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N4T Investigators: Basketball bribery - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Basketball bribery

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Recently unsealed documents are shedding new light into an ongoing bribery scandal involving the University of Arizona.

One assistant coach - Emanuel Richardson - was arrested on charges of bribery, fraud, and conspiracy. 

However,  News 4 Tucson Investigators have heard from another coach who may have been involved.

The Dinner

According to an FBI complaint the alleged bribery scheme began in the first few months of 2017.

On March 8, 2017,  Richardson and another unnamed UA coach sat down with a financial manager named Munish Sood at a Las Vegas restaurant. 

Also at that meeting was a confidential witness for the FBI.

The diner meeting lasted only a few minutes, but in a recorded conversation, Sood later told the witness the meeting had been "good" and that "the coaches are interested in definitely working with us."

The complaint also says Sood later had two more conversations with the unnamed assistant coach.

While the other unnamed coach was never arrested or identified by law enforcement officials. The complaint say he later left the University of Arizona.

The only coach who has left the UA recently is former Assistant Coach Joe Pasternack.

Pasternack is currently the head coach at UC Santa Barbara.

"Unfortunately I'm just concerned with our team right now our program and it wouldn't be appropriate to further comment on the case itself but I was shocked when I heard about the developments of what happened this past summer," said Pasternack.

Summer

After UA's season came to an end the FBI says Richardson's involvement in the growing scheme increased.

What unfolded was a plan to pay coaches for access to players. The coaches would then either keep the money for themselves or use it to sway recruits.

In all nearly a dozen coaches, financial managers, and agents were arrested by federal officials. Richardson was one of the most valuable, commanding a monthly payment of nearly $5,000.

In exchange for that money, Richardson agreed to funnel players to financial manager Munish Sood and sports manager Christian Dawkins.

Telling an undercover agent that while he used to recommend several agents he would now recommend only one.

"So from this point on I'm steadfast in terms of this is what you're doing and if you're not doing it I need to know what's going on. Cause when you give them 3 or 4 options, I'm telling you, they look like men but they're kids," said Richardson according to the complaint.

On June 20, 2017, Richardson received a cash payment of $5,000.

On July 20, 2017, Richardson received another cash payment of $15,000.

According to the complaint Richardson then gave that $15,000 to a University of Arizona recruit.

Other Involvement

Richardson was ultimately arrested in September along with nearly a dozen other coaches, sports agents, and financial managers.

However, the question of who knew what has loomed over college basketball ever since.

Sports Journalist Adam Zagoria was at Richardson's first federal court appearance.

"You know what does this mean for guys like Sean Miller at Arizona, Bruce Pearl at Auburn and other coaches like this. Either they knew what was happening, which is pretty bad or they didn't know about it at all and what does that say about their program that they didn't know this was going on, " said Zagoria.

According to some of the defendant's own testimony though, Miller and other head coaches may not have been involved.

Sports agent Christian Dawkins is quoted as saying "the head coach ain't willing to (take bribes) 'cause they're making too much money. And it's too risky.....better to work with an assistant coach - as opposed to a head coach because then you got direct access to the athletes."

Several UA players are also mentioned but not named in the complaint.

Player 4 received $15,000 in cash.

Richardson is described as saying he can funnel Players 6 and 7 to Dawkins and Sood.

And a another unnamed players is described as already having taken money.

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