Revealed: the tale behind the snooker sting that leaves Higgins in the fight of his life

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[Update on 8 May, at 9.15am uk time. This story contains links to a fake website used in the News of the World sting. That website is no longer 'live', as of this morning, funnily enough. As part of sportingintelligence's initial look at how the sting was arranged, we screen-saved the fake website, and some of those screen shots are here. They are integral to understanding the sting. Our original story otherwise remains untouched, and as filed on 3 May. We leave in the broken links. It is our understanding the fake site has been taken down after legitimate companies mentioned on the fake site complained about their unwitting involvement in the sting.]

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By Nick Harris

3 May 2010

As serious doubts persist today over the professional future of the world’s No1 snooker player, John Higgins, sportingintelligence can reveal key details about the mechanics of the News of the World sting that led to the Scot being filmed in Ukraine last Friday apparently agreeing to accept bribes for losing a single frame at each of four unspecified future events.

On the one hand the details give an insight into the extraordinary planning and cost of a NotW investigation, this one led – as is so often the case – by its investigations officer, Mazher Mahmood.

On the other hand, scrutiny of the methods used by Mahmood, as well as close examination of the apparently damning NotW evidence against Higgins and his manager, Pat Mooney, will form part of an investigation into the affair, due to start on Tuesday.

That investigation will be undertaken by snooker’s governing body, the WPBSA, to ascertain how Higgins and Mooney found themselves in Ukraine talking about losing frames for cash. Higgins faces harsh punishment, including a long ban from snooker, unless he can adequately explain how he came to be talking about losing games.

The case will not be probed by the Gambling Commission or the police because the NotW has not alleged that any money has changed hands or that any matches or frames have been fixed. With no bets to look at, there is no suggestion of criminal wrong-doing in this case.

There are also grey areas about precisely how, when and where the NotW reporters wanted frames lost, and how much money they would pay, and when.

Barry Hearn, the WPBSA’s chairman, has said today that Mooney has “no future in snooker”. Arguably the most damning part of the case against Mooney and Higgins is they failed to report an approach from would-be fixers to Hearn as soon as they got back to Britain.

As Hearn said today: “One of the reasons I was so upset with the video evidence etcetera was I didn’t get a phone call. If someone approaches [a player], and I can’t stop people outside approaching players, what I can say is it’s their responsibility to report that instance immediately so the authorities are aware and can act on them.”

The WPBSA investigation will be led by David Douglas, a former Metropolitan Police detective chief superintendent who joined the WPBSA board last month. He is expected to get full co-operation from the News of the World.

The NotW’s reporting on Sunday said the paper “sent an undercover reporter to meet [Mooney] after being tipped off by a sports insider worried that Mooney and Higgins could be involved in match-fixing”. There is no further information on the identity of the “insider” or their motives.

Mooney and Higgins have worked together since 2007 to establish new snooker events in “non-traditional” markets to help “grow the game” in an era when it has suffered badly from a lack of tournaments, sponsors and prize money in the wake of the withdrawal of tobacco advertising.

The events staged by the pair have been known as the World Snooker Series (WSS), and as the NoTW said on Sunday, the paper’s team “were posing as businessmen interested in organising a series of events linked to the World Snooker Series”.

Sportingintelligence can reveal Mahmood initially made contact with Mooney posing as a businessman called Marcus D’Souza, who claimed to be the ‘Senior Project Co-Ordinator’ for a fictional company, Alfa Equity.

Mooney was led to believe that Alfa Equity was a subsidiary firm of a real company, Alfa Bank, which is in fact the largest private commercial bank in Russia. Alfa Equity isn’t a subsidiary because it doesn’t exist.

The News of the World and / or Mahmood, created a website for this fake company, Alfa Equity, which is linked here.

The Alfa Equity home page boasts: “Founded in 1990, Alfa Equity is one of Russia’s largest privately owned financial-industrial conglomerates, with interests in oil and gas, mining, commercial and investment banking, asset management, insurance, retail trade, telecommunications, media, water supply and water disposal, as well as other industrial-trade and special-situation investments.”

All this is untrue, but was key to establishing Mooney’s trust in the operation. Also key to the sting was a fake news story on the Alfa website about Alfa buying a (fictional) Chinese clothing firm, a company later said to be seeking marketing opportunities via sporting events, like the WSS that Mooney and Higgins promote.

This untrue story about the Chinese firm was placed on the website next to other (true) stories about other firms, wholly unrelated to Alfa but linked via presentation to seem like they were associated.

Alfa’s HQ on the website is given as a real address in Moscow. Sportingintelligence has established the premises at the address given is a serviced office building, but as Alfa does not exist, it is not based there.

The website is bilingual, available in English or Russian. On another page, there is a Current Investment Projects portfolio. This features real projects and real companies, claiming Alfa invests or has invested in them. These firms’ real details have been used under false pretenses without the companies’ knowledge. Sportingintelligence knows some of these firms are investigating how and why their details have been used in this way. Alfa Equity does not invest in these firms because it doesn’t exist.

Another page on the website for the fake Alfa firm gives contact details for the (fake) Moscow HQ, as well as names and email addresses for a variety of contacts, including Marcus D’Souza, aka Mazher Mahmood, who used the email address marcus@alfa-equity.com for correspondence with Mooney.

‘Marcus D’Souza’ approached Mooney via email saying he worked for Alfa Equity, apparently a rich and successful firm with established links to companies including a (real) diamond exploration firm, (real) property developers and the (fake) Chinese clothing firm, and that Alfa wanted to get involved in organising a series of events linked to WSS.

On this basis Mooney met D’Souza / Mahmood in Edinburgh to talk about specifics. During around seven hours of a first meeting, details were discussed for snooker events (involving and backed by Alfa and related fake firms) in Kiev, Warsaw, Prague and Copenhagen.

Mooney and D’Souza / Mahmood had dinner, and alcohol was consumed until the early hours. A second Edinburgh meeting followed a similar pattern. The upshot was an agreement for Alfa to be involved in staging four events, with detailed agreement on fees due to Mooney for consulting, and appearance money for players.

Mooney is understood to have had formal agreements for these events drawn up with a London law firm. Provisional schedules even included details about the involvement of Eurosport as a proposed broadcaster.

D’Souza / Mahmood is understood to have agreed to all this, posing as the partner-elect in these future “exhibition” events. He used the fake ‘Marcus’ email address to send communication about event plans back and forward.

According to the NotW coverage, one of its reporters (Mahmood, though this is not stated) raised the issue of match-fixing at a meeting with Mooney, who discussed the subject in general terms. A reporter is later quoted as saying “It’s exhibition matches” that were being talked about.

There does not appear to be anything specific about what Higgins was required do in precise terms, ie where and when, or how he would be paid. The NotW’s coverage can be accessed in full on its wesbite (linked here), and it speaks for itself.

The point of this article is to place the case in some context, although sportingintelligence has limited access to full context. The WPBSA investigation should be able to access full records of all covertly taped and filmed meetings as well as be briefed on the NotW‘s methods.

Higgins never met any the NotW sting team prior to Kiev last week. Initially, Mooney and Higgins were meant to visit Kiev in the week starting 11 May, to visit a proposed venue for one of Alfa’s proposed events. When Higgins lost in this year’s world championship earlier than expected, the Kiev trip was brought forward to last Thursday-Friday, 29-30 April.

Mooney and Higgins arrived on separate scheduled flights and were met by private cars on the tarmac off the plane and fast-tracked through customs. This gave the impression of local high-level backing for the proposed event. It must be assumed the NotW arranged this VIP treatment somehow for the purposes of its investigation.

Higgins and Mooney visit the proposed venue for the fictitious event the NoTW’s “businessmen” said they wanted to stage, met local players, and then discovered from D’Souza / Mahmood that another senior Alfa official they had been expecting to meet was unavoidably absent, apparently on business in China.

Instead they were introduced to another Alfa official (another undercover reporter), “Jaroslav” , and a man called Nikail.

At some stage on Thursday, the NotW team apparently made it clear to Mooney that they were not just businessmen wanting to stage events (as originally claimed) but were, or had links to, a shady gambling syndicate. The story in the NotW on Sunday does not make clear how this information was imparted, or when, but there is a section in the article that quotes a reporter saying (verbatim below, any lack of clarity is as in the original):

“And, as I say, the places these guys (the syndicate) are gambling. They’re not gambling BetFair, they’re not gambling in Ladbrokes, they’re gambling in places that you and I haven’t even heard of . . . it’s not about the love of snooker . . . they want to gamble and make a few quid.”

Nowhere does the News of the World claim Higgins had any prior knowledge of a deal to lose any frames prior to the fateful (filmed) meeting last Friday. In fact the first “spread” in the NotW’s Sunday coverage says: “The idea agreed earlier by Mooney was for Higgins to deliberately lose four frames. Now the player himself had to rubber-stamp the details…”

Mooney and Higgins are both expected to tell the WPBSA investigation that the first Higgins knew of any approach to lose any game was when Mooney told him about it on Friday just before the meeting.

Both men have already gone on record via statements (Higgins) and an interview widely quoted in today’s media (Mooney) that they had been “spooked” by the unexpected appearance of ‘Jaroslav’ and ‘Nikail’, and by the non-appearance of the Alfa executive who was supposedly in China.

Both Higgins and Mooney have said they agreed they would say whatever was necessary to “get out” of the meeting that followed.

It was taped. It lasted about 10 minutes. Edited sections are on the NotW website, and a still photograph from the footage showing Higgins shaking hands with a reporter was used in the paper.

The WPBSA’s investigation intends to find out what really happened, and why.

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29 Responses to “Revealed: the tale behind the snooker sting that leaves Higgins in the fight of his life”

  1. Sam says:

    Brilliant article. Please join our Facebook support group for John:

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=123232651021955

  2. Pav says:

    Excellent and informative article .. well done!

  3. Lucie P. says:

    Thanks for this article. It is always good to get some background information.

    To me the way John so naively suggested not-really practicable ways of tranferring that illegal money was kind of proof that he had no prior knowledge of the meeting’s real purpose – nor any prior experience in this sort of business.

  4. Joe says:

    Allegedly

    Mooney: Like money but with an extra o. Greedy.
    Oh Higgins
    Are these the beginnings of the end
    for snooker.
    Why John?
    I expect such behaviour from Steven Lee
    But you?
    You were a god to me.
    Now you’ve failed to find the baulk cushion.
    What must John Higgins Senior think.

    also a joke:
    John Higgins walks into a bar and the barman says: “Why the long face?”

    “I’ve brought shame on myself, dragged my sport into disrepute and my career is in tatters.” Said Higgins

  5. Paul from Amsterdam says:

    Excellent info, it doubts in how far Higgins is guilty. Barry Hearne has a strong point, Higgins should have informed World Snooker and the police straight away.

  6. Elena says:

    Thanks for the article! Well done! This is a ray of light in a sea of mud, defined by John. I can believe that he is a naive fool, but never that he was corrupt.
    I hope that you will continue to report the news impartially.

  7. Neil says:

    Unfortunately I think he’s guilty and this article has done little to persuade me otherwise – he should have informed the snooker authorities about being approached and shouldnt even be considerring never mind openly discussing how he could get the illegal money into his account under the radar.

    John, or may refer to you as the wizard? you are a joke and I hope you never earn a penny (legally) form the sport of snooker ever again. I’d like to urge others to not fall for the rubbish about him being ‘spooked’.

  8. Claus Christensen says:

    The conclusion we are all waiting for, wether or not he will be subject to a lenghty ban, will most likely be based on John’s supposed willingness to cheat. Prior knowledge should therefore not weigh heavily in this case. Had he contacted the proper authorities immediately afterwards to inform them of the meeting that could perhaps have been his saving grace. According to Barry Hearn no such alarm was sounded. NotW had gone to great lenghts to ensure that the taped meeting was the evidence to end all evidence. A well-set trap that sadly seemed to do the intended job. I seriously doubt that we will ever see John again in any snooker-related function. The WPBSA has no choice but to exclude him from the sport permanently. We will soon find out if that is the case. What a mess…

  9. Robert says:

    Agree with Neil 100%, good article but doesnt take away the fact that John didnt contact the necessary people when he got back and if im honest i think he was looking pretty relaxed drinking with them etc after the deal was agreed.

    SOME FURTHER COMMENT FROM SAME POSTER REMOVED AS UNSUBSTANTIATED

  10. Tweets that mention Revealed: the tale behind the snooker sting that leaves Higgins in the fight of his life « Sporting Intelligence -- Topsy.com says:

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by conrad grabish, Jens Maurer. Jens Maurer said: die wahrheit zu #notw #higgins #snooker #kalb ? bitte lesen http://cli.gs/28z4v [...]

  11. Tommy says:

    I’m really quite angry about this. My anger is not directed at Higgins though, but at almost everyone else involved

    Sting operations are particularly morally depraved affairs. They should be outlawed for the press the same as they are outlawed for the police. It hardly seems worth the effort of venting anger at NOTW scum reporters, it’s not like they don’t do it all the time. One of the gripes I have here is that they put a victim in a position that they might never have found themselves in, and force them to make a choice. Where are all the failed sting operations? If Higgins had walked out of the room when it became apparent that match fixing was being discussed, would we be seeing front page headlines of ‘Higgins is clean!’ World number 1 is a great ambassador for the sport…etc etc ???? No we wouldn’t! Horrible f***ing slime balls, ruining peoples lives to sell newspapers, I hope they meet some real Russian gangsters.

    Shame on the general public for blindly accepting the context that the NOTW has given you for these heavily edited videos.

    There has been much made of how comfortable Higgins looks in the footage; not perturbed at all. Of he is cool and calm. This wasn’t an episode of Eastenders where every emotion has to be expressed on the face so that the audience know what the characters are thinking. This was real life and putting myself in John’s shoes, if I thought my family were in danger I’d be Laurence Olivier, Tom Hanks and Robert de Niro all rolled in to one.

    As for Barry Hearn. The man was practically dripping with schadenfreude. All his Christmases really came at once here. The chance to get his patronising cockney fizzog on the telly just at the time he’s trying to sex up the game. He spoke like Higgins was a deadman walking precluded by statements of how they were “mates” and about how he was “crying down the phone” – all the time shaking his head like he’d been let down. Making references to the two finalist as if they’d also been let down. If you were a f***ing mate, Barry, you would believe the guy you’ve known for 15 years and not some scummy NOTW reporters, at least until an investigation had shown otherwise.

    Of course, the WSS was something that Hearn had no involvement in, and could have been seen as a competitor. I wonder if that has any bearing on the swift response from Hearn? I wonder why the edited video leaves in the point about it being WSS games only? I wonder why Barry Hearn would expect to be contacted immediately about a matter that he is not directly involved in? I wonder why Barry Hearn is not being asked more probing questions. When you look for a perpetrator, you look to see stands to gain. Barry Hearn will gain more than most out of this debacle.

    Hazel Irvine, John Parrott and Steve Davis should be equally ashamed of themselves, but I’m sure Hearn has instructed all involved in the sport to tow the party line.

    These games were some time in the future and there would be time work out the best course of action. The context of the agreements and discussions of how payments would be made, could easily have been distorted.

    I feel sorry for Higgins, I really do, I can’t help thinking that even when he is found not guilty, his career in snooker and what he had lined up in the way of media appearances for afterwards is probably dead in the water. He has been badly let down by his so called fans.

    INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY

  12. Elena says:

    Tommy, thank you for your opinion! I agree with your every word! It hurts me, because all at once forgot the years when John was a symbol of decency, everyone called him kind, sweet, honest, good guy. And immediately after this stinker, almost everyone in the world gleefully threw stones and mud.

  13. Claus Christensen says:

    So is it acceptable that no authorities were contacted after this encounter in Kiev? I am not throwing stones at John Higgins. I am a long time fan of his and this episode hurts a great deal. As it has been said, the whole unedited video will be part of this investigation and the people involved will each get their say. So any factual distortions caused by editing should be eliminated in the process of the investigation which includes the possibility of John’s name being cleared. Based on this I am fairly confident that the WPBSA will reach an objective conclusion and I certainly see no reason whatsoever to smear Barry Hearn on his responeses so far. Quite the opposite.

  14. Tommy says:

    The WSS has nothing to do with the WPBSA and nothing to do with Barry Hearn. One thing that was left *in* the edit was a clear statement that it would be WSS matches only, so Hearn’s supposed expectation of being contacted regarding a matter that involves a *rival* organisation is highly questionable. Hearn’s quick and firm response was aimed at a rival and it’s main ambassador.

    Is it coincidence that whilst Eurosport was the proposed media outlet for the WSS, Mr Hearn’s preferred outlet would undoubtedly be BSkyB
    like with the darts? Is there some kind of link between Sky and say… The News of the World?

    The only authorities that would need contacting are the British and Ukranian Police.

    Please bear in mind that these matches were a considerable time in the future, that John believed that he was dealing with undesireable individuals that could potentially cause him and his family a great deal of harm, that he would be unfamiliar with how he should go about reporting this, unsure of how the Ukranian system of law works and if it has a reputaion of working with underworld figures. Bear in mind that Higgins wasn’t aware that he had a time limit in which to deal with this.

    Long time fan?

    John has been set up, and if even his long time fans are turning against him before any objective evidence has been presented then he really is damned.

  15. hotrocks says:

    What planet are you on Tommy. Wake up and smell the coffee, let the WPBSA do their job. They will obviously gather all the evidence and make a decision based there on.
    As most would agree it does not look good though. PART OF THIS COMMENT REMOVED

  16. Tommy says:

    It does not LOOK good? It has been manufactured to LOOK as bad as possible, and the gullible masses have swallowed it.

    From Wikipedia, regarding the WPBSA:
    “The body has received much criticism in the late 2000s. John Higgins has been particularly vocal in his opinion that World Snooker has not done enough to promote the game in new territories, particularly in Eastern Europe. The rival World Series of Snooker was launched by a consortium including Higgins in 2008.”

    Is this just a remarkable coincidence? Well, we know it isn’t. NOTW deliberately targeted Higgins and ultimately the WPBSA will do what their boss tells them to do.

    So, whilst I agree, it does not look good as far as John Higgins’s future is concerned, I believe the man is innocent on all counts. His conscience is 100% clear.

    I think there will be very few others who will truthfully testify to that effect.

  17. Phil says:

    I have never been in a room with people who claim they are from the Ukranian mafia. I imagine if I was, I would probably be a little bit freaked out, and maybe I wouldn’t be thinking straight. I would probably be thinking of just getting the hell out of there, and I would probably go along with my interrogators rather than challenging them.

    Maybe, just possibly, if you are in a strange – and probably lawless – country, and you are in a room with some intimidating people – because that’s what mafia people are – maybe your number one priority would be your safety. And, maybe, you would know that by saying yes to your interrogators, you would be able to go home. As that would probably be clearly stated to you by your interrogators (though that bit would, perhaps, be edited out of the News of the World taped version of what “happened” strangely enough). And if you didn’t say yes to your interrogators wishes, maybe, you would be forced to attend another meeting. Especially so, as your interrogators have provided transport for you. In other words, they control your movements. Hence, if you don’t go along with your interrogators, maybe, you are stuck God knows where without any idea of how to get out of there.

    Maybe, it’s better to just play safe and go along with what these mafia dudes are suggesting.

    Maybe, you just want to get the hell out of there, and to get home to your family in one piece.

    Maybe, this isn’t as clear cut as people would like it to be.

    NB: A SECTION AT THE START OF THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN REMOVED FOR ITS LIBEL POTENTIAL. Admin.

  18. Alex says:

    Great article. Thank god someone has the interest, patience and skill to tacitly explain to people how they themselves would behave in such a given set of circumstances – circumstances in which they expect ther sporting “Gods” to become truly superhuman.

    I can fully imagine what Nikail and Jaroslav looked like. Somehow I don’t think they were wee skinny lads with geeky, desperately-friendly demeanours.

    When these people fast-tracked John and Mooney through customs it’s clearly mean to give the impression that they run the bloomin’ country. John Higgins is a snooker player – not a member of the SAS – so he’s clearly thinking “if they can get me in to Kiev so quickly they can also make sure I never leave”. This is how the rest of us keyboard warriors would feel and we too would agee to anything we needed to in order to get out.

    this, however, is too mundane a truth for a section of the public which itself has too mundane a life to ever miss the chance to wilfuly slaughter someone more succesful and interesting than they.

    Also too mundane to be allowed to feature in this tale is the fact Barry Hearn wouldn’t be best disposed to (A) receive any phonecall during the busiest week in snooker’s year and (B) go OTT in assisting a player who did more to expand the profile of the sport than the erstwhile Leyton Orient saviour has managed in the last decade.

    Great article and a great site but can I ask the Administrator of this thread why the 4th post shown above – from “Joe” – has been allowed to remain, seeing as it’s insulting John Higgins’s father. Pathetic, sick stuff from a first class member of NotW’s target demographic: Knee-jerk, emptily emotive idiots.

  19. Elena says:

    It is interesting that the whole operation began in January or late December or so. Fake site was created in February. The journalist he had to think about details, legend, to collect information. So I think that if the newspaper is telling the truth about the anonymous source, someone pointed at John and Mooney after voting for Hearn. Some players (Selby, for example) say that it has not been accessed with such proposals. Why? Because the role of John and Mooney in the development of snooker, their role in the selection Hearn proved decisive. I admit that at the Moony were rumors.
    All that is suspicious and strange. Hopefully, the investigation into all sort it out.

  20. admin says:

    Admin reply to Alex: Thanks for your comment.
    In response to your question about the 4th post: it appears to us to be a question rather than an insult. That is not to say we either agree or disagree with anything “joe” writes; that’s not our job. Some may think it’s puerile, others clever.
    We don’t endorse anonymous slander and idiocy. We do endorse free speech. Your own view is clear and it’s now here for everyone to read.
    Other posts have been cut (as stated above) or not allowed through in the first place for being unsuitable for various taste and legal reasons. There are fine lines to tread.

  21. Elena says:

    “we screen-saved the fake website, and will post those screen shots shortly.”
    Thank You!Thank you! Your newspaper confirms that the independent press and honest journalists still there in the world.

  22. Claus Christensen says:

    How come those who are the sternest critics against people not willing to take sides with John Higgins 100% before we know the final outcome of the investigation are the same who seemingly have no scrouples with bringing forth conspiracy theories regarding Barry Hearn? I.e. “NotW related to Sky, Sky related to Barry, Barry hates Eurosport, John works with WSS, WSS is shown on Eurosport, Barry wants to bring down John, Barry pulls the strings and orchestrates a sting operation through NotW to end John’s career”. That is what is clearly implied above.
    That is moving as far away from objectivity as possible and quite ridiculous.

  23. Tommy says:

    We know of one definite conspiracy, that being the NOTW sting. I suggest there may be others, perhaps even like the one you decribed.

    It’s up to the individual to decide what is most likely.

    It should be remembered that the people carrying out the investigation are the WPBSA. So if there was a conspiracy like the one you described, I think it would be unlikely to produce a fair result.

  24. admin says:

    FROM NH, editor: There is no evidence of a conspiracy between different interests relating to NotW (ie: News International-Sky-WPBSA), and personally speaking, the idea that such a conspiracy exists is fanciful.
    The WPBSA investigation is being carried out by a well-respected former policeman. I personally believe he will do a thorough and impartial job, and may or may not find Pat Mooney and / or John Higgins guilty of stupidity, actual corruption or nothing at all.
    Equally, judged solely on what was printed and published in LAST WEEK’s NotW, there is no evidence at all that either man has actually ever fixed a match or a frame. If the NotW had such evidence I assume they would have published it. Perhaps they will tomorrow. We’ll have to wait to see.
    Certainly up to this point there is no suggestion, even from the NotW, that Higgins or Mooney have done anything meriting police or Gambling Commission involvement.
    The point of the main piece above, as stated, is to provide context for the sting, and highlight the elaborate nature of the set-up / entrapment. (While also pointing out that Higgins and Mooney have serious and legitimate questions to answer).
    Why would the sting site’s owners take it down today? Who knows. Time will tell. If it were legal and not operating under false pretenses, why not leave it up?
    If any News of the World investigation leads to the conviction and punishment of sportsmen in any sport because of gambling-related corruption, sportingintelligence will absolutely endorse that piece of work.
    Corruption is a serious issue and one we have covered and will cover in depth, including in the coming week in relation to other sports in other cases. Sportingintelligence’s view is that while there are REAL cases of ACTUAL corruption happening across sports, including snooker, such global attention on a case that is far from clear doesn’t actually do anything to help the fight against corruption, and may in fact destroy lives.
    Definition of ‘far from clear’: Were these ‘exhibitions’, as stated by one NotW reporter, or not? It makes a massive difference. Were they going to be WSS events, or merely ‘linked to’ the WSS, as the NotW stated? When were these matches going to happen? Where? Which bookmakers take or have even taken FRAME betting on WSS events? (None). Who was going to be betting then? The NotW’s ‘fake’ criminal syndicate. Etc etc.
    For now, we await further developments with interest.
    NH

  25. Elena says:

    Лично я вообще против подобных “разоблачений”, как это сделано NOW. Целью журналистики является правдивое освещение событий в мире, а не провокации. Очень хочется, чтобы реальные русские бандиты “поговорили” с Махмудом и заставили его признаться во всех 7 грехах. Они это умеют. Пусть он поварится в том котле, в котором варились его многочисленные жертвы.
    Общественность должна потребовать от WABSA доказательства, что расследование было проведено как надо. Но Джон, к моему великому сожалению, не имеет будущего в снукере даже при его оправдании.
    Ян Верхаас сказал в Твиттере, прочитав эту статью: “Как это жестоко”.
    Одно из основных доказательств исчезло. Да, это интригует. И меня пугает.

  26. Elena says:

    Sorry,
    Personally, I am generally against such “disclosures” as it is done NOW. The purpose of journalism is a truthful account of events in the world, rather than provocation. I very much want the real Russian gangsters to “talk” with Mahmoud and forced him to confess to all the 7 sins. They know how to do. Let him stew in the pot, which were boiled his many victims.
    The public should demand that WABSA evidence that the investigation was conducted properly. But John, to my great regret, has a future in snooker, even with his acquittal.
    Jan Verhaas said on Twitter, read this article: “How cruel.”
    One of the key evidence had disappeared. Yes, it is intriguing. And that frightens me.

  27. Alex says:

    To Admin and NH – fair dues. Appreciate you taking the time to explain that. And, again, thanks for the article.

  28. Paul says:

    It is said that the one concern over the behaviour of John Higgins is his failure to report the discussions on his return from Kiev. My question, and maybe key for the WPBSA in determining his integrity, is why John Hiigins asks how the proposed bribe might be paid to him by repayment of a mortgage on a property he owns in Spain. I am trying to understand how such a question could be extracted from him unwillingly through either NOTW video-editing and/or his fear of Russian mafia. If he wanted to say whatever was necessary to leave safely, why would he tell the mafia that he owns such a property at all?

  29. ryan says:

    so what does it all mean has the wizard of wishaw john higgins been let off for saying what he said or will he get banned?

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