India participates in INTERPOL multi-national raids to curb illegal gambling

INTERPOL, on September 14 announced multi-national coordinated raids to curb illegal soccer gambling. The raids were held across 28 countries including India during UEFA 2020 finals. Named Operation SOGA VIII (short for soccer gambling), the raids led to the arrest of some 1,400 suspects across Asia and Europe. USD 7.9 million in cash, as well as computers and mobile phones connected to nearly USD 465 million in bets, were seized.

The operation was coordinated by INTERPOL’s Financial Crimes and Anti-Corruption units, with support from the Asia-Pacific Expert Group on Organized Crime (APEG) and the INTERPOL Match-Fixing Taskforce (IMFTF). In India, the Central Bureau of Investigation acts as a coordinating agency for INTERPOL.

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Hong Kong saw the most successful raids ever with police detaining more than 800 suspects, including the alleged kingpin of a triad-controlled bookmaking syndicate, seizing nearly USD 2.7 million in cash and records detailing hundreds of millions in bets. Italy came second with inspection of 280 betting shops and EUR 1.3 million in sanctions for illegal betting operations

In July, the Delhi Police announced an arrest of 45 year old man and seizure of INR 3.5 crore cash for illegal gambling activities. The UEFA 2020 concluded on July 11. It is unclear if this arrest was part of INTERPOL coordinated raids. “This year’s operation showed a clear shift to online activities, with criminals taking full advantage of financial technology, including the use of international gambling websites and online bank accounts,” INTERPOL said in a press release.

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The 28 participating countries are: Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belgium, Brunei, Cambodia, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Vietnam.