The appeal hearing dealing with the football match-fixing saga in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 opened at the Brussels Court of Appeal on Thursday. A schedule for reporting its findings has been set up. The elements of the case will not be examined until next autumn. Most of those convicted last June in the so-called “match-fixing” trial had opted to appeal against the judgment of the Brussels criminal court. Among the convicted are figureheads in the case, former Lierse coach Paul Put, agent Pietro Allatta, and former La Louviere club president Filippo Gaone.
31 individuals and one company were on trial at the criminal court in 2014, accused of corruption, belonging to an organised crime gang, money laundering, extortion, fraud, and in some cases, tax evasion, organising a fraudulent bankruptcy, and misuse of company property. Most of these charges were found to be proven beyond reasonable doubt by the criminal court.
Zheyun Ye, a Chinese citizen central to the case, was handed the heaviest sentence in absentia, 5 years’ imprisonment. Paul Put was also initially sentenced, in absentia, to 2 years’ imprisonment. He challenged the sentence and was eventually given a 2-year suspended sentence. He is one of the convicted who appealed, as are Pietro Allatta, who initially received a 30-month sentence, Filippo Gaone (10-month suspended sentence), former Lierse deputy coach Patrick Deman (12-month suspended), as well as former Lierse players Laurent Delorge, Yves Van Der Straeten and Marius Mitu.
Some of those convicted decided not to appeal their sentence, such as former La Louviere coach Gilbert Bodart (6-month suspended) and former player Olivier Suray (2-year suspended).