Bitcoin transaction a new phenomenon in cricket corruption: Alex Marshall

back icon
safari
15 Apr 2021 | 01:11 PM
author
PTI

Bitcoin transaction a new phenomenon in cricket corruption: Alex Marshall

Till date cash has been the most preferred mode of payment for bookies, who also pay in kind with cars, jewellery and high-end phones

heart

Share

Former Zimbabwe captain Heath Streak's shocking admission of cricket corruption has also shone a light on cryptocurrency finding a place in the bookies' list of enticements -- a brand new challenge for the ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit, which claims to be ready for the battle. Streak was on Wednesday (April 14) banned by the ICC for eight years after admitting to disclose inside information to a suspected Indian bookie during his coaching stints in Zimbabwe, Bangladesh as well as the IPL, Afghanistan Premier League and the Bangladesh Premier League.

Till date cash has been the most preferred mode of payment for bookies, who also pay in kind with cars, jewellery and high-end phones. However, Streak's case has thrown up the use of bitcoin in corrupt payments. The ICC's detailed judgement in the case has revealed that Streak once received two "bitcoins" from a corruptor in 2018, valued at USD 35,000 at that time.

"It is a new phenomenon for us, but we have staff capable of investigating it. Corrupters try to use all modes including cash and 'hawala', which are not easy to trace either. Bitcoins pose a similar challenge," ICC ACU General Manager Alex Marshall said in an email reply to PTI's query on Thursday.

So what is cryptocurrency? In layman's language, 'Cryptocurrency' is virtual money. It is the purchase of a digital asset based on an algorithm.

The bitcoins that are generated aren't regulated by any central banking authority in any country (like the Reserve Bank of India) and in many countries like India, it is still an illegal tender. In simpler words, it is a "Blockchain Industry" where a financial transaction between two people sitting in two different parts of the world will not have any intermediaries.

The valuation of one bitcoin is staggering. One bitcoin's INR value currently stands at Rs 46.83 lakh or USD 62,453. However, the bigger challenge is that coding of "cryptocurrency" is believed to be watertight. There are elaborately programmed vaults (digital) and the tracking can be infinitely more difficult when compared to paper tenders like INR, USD or GBP.

Marshall said that ICC is up for the challenge in the coming days now that a new method of corruption has emerged. "Tracking bitcoin transactions may not be easy but we have the right people with the right expertise, understanding and network needed to ensure we stay ahead of the corruptors," Marshall said.

Even BCCI's new head of Anti Corruption Unit (ACU) Shabbir Hussain Shekhadam Khandwawala said that he heard of payment through bitcoins for the first time. "Yes, I was going through the details of the Heath Streak case. I have also heard about bitcoin transactions for the first time," the former DGP of Gujarat Police told PTI.

However, Hussain feels that tracking of corrupt people is not always about keeping a vigil on the mode of transactions. "We always catch the people not by the amount or how the money is paid (bitcoins in this case). Our clues are different. We keep a watch on them and their activities and telephonic calls," Hussain said.

"Some things happen underground also," he said, adding "Everything has to be on the basis of the solid information received from sources. "So if someone has accepted money or been involved in graft in any form, once you start investigation, you are able to reach that," he said.

He, in fact, played down the prospect of cryptocurrency gaining ground in the world of cricket corruption. "...well it's fine for the person in question to keep his money safely. It is like safe parking of money where no one can see it. But does it come in the way of investigation of this case? Perhaps not."

"I still don't think it will become a trend and even those indulging in such activities will always leave a trail," Hussain concluded.

heart
shareGray Share
Tags

Related Articles

safari
NEWS
Bookies employed cleaner to help in ball-to-ball betting during IPL in Delhi : BCCI ACU chief
BCCI's Anti-Corruption Unit revealed that a member of the cleaning team in Delhi was employed by bookies involved with ball-to-ball betting during IPL
userPTI
05 May 2021
safari
NEWS
Zoysa banned for 6 years for breaching ICC Anti-Corruption Code
The former Sri Lanka pacer's ban has been backdated to October 31, 2018, when he was provisionally suspended
usercricket.com staff
28 Apr 2021
safari
NEWS
Brett Lee donates 1 BTC to Crypto Relief for India's fight against COVID-19
One bitcoin was trading at over Rs 40 lakh in the Indian market
usercricket.com staff
27 Apr 2021
safari
NEWS
ICC bans Qadeer Khan for 5 years for corruption
They have also charged Mehardeep Chhayakar on six counts for corruption
userPTI
21 Apr 2021
safari
NEWS
Streak banned for 8 years for breaching ICC Anti-Corruption Code
The former Zimbabwe captain and coach is free to resume his involvement in the game from March 28, 2029
usercricket.com staff
14 Apr 2021
safari
NEWS
Will adopt zero tolerance against corruption in LPL, says SLC
The tournament is all set to get underway on 26 November 2020
userPTI
21 Nov 2020
safari
NEWS
IPL player reports corrupt approach
As per anti-corruption protocols, the name of the player or franchise is not revealed for confidentiality purposes
userPTI
03 Oct 2020
safari
NEWS
ICC bans Indian owner of T10 franchise for corrupt practices
Deepak Agarwal, who owned a T10 team Sindhis for a while, was charged as a participant under the code for unfair practices during the 2018 edition
userPTI
30 Apr 2020
safari
NEWS
Indian players are quick to report approaches by fixers: Ajit Singh
The BCCI ACU chief also feels that the players are well aware of the modus operandi of fixers
userPTI
19 Apr 2020
safari
NEWS
ICC ACU take unprecedented steps to ensure clean World Cup
For the first time ever, each of the ten teams competing over the next six weeks in England and Wales will have their own dedicated anti-corruption manager travelling with them.
userICC Media Release
24 May 2019
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved