Sportradar continues to weigh the fallout of an investigative story from Business Insider Italia after refuting an October report from the Italian media outlet that accused the global sports data provider of committing a series of serious infractions.
The multinational company headquartered in St. Gallen, Switzerland initiated legal proceedings against the publisher due to “untrue and defamatory,” allegations made within the October 29th article, the company said in a statement.
Sportradar has not disclosed the amount of damages the company is seeking in the lawsuit.
Sports Handle has not been able to independently confirm any of the accusations made by the publication.
An updated statement from Sportradar regarding Business Insider Italia. https://t.co/td53awjcqU
— Sportradar (@Sportradar) November 5, 2019
The Galassia investigation
Business Insider Italia published a comprehensive 2,058 word feature Oct. 29 that allegedly connected Sportradar with the ongoing anti-mafia Galassia investigation. The widespread investigation has resulted in the arrest of more than 68 suspects and assets forfeitures of more than €1 billion, U.K. publication SBC News reported.
Last month, Italian authorities named 51 further people as suspects in a year-long tax and money laundering investigation, according to multiple media reports. Among those that may face charges in the probe include the former owners of Malta-registered Austrian sports betting company SKS365.
According to Business Insider Italia, a defendant ensnared in the investigation told an Italian prosecutor that he had a direct relationship with Sportradar and the company’s betting brand, Betradar, and made cash payments in exchange for access to real-time betting data. Two days later, Sportradar issued a statement strongly refuting many aspects of the report.
Sportradar acts, and has always acted, in full compliance with local and international regulations, legal requirements and regulatory bodies, and has never been involved in any alleged illegal activities. Sportradar provides services to hundreds of sporting authorities both in Italy and globally, and actively supports and works alongside local and international police and law enforcement authorities in their fight against corruption and crime. Our work has uncovered some of the most high-profile illicit practices aimed at manipulating sporting competitions in Italy, Europe and worldwide.
The article in question is wholly inaccurate and misrepresents our work both in Italy and globally. Sportradar completely rejects its content and the allegations made…we take these allegations very seriously and they will be appropriately addressed. — Sportradar Nov. 1 statement.
In an updated statement released Nov. 5, Sportradar said it has sought “appropriate compensation for the harm to both its business and its reputation,” generated by the story.
“Sportradar can confirm that neither the company, nor any of its affiliates or employees, are under investigation with respect to allegations made in the article,” the company said in the statement.
A Betradar executive, according to Business Insider Italia, also wrote a 2015 email to the CEO of an Italian-registered gaming company, approving the release of odds to illegal bookmakers before they were released to legal operators. The gaming executive was arrested by authorities in Malta in April in connection with the Galassia investigation.
Roberto Pera, a partner of the German routed international Law Firm Rödl & Partner, refuted the specific allegations levied against the executive. In a Nov. 22 letter sent to Sports Handle, Pera asserted that the executive “never approved the release of odds to illegal bookmakers.” The purported email, which was reviewed by Sportradar’s legal team, did not have a single reference of a Betradar employee making such an authorization, Pera explained.
Sportradar has never authorized the release approval of odds to illegal bookmakers. We have reviewed all documentation and email transcripts and have found no evidence or reference to a Betradar employee authorizing this. Business Insider Italia extrapolated emails and interpreted it in a completely arbitrary (and self serving) way painting a false picture. — Roberto Pera, Nov. 22 letter to Sports Handle
Pera, a Rome-based attorney, is representing Sportradar in the matter.
“The article originally published in Business Insider Italia is completely without merit, highly defamatory and slanderous of Sportradar. The allegations are not true, nor is Sportradar involved in any criminal acts in Italy or abroad,” Pera wrote in a separate letter to Sports Handle, dated Nov. 8.
The prosecutors’ office of Reggio Calabria, a Southern Italian province investigating the probe, did not respond to a request for comment.
German publisher Axel Springer purchased Business Insider in 2015 for approximately $450 mm. Parent company Insider Inc., operates Business Insider international editions in more than a dozen countries, including: Germany, France, the U.K. and Italy.
When asked whether Business Insider Italia stood by its reporting for the investigative piece, an Insider Inc. spokesperson declined to comment.
Sportradar is one of the world’s largest third-party providers of sports betting data. Since the Supreme Court’s historic PASPA decision in May 2018, Sportradar has inked multiyear betting data partnerships with the NFL, the NBA and MLB.
When Sportradar announced an exclusive partnership with the NFL in August to distribute the league’s official betting data to U.S. operators and select bookmakers worldwide, Sportradar CEO Carsten Koerl described the deal as “undoubtedly one of the most important partnerships in Sportradar’s history.”