Shantalosau bought Belarus football players for $40K

Book-makers in Moscow made $500,000 on the two fixed international matches played by Belarus's national football team. The first criminal case associated with match-fixing has been finilized and is waiting to be referred to court. With the name of the main supsect already revealed, the latter has not been arrested yet.

Yet everybody knows the whereabouts of Valery Shantalosau, the former keeper of the Belarus's squad. In the view of prosecutors, it is this man who bribed Belarus's players to give up the matches.

The criminal case was opened back in June 2005 and dealt with the evidence associated with the two Euro 2003 qualifiers played Belarus against Czech Republic on September 6 and against Moldova on September 10.

Investigative reporters from the Belarusian sports newspaper Pressball submitted clear evidence that those matches had been fixed.

"In 2003 we obtained taped conversations which indicated that several matches by the national team and some Belarusian clubs in European tournaments, including the matches against the Czech Republic and Moldova had been sold", Pressball chief editor Uladzimir Berazhkou told the European Radio for Belarus.

In September 2003, Belarus lost 1:3 and 1:2 correspondingly to please the Moscow-based book-makers. The former Belarus keepr Valery Shantalosau was the middleman to strike a deal with Belarus's key players.

The Belarus law-enforcement authorities issued an arrest warrant for Shantalosau on March 25, 2007. but he had already fled the territory of Belarus.

Valery Shantalosau presently works as an assistant coach for the Novosibirsk-based FC Siberia in Russia. The European Radio for Belarus called Novosibirsk to confirm Shantalosau's whereabouts. Bu the footbal club refused to confirm if Shantalosau was their employee. Yet, they confirmed that they had heard about a criminal case against Shantalosau but stressed that the charges were trumped up.

"The match-fixing was ordered by the Moscow mafia. They have a very serious organization. The players who were proposed to give up the matches were offered around $40K. One can only guess how much money the mafia made on this. Investigators estimate that around $500,000 could be made on those two matches alone," Uladzimir Berazhkou said.