Published: 17:03, 18 January 2020
| Updated: 17:28, 18 January 2020
An Upchurch man has been sentenced for paying bribes to facilitate the transfer of players at a Championship club.
Football agent Dax Price, 48, of Upchurch, near Sittingbourne, was found to be one of three men involved in offering and taking bribes for the placing of players at Barnsley FC following an investigation by the City of London Police’s fraud squad.
In September 2016, police were provided information by the Daily Telegraph about various football agents who were thought to be facilitating bribes with individuals at football clubs, between May 4, 2016 and September 30, 2016.
The information was reviewed by detectives and a criminal investigation was launched in November the same year into the dealings of Price, football agent Giuseppe Pagliara, 64, from Manchester, and football coach Thomas Wright, 53, from Barnsley.
The three men were interviewed on a voluntary basis between December 2016 and April the following year.
They were then charged with bribery offences in August 2018 after detectives reviewed more than 100 hours of video and audio recordings made by undercover journalists. These showed all three men were involved in offering and taking bribes for the placing of players at Barnsley FC.
Wright also supplied confidential information regarding the contracts of players already at the club.
'This case is the first in the UK relating to corruption in the football industry and shows how offending of this extremely serious nature can lead to significant prison sentences,' - DC Chris Glover
Yesterday, at Southwark Crown Court, the three men were sentenced.
Price was handed an 18-month suspended sentence, 250 hours community work and an 8pm-6am electronically tagged curfew for three months.
Pagliara with given a two year-suspended sentence, 300 hours community work and a 7pm-7am electronically tagged curfew for four months.
Wright got a 12-month suspended sentence and was ordered to pay £5,000 to the Telegraph within 28 days, as well as £3,000 in court costs.
In December, Price and Pagliara were found guilty of paying and facilitating a bribe, and offering a bribe, while Wright was found guilty of accepting a bribe and requesting a bribe.
DC Chris Glover, from the City of London Police’s fraud squad, said: "This has been a long and complex investigation, but it's a significant result for the City of London Police, and all of policing, when it comes to investigating bribery. This case is the first in the UK relating to corruption in the football industry and shows how offending of this extremely serious nature can lead to significant prison sentences.
“We are pleased justice has now been done and would like to take this opportunity to thank the Telegraph, Football Association, Crown Prosecution Service and Barnsley Football Club for their assistance with this case.”