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合法体育博彩可能吸引罪犯,该如何防范

Rick McDonell 2018年11月13日

博彩合法化可能让数十亿美元新资金流入体育市场,其中会有一些来源不明的资金,它们有可能是犯罪所得。

自从美国最高法院撤销全国性体育博彩禁令以来,已经有许多州竞相将此事合法化。目前已有六个州全面放开体育博彩。另外20多个州以及哥伦比亚特区也在推进之中。

但我们需要谨慎一点儿。博彩合法化可能让数十亿美元新资金流入体育市场,除大多数合法资金外,也会有一些来源不明的资金,它们有可能是犯罪所得。

洗钱者通过体育事业漂白非法所得的做法由来已久。合法体育博彩可能成为他们洗钱的又一途径。因此,政府必须全面加强监督,从逃税到假赛都是如此。体育组织应该更为透明,并更严格地实施内部控制。金融机构则应该把发现可疑行为作为更重要的任务。

每年的洗钱数额都会达到8000亿至2万亿美元,相当于全球GDP的2%到5%。

体育产业特别容易涉及洗钱,主要是因为它的资金来源非常多,有门票收入、特许权收入,有赛事商品,还有转播费、服装授权费和广告主给的赞助。

整体而言,欧洲足球市场2016-17赛季实现收入289亿美元。北美体育市场2017年的收入为690亿美元。在如此巨大的市场中,宽松的监管很容易让可疑的金融活动从人们的眼皮子底下溜走。

回想一下最近的几件丑闻就明白了。巴西和南美足协前负责人都因为在签订传媒和营销合同时受贿而被判入狱。联邦检察官目前正在调查一宗涉及比利时多家顶尖足球俱乐部的洗钱大案。

不难想象,犯罪组织或者不那么道德的公司会在博彩的掩护下,把钱塞到狡猾的美国裁判、运动员或者体育官员手中。

随着合法博彩的普及,在体育生态系统中侦测不法资金流动可能会变得越发困难。今后五年内,体育博彩有望成为一个规模达60亿美元的行业。在这个数十亿美元的资金池中,犯罪分子也许很容易就能让几百万非法所得销声匿迹。

为维护比赛的公正性,体育监管部门、赛事组织机构以及体育俱乐部必须各尽其职,以便阻止洗钱行为。首先,它们必须严格禁止洗钱,并确保所有成员都充分理解这项政策。为此,它们的领导层、工作人员以及利益相关者应该定期召开会议,目的是探讨该政策并发布已经进行了培训的书面确认函。

体育组织还必须完善自己的财务部门。应该要求它们定期提供详细而且经过独立验证和审计的财务报表。它们还得保存所有金融交易的完整记录。在和供应商、承包商等第三方合作时,体育组织应该尽其所能来确认第三方的资金来源。如果怀疑第三方通过不法手段获得资金,它们就应该向监管部门报告。

金融机构也要发挥作用。它们每年都会处理数十亿美元“洗过”的钱。许多金融机构都建立了阻止犯罪行为的机制。比如说,加拿大的银行必须遵循严格的客户身份识别标准,并保存非常多的交易记录。如果某家银行相信某个账户被用于犯罪,它就要向相关部门报告并冻结这个账户。

不过,洗钱行为只会变得越来越复杂,银行的工作也将越发繁重。好在新的人工智能和可视化技术可以帮银行发现反常行为并找到不同的账户、公司以及地点之间的联系。举例来说,宾夕法尼亚州一家公司开发的人工智能技术就帮助美国禁毒署抓住了一名洗钱要犯。

与专门侦测金融犯罪的组织合作同样有效。以英国跨国安全公司BAE Systems为例,借助先进的监视工具,它在过去10年中已经帮助全世界数百家金融机构对可疑行为进行侦测。

此外,立法者可以在帮助职业体育联盟反腐方面做更多的工作。比如说,美国职业篮球联赛(NBA)和美国职业棒球大联盟(MLB)都已要求州立法机构实施“公正费”制度,即规定博彩公司将总投注额的1%交给职业体育联盟,后者再用这笔钱来监督可能出现的欺诈行为。此外,立法者还可以让职业体育联盟直接接触到博彩公司的数据,这样职业体育联盟就可以进行检验,从而有可能发现可疑行为。

可惜的是,洗钱者已经发现体育市场是一条便捷的洗钱渠道。对他们来说,体育博彩合法化可能会让体育行业变得更有吸引力。体育和金融机构必须予以反击,把这些犯罪分子拒之门外。(财富中文网)

里克·麦克唐奈曾在多个政府部门共同组建的金融行动特别工作组(Financial Action Task Force)中担任执行秘书,现为公认反洗钱师协会(ACAMS)执行董事。

译者:Charlie

审校:夏林

Since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a national ban on sports gambling, many states have rushed forward to legalize the practice. Full-scale sports gambling is now permitted in six states. More than 20 other states and the District of Columbia are on their way.

But a degree of caution is in order. Legalized gambling is likely to attract billions of additional dollars into the sports market. Most will be legitimate. But some will be of unknown, perhaps criminal, provenance.

Money launderers have long run illicit cash through sports interests. Legalized sports betting could provide them another avenue for doing so. Consequently, authorities will have to step up their monitoring efforts for everything from tax evasion to match fixing. Sports entities will have to be more transparent and adhere to stricter internal controls. And financial institutions will have to make spotting suspicious activity a bigger priority.

Between $800 billion and $2 trillion is laundered every year. That’s equivalent to 2-5% of global GDP.

The sports industry is particularly vulnerable to laundering schemes, largely because it takes in money from so many different sources. There are the proceeds from ticket sales, concessions, and merchandise at games. There are broadcasting rights fees, clothing licensing fees, and sponsorship fees from advertisers.

All told, the European football, or soccer, market generated $28.9 billion in revenue during the 2016-17 season. The North American sports market brought in $69 billion in 2017. In such large markets, loose regulations make it easy for questionable financial activities to fly under the radar.

Consider just a few recent scandals. The former heads of Brazil’s and South America’s football associations have been sentenced to jail after accepting bribes in exchange for media and marketing contracts. And federal prosecutors are currently investigating a massive money laundering scheme involving Belgium’s largest football clubs.

It’s not hard to imagine criminal interests or less-than-ethical companies funneling money to crooked referees, athletes, or sports officials here in the U.S. under the guise of gambling.

As legalized gambling proliferates, detecting untoward funding within the sports ecosystem could grow more difficult. Within the next five years, sports gambling could become a $6 billion industry. Criminals could easily make a few million in ill-gotten money disappear within that multibillion-dollar pool.

To defend the integrity of their games, sports governing bodies, competition organizers, and clubs must do their part to stop money laundering. For starters, organizations must strictly prohibit money laundering and ensure all members have a comprehensive understanding of the policy. To do so, they should have regular meetings for leadership, staff, and stakeholders to go over the policy and issue written confirmation that the training occurred.

Sporting organizations must also improve their financial operations. They should be required to provide regular, detailed financial statements that are independently verified and audited. And they must maintain thorough records of all financial transactions. When working with third parties—like suppliers and contractors—organizations should do everything possible to identify the sources of these third parties’ funding. If an organization suspects that a third party has acquired funds through illegal means, they should report them to authorities.

Financial institutions also have a part to play. They handle billions of dollars in laundered funds every year. Many have initiatives in place to stop criminal activity. For example, banks in Canada must follow strict client identification standards and keep copious records of transactions. If a bank believes an account is being used for criminal activity, it reports this to the relevant authorities and shuts down the account.

But money laundering schemes are only growing more complex, and banks’ workloads are increasing. Thankfully, new artificial intelligence and visualization technology can enable them to identify unusual activity and uncover connections between different accounts, companies, and locations. For example, A.I. technology developed by a firm in Pennsylvania helped catch one of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s largest money laundering targets.

Teaming up with organizations that specialize in detecting financial crime can work too. For example, BAE Systems, a British multinational security company, has helped hundreds of financial institutions worldwide use advanced monitoring tools to detect questionable activity over the past decade.

Additionally, lawmakers can do more to help sports leagues fight corruption. For instance, the NBA and MLB have asked state legislators to implement “integrity fees.” These require betting operators to give leagues 1% of the total amount bet on games, which the leagues then use to monitor for potential fraud. On top of that, lawmakers could give sports leagues direct access to betting operator data so they can examine it and potentially identify suspicious activity.

Money launderers have unfortunately found the sports market a convenient target for their schemes. Legalized gambling could make the sector even more inviting. Sports and financial institutions must fight back—and keep these criminals at bay.

Rick McDonell is the former executive secretary of the Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental body, and the current executive director of the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS).

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