Spanish authorities have arrested 83 people, including 28 professional tennis players, on account of bribery and match-fixing scheme linked to an Armenian organised crime gang. The development was brought forward by Spain's police. The news certainly doesn't make the right noise ahead of the calendar year's first grand slam -- Australian Open.
In 2017, Authorities launched the operation, codenamed Bitures when the Tennis Integrity Unit, an anti-corruption body, flagged irregular activities in the ITF Futures and Challengers tournaments. One of the suspects participated in the last US Open edition.
Europol, the European Union's law enforcement agency, which supported the Spanish operations, said, "The suspects bribed professional players to guarantee predetermined results and used the identities of thousands of citizens to bet on the pre-arranged games.
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," it added.
In October, Spain's semi-militarised Civil Guard raided 11 properties and seized 167,000 euros ($192,646) in cash, as well as a shotgun, credit cards, luxury vehicles and documents connected to the case. Authorities froze the assets of 42 bank accounts, the force claimed.
The Civil Guard revealed in a statement, "They would rig matches in order to place multiple and simultaneous bets on a national and international level." The investigation was coordinated by Spain's National Court.
About the Author
Aditya Sahay, a former cricket reporter/writer and statistician, has shifted gears to other sports (primarily badminton, tennis, kabaddi, hockey, golf etc). While cricket remains his first love, he enjoys covering and writing on kabaddi, hockey and tennis. He dons Germanys jersey during FIFA and believes Dhoni Dhoni hai, isko (aur) mauka mila toh bahut aage jayega