Handball: Star player 'downloaded betting app' - probe

23rd January 2013, Comments 0 comments

France's star handball player, double Olympic champion Nikola Karabatic, downloaded an online betting application the night before a club match suspected of being rigged, AFP learned on Wednesday.

A source close to the investigation said the Montpellier player downloaded the "Parions Sport" (Let's Bet Sport) app provided by state-run betting firm Francaise des Jeux on to his smartphone on the eve of his club's game with Cesson-Sevigne.

Information technology specialists also discovered screen grabs from his phone on a laptop computer that showed predictions of the half-time score, the source added.

Detectives probing suspect betting in the match were surprised that only the half-time score prediction had been consulted and not the full-time result.

Montpellier, who had already won the French championship, lost the match on May 12 last year, but unusual betting patterns on the half-time score and a loss for the title-holders led to an investigation which has rocked the popular sport.

The Midi Libre newspaper, meanwhile, said that investigators were also looking into whether some of the incriminating bets were paid for from the dressing room "float" that Montpellier players contributed to when they were late, for example.

At the time, the fund -- which ordinarily would have paid for a team meal or trip -- contained about 6,000 euros ($8,000, 5,000 pounds) and Karabatic's brother, Luka, was in charge of it in 2011-12, the daily added.

Luka Karabatic, who was released by the southwest club in the wake of the betting scandal and now plays for Aix-en-Provence, has admitted betting thousands of euros, but his brother has always denied betting.

His partner, however, has said she bet 1,500 euros on her own initiative.

Nikola and Luka Karabatic and their partners, plus a number of other players and others implicated in the affair, were placed under formal investigation in October on suspicion of defrauding Francaise des Jeux.

© 2013 AFP

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