In one of the biggest and well-organized actions against the match-fixing in tennis (there was another one at the end of 2016), the Spanish police have arrested 83 people, including 28 players and one who competed at the last year's US Open!
The National High Court of Spain coordinated the action that was delivered by the Spanish Civil Guard and under the guidance of Europol, breaking a huge Armenian criminal group that used a player who served as the link between them (it was the Spaniard Marc Fornell-Mestres who was suspended at the end of 2018) and the other players on the lower-ranked events, Futures and Challengers.
The members of this network attended the matches to make sure that the corrupted player is doing everything according to the plan and give the green light to other members in order to place their bets from all over the world.
On the action day, the police searched 11 houses all over Spain, seizing a shotgun, €167,000 in cash, over 50 electronic devices, credit cards, luxury vehicles, also freezing 42 different bank accounts. Everything started back in 2017 when the Tennis Integrity Unit noticed irregular activities on Futures and Challengers and monitored pre-arranged encounters.
The report mentions at least 97 fixed matches and we are yet to find out the closest details and players names. This group is believed to be connected with the one that operated in Belgium and that was taken down in a similar action last year.
“Fifteen people have been arrested, among them the heads of the organization, and another 68 are under investigation,” the Civil Guard said in a statement. “Of those 83, 28 are professional tennis players who have either been detained or investigated – one of whom took part in the last US Open.
Our officers have proved the group had been operating since February 2017 and estimate that they had earned millions of euros through the operation. Those currently under arrest ran the money through different accounts before finally transferring it to those under their control, always using false names.
They are suspected of membership of a criminal organization, corrupting private individuals (in the sporting world), fraud, money laundering, illegal possession of firearms and identity theft”.