HomeNewsBriefArgentina Police Director Gets Death Threat From 'Soccer Mafia'
BRIEF

Argentina Police Director Gets Death Threat From 'Soccer Mafia'

ARGENTINA / 27 AUG 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

The director of Argentina's federal police has received a death threat believed to be from one of the country's "soccer mafias" -- violent gangs that control the sport and have deep connections to the police, criminals and politicians. 

A note written on a sports newspaper recently arrived at the house of Roman Di Santo, reported La Nacion. It read "Di Santo we will find you 5H" -- the code referring to the number of the apartment where the police boss lives.

The authors are believed to be members of a soccer gang or people who benefit from their illegal dealings with such a group, including law enforcement officers, police sources told La Nacion. It was no coincidence that the threat arrived within a month of the arrest of two officers from the Sporting Events Security Division during an investigation into the links between the soccer gangs and police, they said.

"This is not going to scare me, far from it," said Di Santo. "We are going to keep fighting and keep bringing the culprits to justice."

InSight Crime Analysis

Argentina's soccer gangs known as "barras bravas" have existed for decades. Officially they are organized groups of fans who provide guaranteed support at matches. Unofficially they make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year running ticket and parking rackets at stadiums, dealing drugs, fixing club elections, providing on-demand support for politicians and providing hired manpower at demonstrations. According to one Argentine journalist who has spent years investigating football corruption, the barras get up to 30 percent of transfer fees and 20 percent of players' paychecks, reported the Guardian in 2011.

Corruption is a major problem in Argentina and the gangs are believed to have entrenched links with politicians and police. "The barras bravas are mafias organized around businesses that include the club officers, politicians, judges and the police," Graciela Muñiz, the Deputy Ombudsman for Buenos Aires told Inforsur Hoy last December. "A single phone call from a politician to a judge is enough to get [a] case filed away."

Last year 11 people died in violence related to the "soccer mafia," warned Argentina NGO Let's Save Football, which was set up to fight corruption in the sport.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARGENTINA / 22 MAR 2019

A series of arrests of Dominican nationals in the south of Argentina over recent months have highlighted an unlikely, but…

ARGENTINA / 9 AUG 2016

Argentina's government is cooperating with the United States and Israel as it pushes ahead with an increasingly militarized approach to…

ARGENTINA / 18 SEP 2015

An Argentine court has handed down prison sentences of 12 to 21 years for five defendants in a…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Who Are Memo Fantasma and Sergio Roberto de Carvalho?

24 JUN 2022

Inside the criminal career of Memo Fantasma  In March 2020, InSight Crime revealed the identity and whereabouts of Memo Fantasma, a paramilitary commander and drug trafficker living in…

THE ORGANIZATION

Environmental and Academic Praise

17 JUN 2022

InSight Crime’s six-part series on the plunder of the Peruvian Amazon continues to inform the debate on environmental security in the region. Our Environmental Crimes Project Manager, María Fernanda Ramírez,…

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Series on Plunder of Peru’s Amazon Makes Headlines

10 JUN 2022

Since launching on June 2, InSight Crime’s six-part series on environmental crime in Peru’s Amazon has been well-received. Detailing the shocking impunity enjoyed by those plundering the rainforest, the investigation…

THE ORGANIZATION

Duarte’s Death Makes Waves

3 JUN 2022

The announcement of the death of Gentil Duarte, one of the top dissident commanders of the defunct Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), continues to reverberate in Venezuela and Colombia.

THE ORGANIZATION

Cattle Trafficking Acclaim, Investigation into Peru’s Amazon 

27 MAY 2022

On May 18, InSight Crime launched its most recent investigation into cattle trafficking between Central America and Mexico. It showed precisely how beef, illicitly produced in Honduras, Guatemala…