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Spanish police arrest 17 in match-fixing probe

| By Marese O'Hagan
Spanish police have arrested 17 people in connection with match-fixing activities related to the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

Among those arrested were managers and players of a third division RFEF team.

Spain’s national police carried out the arrests as part of a collaborative operation concerning the EU’s law enforcement agency Europol and sports association LaLiga.

The operations were carried out in Melilla and Granada. In total, 11 people were arrested in Melilla and six were arrested in Granada.

The investigation first began in February, when Spain’s General Directorate for the Regulation of Gambling (DGOJ) informed the police of a number of match-fixing alerts they had received.

The DGOJ’s suspicions were based on multiple bets being made from Melilla, on a number of specific football match results played by a Melilla-based team.

At this time LaLiga also came forward about suspicions that had been raised through its whistleblowing process. These reports focused on the Melilla team in question, specifically their previously suspected match-fixing activities and misuse of aid and subsidies.

Further investigation

Upon further investigation, the Spanish police uncovered a criminal network wherein the Melilla team president was found to have facilitated match-fixing activities. He was also alleged to have involved players in the scandal.

The police further allege that players used third parties to avoid being linked to bets placed and the matches that were played.

In addition, the Melilla club was found to be in receipt of grants that had been used fraudulently. The amounts it received had increased over time.

In total, seven football matches are currently being investigated. The possibility of further arrests has been ruled out. At this time, the police cannot estimate the total amount defrauded from operators.

In may, Spain’s national police said it would investigate potential betting fraud detected by the DGOJ. However, it has not been confirmed whether this is the same investigation.

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