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EXCLUSIVE: West Ham’s own sponsor Betway reported suspicious activity that prompted FA probe into Lucas Paqueta after spike in bets from near Rio de Janeiro on him to be booked against Aston Villa in March

Matt Hughes and Kieran Fill, Dailymail

West Ham’s shirt sponsor Betway were responsible for reporting the suspicious betting patterns that caused the collapse of Lucas Paqueta’s proposed £85million transfer to Manchester City this week amidst an FA probe into alleged breaches of gambling rules. 

Mail Sport has learned that Betway’s integrity alert system was triggered by a series of bets they received on the Brazilian midfield player to be booked in West Ham’s Premier League match against Aston Villa on 12 March, which they immediately reported to the International Betting Integrity Association (IBIA), a global group of hundreds of bookmakers responsible for policing irregular betting in the gambling industry.

Paqueta was shown a yellow card with 14 minutes remaining of the 1-1 draw at the London Stadium, leaving Betway liable to pay out the winning bets. After receiving the integrity alert the IBIA reported the matter to FIFA who then passed it on the FA, who have begun their own investigation.

The suspicious bets in question are understood to been traced to Paqueta Island in Guanabara Bay, near Rio de Janeiro, which is where Paqueta grew up. Whilst their main offices are in London, Malta, Guernsey and Cape Town, Betway have a market presence in Brazil, where they take a large number of bets on football and Esports in particular.

Although the precise figures remain unknown the volume of money staked on Paqueta to be booked against Aston Villa appears to have been significant as his price to receive a yellow card had collapsed to odds-on before kick-off, despite the fact that he had only been booked three times previously by that stage of the season. The 25-year-old was subsequently booked by Chris Kavanagh for a late challenge on John McGinn, the only booking of the game.

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