Tennis match-fixing ring under Spanish police investigation

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A massive tennis match-fixing ring has reportedly been busted after Spanish police arrested 15 people and investigated 68 more, including 28 professional tennis players, as part of a large-scale investigation. 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.

They confiscated €167,000 ($191,000) in cash, a shotgun, more than 50 electronic devices and five luxury vehicles, as well as other valuables.

A statement from Europol said: "A criminal group of Armenian individuals used a professional tennis player, who acted as the link between the gang and the rest of the criminal group".

Police accused Spaniard player Marc Fornell-Mestres, whose highest career singles ranking was 236th in 2007, of acting as the link between players and the Armenian ring that bribed them for betting purposes. It was a warning by the Tennis Integrity Unit in 2017 that prompted Spanish authorities to begin their investigation.

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

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The investigation had resulted in the freezing of 42 bank accounts and the confiscation of various properties.

Apart from allegedly bribing players, the suspects are accused of using identities of thousands of citizens to bet on the pre-arranged games.

Gang members would attend the matches to ensure the player complied with the prearranged results.

"In total 83 suspects were arrested, 28 of them are professional players", it added.

News of the arrests came a day after the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) revealed that in 2018 more tennis players were disciplined for violations of anti-corruption rules than in any other year since the body's creation.

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