As many as 83 suspects, including 28 professional players, were arrested by the Spanish Civil Guard as they dismantled an organised crime group involved in manipulating professional tennis competitions.
The operation, led by the Spanish Civil Guard, was coordinated by the National High Court of Spain and supported by Europol.
The investigation was triggered in 2017 when the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) denounced irregular activities related to pre-arranged matches in the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures and Challenger tournaments.
The suspects bribed professional players to guarantee predetermined results and used the identities of thousands of citizens to bet on the pre-arranged games. 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.
Once they bribed the players, the Armenian network 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 international level.
On the action day, 11 house searches were carried out in Spain in which EUR 167 000 in cash was seized, alongside a shotgun, over 50 electronic devices, credit cards, five luxury vehicles and documentation related to the case. Furthermore, 42 bank accounts and their balances have been frozen.
Europol supported the investigation by providing continued analytical support. On the action day, three Europol experts were deployed to Spain to provide on-the-spot assistance including real-time cross-checks, IT forensic support, and data analysis during the operation. (ANI)