Dozens of tennis players face match-fixing probe by Spanish police

Dozens of tennis players face match-fixing probe by Spanish police

The arrests, which included one player who appeared at last year's US Open, follow an investigation into match-fixing by an organised Armenian criminal gang.

Although none of the players have been named, it is understood one of them competed in last year's US Open.

The European Sport Security Association has frequented listed tennis as the sport with the most suspicious betting alerts in its reports.

The Civil Guard said in a statement 15 people had been arrested, including the leaders of the criminal organisation, while a further 68 people have been investigated.

Luxury vehicles, a shotgun, credit cards and 167,000 euros (£151,000) in cash were seized.

Authorities said on Thursday the players fixed results after taking bribes from the Armenian ring.

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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.

Fornell-Mestres was provisionally suspended from the sport at the end of a year ago. No other names had been immediately disclosed by authorities. At least 42 bank accounts were frozen.

The investigation was triggered in 2017 when the Tennis Integrity Unit reported irregular activity during the International Tennis Federation (ITF) Futures and Challenger tournaments, the lower-tier professional tennis competitions.

"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 global level".

Match-fixing has been a prominent issue in tennis recently, with Belgian prosecutors detaining 13 people in connection with the issue in June.

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