23 arrested in match-fixing probe in Spanish soccer
This Oct. 10, 2018, file photo shows the sun bouncing off the Europol headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
The Associated Press
Published Tuesday, January 31, 2023 8:51AM EST
MADRID (AP) - Nearly two-dozen people, including players, have been arrested as part of an investigation into match-fixing in lower-division soccer matches in Spain, Andorra and Gibraltar, authorities said Tuesday.
The European Union police agency Europol said those arrested are alleged members of a betting syndicate where “several footballers are suspected of having used their position to steer the outcome of games in which they participated in.”
Authorities said 30 games are under investigation, with profits from the betting estimated at more than 500,000 euros ($542,000).
The arrests were made in a joint operation by Europol, Interpol and Spanish police.
Europol said the arrests were made in November in several Spanish provinces and followed 21 arrests of members of the same organization in 2021.
Authorities said the organization had two leaders with close connections with players and team 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,” Europol said. “This organized 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.”