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Betting Debt May Be Behind Assassination of Colombian Soccer Club President –



Posted on: September 27, 2023, 06:56h. 

Last updated on: September 27, 2023, 06:56h.

clubThis past Saturday, after the Colombian soccer team Tigres FC suffered its latest defeat, unidentified assailants went after the club’s president. They murdered Edgar Paez in cold blood, and, although the motive is still unclear, some believe the hit may have been the result of outstanding sports betting debt.

The late Tigres FC President Edgar Paez in a club photo
The late Tigres FC President Edgar Paez in a club photo. Unidentified assassins murdered him following a game this past Saturday. (Image: Noticias Caracol)

Paez was murdered Saturday after being shot by hitmen after his club’s 3-2 defeat to Atlético FC, according to local media outlet El Tiempo. The team has been playing poorly lately, and of the last four matches, they won only one.

Once the match was over, Paez was leaving the stadium with his wife and daughter when two hitmen suddenly appeared on a motorcycle. They fired three shots (other reports said four shots) at him, hitting him in the chest, the neck and the head. His daughter wasn’t hit.

After the attack, emergency personnel transferred Paez to a local hospital, where he arrived with almost no vital signs. After multiple attempts to save his life, he died a few hours later.

Theories Emerge

Paez had been president of the club for several years and was also a recognized man promoting soccer in Colombia. The club’s leader had just capitalized the team, reporting its value at COP700 million (US$171,850). He held a 49% stake and the rest was distributed among his family and friends.

He was also on the board of directors of the Independiente de Santa Fe club, where the first possible links arose that may have something to do with this weekend’s attack. Although there has been no clear evidence that he had any involvement in sports betting, two presidents of clubs in the first division of Colombian soccer told the media outlet that he did.

Before taking over Tigres FC seven years ago, Paez was a detective for the Administrative Department of Security. The former state security service agency was dissolved in 2011.

The current president of Santa Fe, Eduardo Méndez, approached Paez to be a possible investor of that club during his first time at the club, according to local media outlets. That was between 2004 and 2007, and, at that time, money from drug trafficking was allegedly entering the club.

In 2010, police busted a criminal group that had used the club to launder money for its drug operations. Among those the authorities arrested were several known criminals, including one who had served a sentence for drug trafficking in the US.

Several members of the group have since been murdered in gang-style ambushes. This makes the list of attackers in the Paez shooting much longer, with almost his entire life’s history now generating suspects.

Investigation Continues

Those closest to Paez, including his wife, other relatives and friends, deny all suggestions that the attack was related to illegal activity. They assert that Paez wasn’t involved in anything dirty or shady, and that he was an upstanding member of the community and of the soccer ecosystem.

The authorities might soon be able to better understand what led to the assassination. As they launched their investigation, they were able to identify at least a dozen public surveillance cameras that are providing clues. Some have already produced positive results.

The police have been able to identify the motorcycle that the assailants used in the cold-blooded attack. They also have begun to narrow the field of possible suspects. Therefore, the assassins may be captured within weeks, at which time they might be able to shed light on the attack.

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