in the regular League.

In this case, the judge recalls that the bonus for winning is not criminal, and regarding the alleged alteration of invoices or extra costs in some jobs – and that affected a construction company and a catering company -, the judge highlights that it was not “enough accredited” during the investigation. For all these reasons, it concludes that “the perpetration of the crimes that are the subject of this procedure (sports corruption, criminal organization, money laundering and fraud against betting houses) is not duly justified, so there should only be room for provisional dismissal and archiving. ” of the entire cause.

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