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January 22, 2010

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Prison sentence for ex-player

FORMER soccer player Lv Dong was sentenced to imprisonment for three years by a court for running online gambling, judicial sources said yesterday.

The chief judge of Dashiqiao in Yingkou City, northeast China's Liaoning Province, said Lv ran the gambling as a general agent by exploiting the overseas network "Winning Goal" from September 2008 to March 2009.

In that time, Lv received bets totaling 30.24 million yuan (US$4 million) from his agents and other gamblers. He handed in 110,000 yuan after being caught for illegal betting.

Besides the prison sentence, he was fined 1.5 million yuan, the chief judge said.

Lv, born in 1967, was a member of the Liaoning 10-time winning soccer team in the Chinese soccer league. After retiring in the 1990s, he worked as a coach for its second-string team and even ran a bar.

Lv confessed that he had controlled three accounts on "Winning Goal" for online gambling, and took 20 percent kickbacks from the losers' betting as well as 1 percent of the total inflow of betting from September 8, 2008 to March 22, 2009.

"I received the kickbacks something around 70,000 yuan to 80,000 yuan, and the money was transferred through the bank," said Lv.

Lv told the court that the "Winning Goal" runs online gambling in four categories - shareholders, general agents, agents and members - and only those members are allowed to cast their betting, while the others merely split the dividends in accordance with their agreed percentages of 2.25, 1.25 and 0.75.

The authorities began a high-profile cleanup campaign focusing on gambling rings in soccer after President Hu Jintao and Vice-President Xi Jinping called for a revamping of the sport.

The police crackdown began in March 2009 when a high-profile committee was set up.


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