Spain arrests 83 people, including 28 players, in fixing probe

Spanish authorities arrest 28 tennis players in match-fixing probe

Spanish authorities arrest 28 tennis players in match-fixing probe

"They would rig matches in order to place multiple and simultaneous bets on a national and global level", the Civil Guard said in a statement.

"Once the bribe had been paid, the Armenians went to the match venues to use their imposing muscle to make sure that the player kept their end of the deal".

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

The Armenian gang used a professional tennis player as the link between them and other players. One of those played in last year's U.S. Open.

Spanish police conducted 11 raids on houses as part of the operation, leading to 15 arrests, including a number of players.

A total of 83 people have been implicated 28 of them are professional tennis players playing in the ITF Futures and Challenger categories. Law enforcement began to investigate a Spanish player, which led to the Armenian group.

Spanish authorities arrested 83 people, including 28 professional tennis players, suspected of being involved in a bribery and match-fixing scheme linked to an Armenian organised crime gang, Spain's police and Europol said on Thursday.

More than 40 bank accounts and their balances have been frozen too.

The investigation, codenamed Operation Bitures, started in 2017 when the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) an global anti-corruption body, made a complaint about a Spanish tennis player, who has not been named.

It described the current tennis environment as "a lamentably fertile breeding ground for breaches of integrity", in particular the lowest rungs of the professional game.

Of the 400 match specific alerts flagged up by betting organisations to the TIU in 2018, 91 per cent were generated at the lowest and mid-levels of the sport, where prize money is minimal compared to what is on offer on the main Tours.

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