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Study says organized crime launders billions via sports bets, match-fixing largely undetected

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PARIS - Organized crime launders $140 billion (100 billion euros) each year by laying bets on sporting events, says a new study of sports betting, corruption and match-fixing.

The Qatar-based International Center for Sport Security and Paris' Pantheon-Sorbonne University said much match-fixing remains hidden and that "hundreds or even thousands" of cases are suspected in 2013 alone.

"Criminality is stealing the soul and credibility of sport," said ICSS director of sport integrity Chris Eaton, formerly head of security for FIFA. "We must save sport, taking the battle out of the arenas and out of the stadiums and onto the streets with the gamblers and into the palaces with the criminals who control the people who are corrupting sport."

The ICSS-Sorbonne report, released Thursday, is the result of a two-year study involving more than 70 international experts.

Among other measures, it recommended new taxes be levied on sports betting to finance stronger efforts against match-fixing.

It said spottily regulated sports betting offers "numerous opportunities" to make dirty money look like it comes from legitimate sources and that more than 10 per cent of worldwide revenue from organized crime is possibly laundered this way.

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