Spanish authorities arrest 28 tennis players in match-fixing probe

Spanish authorities arrest 28 tennis players in match-fixing probe

Spanish authorities arrest 28 tennis players in match-fixing probe

Their identity has not been revealed.

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.

A total of €167,000 ($192,000) in cash was seized during the raids, along with credit cards, luxury vehicles and a shotgun.

Europol said the players were among 83 people detained by Spain's civil guard, known as Guardia Civil, among them a tennis player who participated in the U.S. Open previous year. Authorities said on Thursday the players tainted results after taking bribes from an Armenian ring that was dismantled in October.

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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.

Police accused Spaniard player Marc Fornell-Mestres, whose highest career singles ranking was 236th in 2007, of acting as the link between players and the Armenian ring that bribed them.

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.

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According to BBC, the Civil Guard added that "once they got the bribe, the Armenian members went to the places where the matches were being played to make sure the player went through with what they had agreed, making the most of their imposing size". More than 40 bank accounts used by those allegedly involved with the ring were blocked by authorities.

European Union law enforcement agency Europol, which supported the operation led by Spanish authorities, says at least 97 matches from lower-tier "Futures" and "Challenger" tournaments were fixed.

None of the arrested people has been named.

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