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 12 months’s United States Open, have been linked to a world organized group accused of fixing matches.

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

Eleven homes have been raided, and the police seized luxurious autos, 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 the authorities.

Fornell-Mestres, 36, was provisionally suspended from skilled tennis on the finish of final 12 months, in accordance to the Tennis Integrity Unit, which stated the suspension was 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 the Spanish authorities to start the investigation.

The police stated the organized group had bribed the gamers to assure predetermined outcomes and used the identities of 1000’s of residents to place worldwide bets on the matches. The authorities stated members of the Armenian ring had attended the matches to be sure that the gamers complied with what had been beforehand agreed on.

The European Union legislation enforcement company Europol, which supported the operation led by the Spanish authorities, stated no less than 97 matches from the lower-tier Futures and Challenger tournaments had been fastened.

In complete, 83 individuals have been implicated within the probe, together with these accused of being the leaders of the Armenian group. More than 40 financial institution accounts utilized by these accused of being concerned with the ring have been blocked by the authorities.

The police are additionally investigating what they believe are sturdy hyperlinks between a few of these arrested in Spain and an Armenian-Belgian crime gang, damaged up by the Belgian police final 12 months, that was additionally suspected of fixing tennis matches. In the Belgian case, the police introduced the arrests of 13 individuals in June and stated that the gang had additionally focused lower-level tennis matches.

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