A former leading Australian table tennis player who had been close to Olympic selection was a “bit lost” when he decided to gamble on rigged table tennis matches in Ukraine.
Adam Michael Green, 43, admitted placing 1,170 bets on fixed international table tennis tournament matches from his Newcastle home with Australian online bookmakers, winning $473,000 for him and his associates overseas.
Green placed the bets over seven months before his arrest in December 2020.
He pleaded guilty in Newcastle district court to one count of using corrupt information to bet on an event and one count of knowingly dealing with the proceeds of crime.
A third charge of possessing the corrupt information and providing it to another person will be taken into account when Green is sentenced by Judge Peter McGrath later on Tuesday.
Green had been due to stand trial in June before pleading guilty to the two charges after prosecutors agreed to drop more than 60 other counts.
Defence barrister Benjamin Bickford said Green’s offending had been opportunistic and began after he innocently contacted a Ukrainian table tennis player on Facebook to try to get tips when he was unemployed.
Bickford said Green had a gambling problem at the time and agreed to set up a number of betting accounts in Australia for the Ukrainian player to bet on matches in Eastern Europe.
Green claimed he did not initially know the matches were fixed when making the bets but soon came to realise they must have been as there was no way the Ukrainian “could be that lucky”.
He had been trying to supplement his unemployment benefits with gambling, but the Covid-19 pandemic had shut down many international sports.
“[Green] was a person who, it seems sadly like a lot of people who are fortunate to play sport professionally, at least in this country, had come to an end to their career and found themselves a bit lost,” Bickford said.
“He spent several years without much direction and had little to fall back on once his career finished in about 2013, only to have his only means of income taken away from him during the pandemic.
“It’s the context of those circumstances where he took advantage of this opportunity and one thing led to another and it’s accepted he became greedy.”
Crown prosecutor Caroline Dobraszczyk said there was no doubt Green was remorseful for what he had done, but he had to be jailed given the number of corrupt bets he had made.
Green, a former table tennis junior star who trained in Europe and was at one stage considered for a spot on the 2012 Australian Olympic team, placed 1,170 bets between 6 May and 15 December in 2020, generating profits of about $473,000.
He personally pocketed about $50,000 from 63 bets on 39 matches.
Between June and December 2020, Green also used his own bank account to transfer $190,000 from the profits to associates in Ukraine.
Green was arrested in December 2020 after NSW detectives, with the help of Sport Integrity Australia, set up a strike force to investigate a transnational gambling syndicate placing corrupt bets.