Police break up massive betting scam over rigged tennis matches
Spanish police have dismantled an international criminal organisation which rigged tennis matches for at least two years and gained millions of pounds throu-gh a betting scam.
So far, there are 83 people under investigation, among which are 28 professional tennis players from the ITF Futures and Challenger categories.
They are suspected of offering bribes to rig tournaments to generate multiple and simultaneous sports bets nationally and internationally
Fifteen people have been arrested, including the heads of the organisation, and another 68 have been investigated.
Police say one of the 28 professional tennis players, either arrested or still being ivestigated, participated in the last US Open.
The operation was initiated as a result of a complaint filed by those responsible for the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU), an international anti-corruption body responsible for ensuring integrity in the world of tennis. The bets were placed by stealing the identity of unconnected individuals on the internet and hiding the money won on the bets in various bank accounts.
“A group of Armenian individuals used a professional tennis player who was the link between them and the rest of the members of the network,” said a police spokesman.
Some of the suspects would physically attend the matches once the bribes were in place to make sure the tennis player complied with the agreement.
Police have confirmed the organisation had been operating at least since February 2017, estimating that they generated millions in profits.
Eleven raids have been carried out in nine Spanish provinces, leading to the seizure of 167,000 euros in cash, a weapon, documentary proof of the usurped identities of people making the bets, more than 50 electronic devices, computers, jewellery pieces and handbags (they invested the profits in luxury objects), numerous credit cards of electronic accounts where they accumulated the income and five luxury vehicles.
More than 40 bank accounts have also been blocked, together with a number of properties.
“Betting on the internet is a growing phenomenon that moves large sums of money, especially those related to sports,” said the police spokesman.