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Tennis match-fixing investigation under way in Spain

Spanish police detain 15 people launch probe into match-fixing allegations in tennis Gonzalo Fuentes Reuters
Cary Erickson | 11 January, 2019, 10:11

Of the 83 people implicated in the case, 28 were professional tennis players including one, whose identity was not revealed, who competed at the 2018 US Open.

Authorities claim the group bribed athletes for betting purposes.

Spanish authorities have arrested 15 people in connection with an global ring accused of fixing tennis matches.

The Armenian gang used a professional tennis player as the link between them and other players.

Eleven house searches were carried out in Spain, with €167,000 (£151,000/$193,000) in cash seized, alongside a shotgun, five luxury vehicles, credit cards and relevant documents.

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It was not clear if the player who took part in the US Open was among those detained. But the European Sports Security Association, which tracks betting for bookmakers, has said tennis tops the list of sports linked to suspicious gambling, according to the BBC. Forty-two bank accounts have been frozen.

Police said the organised group bribed the players to guarantee predetermined results and used the identities of thousands of citizens to place worldwide bets on the matches.

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. 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 worldwide level.

Professional tennis' anti-corruption body past year complained about irregular activities at games, including prearranged matches, at the lower-tier ITF Futures and Challenger tournaments.

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