Spanish police’s second swoop on match-fixing criminal gang sees 23 new arrests


January 31 – Spanish police have released more detail of 23 arrests, including football players, as part of a probe into suspected match-fixing in lower league football in Spain, Andorra and Gibraltar. There are currently 30 matches under further investigation for fixing.

The suspects were arrested in November last year in Badajoz, Cadiz, Ciudad Real, Cordoba, Tenerife and in Ceuta after 21 other members of the same criminal organisation were apprehended a year earlier in Operation Conifera, a joint mission between the Spanish police, Europol and Interpol.

“A second layer of the scam comprised soccer players who took advantage of their position to organise the fixing in the teams under their influence,” said police.

“A total of 30 football matches are currently being investigated in this case,” said Interpol in a statement. “The profits generated are estimated at over €500,000.”

“The criminal organisation operated a top-down operational business model. At the top of the criminal structure were the two leaders of this criminal gang who had close connections with football players and backroom staff. The intermediaries were responsible for the coordination of the match-fixing schemes, while the corrupted athletes would provide confidential information in order to influence matches.

“This organised crime group also relied on mules who would place sports bets at bookmakers and collect the prize money, and a network of procurers responsible for providing identities for online betting on rigged matches. The procurers were paid between €4,000 and €24,000 per online account.”

The Betting Market Global Investigation Service (SIGMA) and European governing body UEFA’s Anti-Match-Fixing Unit provided support in the investigation.

None of the players arrested have identified.

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