Gambling Syndicate Implicated in All Blacks Bugging Case
As a comprehensive investigation into the All Blacks bugging case from August 15th continues, it has emerged that a sophisticated gambling syndicate is the most likely suspect; however the case has not been concluded.
A bugging device was discovered on August 15th hidden inside a chair in the room in the Sydney hotel where the New Zealand national rugby team conducted their team meetings in preparation for the first Test of the Bledisloe Cup against the Australian national team. The device was already set to record audio and was live at the time it was discovered. Speculation ran rampant over who was spying on the team.
Investigative journalist, Declan Hill, who specialises in corruption, gambling and match fixing in relation to international sports said the bug that was planted was a sophisticated type and was planted professionally. According to Hill, this suggests that match-fixing and organised crime were behind the bugging and cautioned that this is much more common than people realise.
“In China, visiting sports officials and athletes should just assume it is happening rather than the other way,” said Hill.
“What you’re after is 100 percent certainty. That’s the holy grail of the gambling market. Knowledge is power. If you know who the starting 15 is, for example, before anybody else does, that’s a huge advantage and makes the investment of the device well worth it.”
As the investigation is continuing, the Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver issued a firm denial of any knowledge of the device.
In addition, as a crime syndicate has become implicated, a spokesperson from World Rugby stated: “We take all allegation of compromised sports integrity seriously and have in place robust allegations and programs, including those that operate at our own events.”
March 23, 2017