Spanish Football Match Fixing Probe Leaves 23 Behind Bars
Twenty-three people, including players, have been arrested as part of an investigation into match-fixing in lower-division football matches in Spain, Andorra and Gibraltar, authorities revealed this week.
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.”
The Spanish authorities said 30 games are under investigation, with profits from the betting estimated at more than 500,000 euros.
The international operation was known as Operation Conifera was coordinated by Europol, Interpol and the Spanish National Police.
🚨 23 arrested in Spanish football match-fixing probe.
⚽ Known as Operation #Conifera, this investigation into match-fixing was carried out by 🇪🇸 @policia in cooperation with Europol & @INTERPOL_HQ.
Details ⤵️https://t.co/939nfwGTyT pic.twitter.com/2O5Jvj4hIb
— Europol (@Europol) January 31, 2023
Europol said the arrests were made in November in several Spanish provinces and followed 21 arrests of members of the same organization in 2021.
The arrests took place in November 2022 in several Spanish provinces – Badajoz, Cádiz, Ciudad Real, Córdoba, Tenerife and in the autonomous city of Ceuta – and follow the arrest of 21 other members of the same criminal organisation in 2021.
According to the Europol press statement the criminal organisation operated a top-down operational business model.
At the top of the criminal structure were the leaders whose relationship with football players and ground and club staff was critical.
There were then a series of intermediaries who were responsible for the coordination of the match-fixing schemes, while players supplied confidential information in order to influence match results.
At the bottom were the mules who placed the bets at bookmakers and collected the prize money, which included an elaborate scheme for providing false online betting identities.
Europol’s support was central in the development of the Spanish investigation. A specialised officer was deployed to Spain to provide on-the-spot operational and analytical support to the national investigators.
“Europol has a team of experts working with law enforcement authorities across the EU to identify links between suspicious matches and suspects, and to uncover the organised crime groups orchestrating these multi-million-euro frauds against sport.”
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