Why does Arsenal Football Club seem to always attract the biggest crooks operating in the Kenyan economy? Can it be a coincidence? On 7th May 2014, Arsenal FC launched a partnership with Imperial Bank of Kenya Limited,
Gordon Tannock, Head of Partner Services at Arsenal Football Club said of the partnership with Imperial Bank: “We are delighted to be partnering with Imperial Bank to provide Arsenal branded debit cards to our millions of fans across Kenya and Uganda. From our initial discussions several months ago it is evident that Imperial Bank is a trusted institution that puts its customers, communities and social responsibility at the heart of everything it does. It is this focus on their customers and supporting the communities in which they do business which align closely to the core values of Arsenal Football Club.”
Barely a year later regulator Central Bank of Kenya’s put Imperial Bank under receivership for operating in ‘unsafe or unsound business conditions’ with the late CEO being revealed as having executed one of the biggest heists in the history of banking, making away with over $300million within a span of over 12 years.
Fast forward to 6th February 2016 and a near-identical statement posted on the Arsenal website sounded familiar to the previous one with the collapsed Imperial Banks.
Vinai Venkatesham, Arsenal’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We are delighted to welcome SportPesa as our Official Betting Partner in Kenya. Arsenal has huge support across Africa and we look forward to engaging further with our fans in Kenya while also helping to drive the SportPesa business and, through a wide range of initiatives, the development of football in the country.”
Caption: Ronald Karauri CEO of Sport Pesa during the official unveiling of Arsenal as their partner.
According to Bulgaria’s National Security Agency (DANS) Gerasim Nikolov AKA Gero has been the ringleader of Bulgarian gangs dealing with draining of credit cards.
In March 2014, the Bulgarian Member of the European Parliament (MEP) *Slavi Binev was on an official visit to Kenya. The MEP travelled to Kenya in his capacity of representative of the nationalist party National Front for Saving Bulgaria (NFSB), of the EP and as Deputy Chairman of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Union for relationships with Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP), according to the NFSP press release.
While there, Binev lauded the launch of the mobile platform for bets of one of the largest companies in the sector SportPesa, owned by Bulgarians.
“They drove capable Bulgarians abroad, the goal of NFSB is to bring them back,” said Binev at an event in Villa Kempinski in Nairobi.
Official reports, however, withheld information about who were exactly the Bulgarians that created SportPesa, and for a good reason.
The Director of the new platform “SportPesa” is Gerasim Nikolov. He is “one of the main organizers of credit card draining in the world, according to experts from the National Security Agency (DANS),” the journalist Slavi Angelov from “24 Hours” daily claims in his investigation. His report was aired on the “On Target” broadcast of the public TV BNT1 in June 2014
“Gerasim Nikolov lives in Nairobi, where he accepts entire brigades, formed in Bulgaria, to steal money from foreign bank cards. He has been investigated for years over the notorious racketeering/credit-card fraud, together with another criminal nicknamed “The Baron” for the hijacking of 14 Serbian trucks and their drivers for ransom, but later became a witness in the case,” read an article in the newspaper on the subject.
A video circulated on YouTube, shows that the current Head of the Parliamentary Commission for Culture, Slavi Binev is too close to Gero – Gerasim Nikolov, whom he introduces as a longtime friend.
“It is very unusual for a politician to maintain old friendships. But I value my friendship with Gero, Genata and the whole team. I am very proud that Gero, who is one of my best friends, is the engine of this team,” Binev said in his speech during the “official visit”.
*Slavi Binev is a Bulgarian politician and former European taekwondo champion. From the start of the 1990s until 2006, Slavi Binev had been one of the main shareholders in R – System Holding AD. Binev was elected a Member of the European Parliament on the ticket of the nationalist Ataka (Attack) party in May 2007, immediately after Bulgaria joined the European Union. He was Ataka’s candidate for Mayor of Sofia in 2007. He spilt from Ataka and was independent nationalist MEP after being reelected in 2009. In April 2012, he founded his own party People for Real, Open and United Democracy (GORD). In the 2014 general elections the latter ran in coalition with NFSB and Binev was elected Member of the Bulgarian Parliament. In late November 2014, he was appointed Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Culture and Media, triggering outrage among Bulgarian intellectuals, artists and civil society because he is seen as one of the main promulgators of chalga music through his former night clubs.
Recent manouvers by Sport Pesa have left the industry worried about Bulgarian mobs controlling the unregulated football industry in Kenya. For instance, when Betway launched a sponsorship in Kenya with local club AFC Leopards, Sport Pesa quickly used their influence to bribe members of the Sports Tribunal to swiftly cancel Betway’s deal and replaced it with Sport Pesa’s.
To help execute this fraud, Sport Pesa are said to have infiltrated the top echelons of Kenyan Premier League, by dispatching bribes to senior Governors through KPL Chief Executive Officer Jack Oguda.
Caption: Ronald Karauri CEO of Sport Pesa with Jack Oguda CEO of Kenyan Premier League accused of being the linkman for bribes to KPL Governors.
Rumors have hit the wires that Sport Pesa intend to sponsor the National Team Harambee Stars to the tune of Kshs. 500 Million for an exclusive deal running 4 years. Inside Sport Pesa’s strategy is to inherit the network that campaigned for Nick Mwendwa, by buying them out and triggering a emergency board meeting that will see him deposed and they in-turn installing Ronald Karauri as the new FKF President, thereby gaining control of the entire football industry.
The question remains. Do we as Kenyans want Kenyan Football being controlled by the Bulgarian mob?
Video of the launch of Sport Pesa. Short clip showing the Bulgarians mentioned above.
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