Feds drop inquiry of Top Rank honcho
The 2½ year probe into the business dealings of Top Rank and its CEO Bob Arum is at end and no indictments are forthcoming. An FBI sting operation, a raid of the Top Rank’s offices in Las Vegas, and a 20 month investigation revealed that there was nothing illegal going on.
“I’m gratified, ecstatic,” Arum told the LA Times. “I understand that the government has to investigate when there are allegations, but I knew from the get-go that we had done nothing wrong. A great weight is off my back.”
The investigation began when a 2002 Top Rank card at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim involving light-heavyweight Joey Torres, a 41-year-old convicted murderer who’d been paroled and was making a comeback, KO’d Perry Williams 39 seconds into the second round. Cries of dive were heard throughout the state.
A New York City detective, Frank Manzione, who went by the name Big Frankie, spent 20 months allegedly wiretapping Las Vegas boxing figures, and Top Rank offices were raided in January 2004 amid allegations of fixed fights, tax fraud, phony medical reports, etc.
The Justice Department’s organized crime and racketeering section in Washington took over the investigation from Big Frankie, but found the evidence either tainted or insufficient to take the case to the grand jury.
“Competitors will always use something like that against you,” Arum said in response to the good news. “They would tell people, ‘You don’t want to do business with them because they are going to be indicted.'”
But, “All’s well that ends well,” Arum said. “I’m not bitter, not angry. In any other country, if the government spent this much time and this much effort, they would find something or create something.”