Belgium: FIFA referees influenced by player agent

Top Belgian FIFA referees Sebastien Delferière and Bart Vertenten had close ties with player agent Dejan Veljkovic. The newspapers of the group Mediahuis learned on Thursday about these intimate relations and the gifts that ensued. Delferière and Vertenten have been suspended with immediate effect, said Johan Verbist, the boss of the Belgian referees.
The judicial investigation that triggered an earthquake in the Belgian football community, will determine whether it is corruption. But according to the newspapers, Dejan Veljkovic's telephone conversations indicate that the agent tried to influence matches in favor of FC Malines. The investigators listened to the conversations of agents Mogi Bayat and Dejan Veljkovic for several months, according to De Standaard and Het Nieuwsblad. They discovered that Veljkovic frequently spoke with two high level referees. The Serbian agent let them know that he considered them the best by far. 
In particular, Sébastien Delferière, through Veljkovic, obtained a significant discount when he bought a car from a garage in Aalst. Veljkovic also provided him with an invitation to the gala Soulier d'Or via the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws who organized the event. The agent invested in the football school of Mr. Delferière, now charged with participation in a criminal organization through active and passive corruption, but released under certain conditions.
Referee Bart Vertenten, meanwhile, often joined the agent's table after the matches. Veljkovic calls him his "friend". The two matches that are suspected of falsification during the 2017-2018 season are Antwerp - Eupen and FC Malines - Waasland/Beveren for which there is evidence of private corruption to rescue Malines. The investigation indicates that Dejan Veljkovic, in consultation with 4 members of the board of directors of Malines, directly or through friendly contacts, would have influenced the results of these two matches, which seems to include agreements with referee Bart Vertenten and various members of the Waasland/Beveren Board of Directors. The match between Antwerp and Eupen of the second-last matchday was mentioned, refereed by Bart Vertenten. While the Eupen were competing against Malines to avoid relegation from the first division, the referee awarded a penalty kick to Antwerp although the fault had occurred outside the penalty area. A contentious decision that allowed Antwerp to win 2-0. A week later, on the final day of the championship, decisive for the maintenance, the match Malines – Waasland/Beveren would also have been falsified. Het Laatste Nieuws also points out the contact of the agent with sports editorials of the newspaper and Het Nieuwsblad, asking journalists to offer good marks to the two referees (his "friends") in their articles. The interview of two journalists by the investigators would fit into this context.
Belgian prosecutors charged 19 people, including two referees, player agents and the coach of champions Club Bruges, with fraud or match-fixing. The offences ranged from criminal organisation to money laundering and corruption, federal prosecutors said. Nine of the 19 remained in custody, including soccer agents Dejan Veljkovic and Mogi Bayat, charged with having set up schemes to hide fees paid to themselves and to players, and referee Bart Vertenten.

Source: La Libre