Tennis match-fixing gang 'dismantled in Spain'

Rex Christensen
January 13, 2019

"An organised crime group involved in manipulating professional tennis competitions was dismantled in an operation led by the Spanish Civil Guard and coordinated by the National High Court of Spain", Europol said in a statement.

News of the arrests came a day after the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) revealed that in 2018 more tennis players were disciplined for violations of anti-corruption rules than in any other year since the body's creation.

The operation involved searches at 11 different addresses in 9 different provinces of Spain, leading to the "seizure of 167,000 euros (192,000 US dollars) in cash as well as a handgun, stolen identity documents, jewelry, more than 50 electronic devices and five high-end vehicles".

Individuals allegedly used the identities of thousands of citizens to bet on matches, having bribed professional players to guarantee predetermined results.

Spanish Guardia Civil officers smashed the Armenian gang that had managed to tempt 28 professional players to accept bribes to fix matches in ITF Futures and Challenger tournaments.

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A total of 15 people were arrested, including some of the tennis players, after 11 houses were raided.

The investigation was triggered in 2017 when the global anti-corruption group, the Tennis Integrity Unit, complained about irregular activities related to pre-arranged matches in the ITF Futures and Challenger tournaments.

It wasn't clear if the player who took part in the US Open was among those detained.

The tennis corruption arrests follow this December's publication by the sport's 'Independent Review Panel - IRP' on combatting betting related integrity issues.

The Armenian gang bribed players into fixing matches, according to authorities. "They then gave the order for bets to be laid both nationally and internationally". Each player's match was attended by a member of the Armenian ring, who made sure the player complied with the agreement.

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