RCMP admit they 'likely destroyed' files on Canadian matchfixing
Denials, delusions, dead ends and now the destroying of records?
The latest twist in the matchfixing saga that surrounded the Canadian Soccer League has now truly taken a turn for the bizarre.
For the last year, CSN has been applying to the RCMP through the Access to Information Act, to get our hands on what the federal police force knew about the Croatian matchfixers who had infiltrated the small league and when they knew it.
The Access to Information Act has established the right of applicants to access federally maintained records. It's a way for journalists and citizens to peak behind the scenes of what goes on in the corridors of power.
That process - which involves a lot of hand-written requests, accompanied by cheques to cover fees, snail mailed and then huge swaths of waiting by the applicant – came to a strange sort of conclusion this week.
[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]In a letter of response, the RCMP admitted that they had ‘likely destroyed’ any material they had on the fixers and the Canadian Soccer League and suggested the applicant complain to the Information Commissioner concerning our request.
It goes on to say that, “It is the policy of the RCMP and other federal government departments to dispose of records in accordance,” with an established schedule.
CSN's first request was filed in April 3, 2013. The Access to Information Act declares a government body must comply with any request within 60 days. CSN received its response Nov. 25, 2013.
CSN's access request included: any information pertaining to matchfixing in Canada, any information pertaining to links between the CSL and Croatian matchfixers, and any information pertaining to links between the CSL and Serbian matchfixers. The time period for request we gave ran between Feb. 2009 and 2013.
Last October, through a Canadian Soccer Association source, CSN became aware of a police investigation that was underway concerning the CSL and overseas matchfixers. At the time, because of jurisdictional issues (the fixes took place here but the betting was overseas) the investigation was delayed as the local police consulted with the Crown on what crime had actually been committed. The argument made then by the complainant was that fraud had been committed on Canadian soil against a number of players, owners and their respective livelihoods.
Despite information that came directly from the CSA, which off the record confirmed a police action was underway, the RCMP declined any comment and denied there was any investigation.
CSN will file an official complaint with the Information Commissioner.
Additionally, CSN have several more Access to Information requests concerning matchfixing in Canada pending before different police and government organizations.