Defendant admits paying bribes to rig matches

Defendant admits paying bribes to rig matches

Published Apr. 7, 2011 4:56 p.m. ET

The chief defendant in a match-fixing trial has admitted paying bribes to players to manipulate football matches.

Ante Sapina is one of six men on trial in Bochum accused of fixing 47 football matches.

Sapina has a previous conviction from a match-fixing scandal in 2005 in Germany.

The 35-year-old Croat is accused of being one of the ringleaders of a betting syndicate that made huge profits by placing money on manipulated games. But Sapina testified Thursday that there was no clear organized leadership and that everyone was working for himself.


''I participated in the costs, when players had to be paid,'' Sapina testified.

The trial of Sapina and his co-defendants is the second to stem from an investigation by Bochum prosecutors into what has been described as Europe's biggest match-fixing scandal. Sapina had testified at the trial of another four men.

Sapina was convicted of fraud in another match-fixing scandal and sentenced to 35 months in jail in 2005.