Spanish Police Link 28 Tennis Players to Match-Fixing Ring

MADRID — The Spanish police say 28 skilled tennis gamers, together with one who participated in final yr’s United States Open, have been linked to a global organized group accused of fixing matches.

Authorities stated on Thursday that the gamers tainted outcomes after taking bribes from an Armenian ring that was dismantled in October. Fifteen folks have been arrested on the time, together with a number of the tennis gamers.

Eleven homes have been raided, and the police seized luxurious automobiles, a shotgun, bank cards and 167,000 euros, or about $192,000.

It was not clear whether or not the participant who took half within the U.S. Open was amongst these detained.

The police accused the Spaniard Marc Fornell-Mestres, whose highest profession singles rating was 236th in 2007, of appearing because the hyperlink between gamers and the Armenian ring that bribed them for betting functions.

No different names have been instantly disclosed by authorities.

Fornell-Mestres, 36, was provisionally suspended from skilled tennis on the finish of final yr, in accordance to the Tennis Integrity Unit, which stated the suspension associated to an investigation into “alleged breaches of the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program.” Fornell-Mestres was ranked 1,007th in singles and 772nd in doubles on the finish of 2018.

It was a warning by the Tennis Integrity Unit in 2017 that prompted Spanish authorities to start the investigation.

The police stated the organized group bribed the gamers to assure predetermined outcomes and used the identities of hundreds of residents to place worldwide bets on the matches. Authorities stated members of the Armenian ring attended the matches to make sure the gamers complied with what was beforehand agreed.

The European Union regulation enforcement company Europol, which supported the operation led by Spanish authorities, stated at the very least 97 matches from the lower-tier Futures and Challenger tournaments have been mounted.

In whole, 83 folks have been implicated within the probe, together with the alleged leaders of the Armenian group. More than 40 financial institution accounts utilized by these allegedly concerned with the ring have been blocked by authorities.

The police are additionally investigating what they think are sturdy hyperlinks between a number of the suspects arrested in Spain and an Armenian-Belgian crime gang damaged up by the Belgium police final yr, additionally suspected of fixing tennis matches. In the Belgium case, the police in June introduced the arrest of 13 folks in Belgium and stated that the gang additionally focused lower-level tennis matches.

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