28 tennis players investigated after police smash match fixing ring

Spain arrests 83 people including 28 players in fixing probe

The names of those arrested have not yet been disclosed, but it has been widely reported that one player participated in last September's US Open.

They confiscated €167,000 ($191,000) in cash, a shotgun, more than 50 electronic devices and five luxury vehicles, as well as other valuables.

The match-fixing organization had reportedly been operating since at least February 2017, while Europol said at least 97 ITF Futures and Challenger matches had been fixed.

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

The Spanish Civil Guard has arrested 83 people, including 28 professional players, following an investigation into match-fixing by an organised Armenian criminal gang, the European Union's Europol agency said on Thursday.

Authorities said the players tainted results after taking bribes from an Armenian ring that was dismantled in October.

"A group of Armenian individuals used a professional player who served as the link between them and the other members of the network", the statement said, adding that 42 bank accounts were also frozen.

The criminal group would then use the identities of thousands of citizens to bet on the games. Gang members attended the matches to ensure that the tennis players complied with what was previously agreed, and gave orders to other members of the group to go ahead with the bets placed at national and global level.

Match-fixing has been a prominent issue in tennis recently, with Belgian prosecutors detaining 13 people in connection with the issue in June.

Tennis may not be the first sport that comes to mind for sports fixing.

"The imbalance between prize money and the cost of competing places players in an invidious position by tempting them to contrive matches for financial reward", the report said.



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