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The 'cooperative' of soccer players that won 500,000 euros betting on the matches they fixed

2022-06-29T03:26:41.184Z

Operation Conifer results in 21 detainees, 12 of them players from six modest teams. More than 20 encounters are under suspicion



Agents of the National Police, Europol and Interpol, during Operation Conifer, in an image provided by Interior.

The sports betting scheme dismantled last week by the National Police worked in a very similar way to that of a footballers' cooperative: its members took advantage of their status as active players from modest clubs in Andalusia and Gibraltar to fix the matches in which they participated while , in parallel, they bet in a coordinated and fraudulent way through intermediaries to win thousands of euros, according to the investigation.

Those responsible for the investigations estimate that, from the first allegedly rigged game, in May 2021, until the arrests occurred, the network pocketed 500,000 euros in profit.

In total, more than 20 meetings are under suspicion, the sources consulted point out.

Operation Conifer already has 21 arrested,

The investigations began after detecting the General Directorate of Gambling Regulation (DGOJ), dependent on the Ministry of Consumption, a suspicious betting movement around the match played on May 5 last year by two teams from Group X of the then called Third.

The last days of the season were played, one of the moments that police experts consider more prone to fixes, since many teams do not play anything and there is a risk that soccer players lend themselves to this type of fraud.

The alerts were triggered because four people had bet on the same result twice each and for the same amount on a website late at night.

All were winners and pocketed a total of 22,000 euros, according to the sources consulted.

Those suspicious bets launched an investigation by the National Police Center for Integrity in Sports and Gambling (Cenpida, attached to the Central Unit for Specialized and Violent Crime), specialized in this type of crime, which led to arrests last week. and records by order of a court in Sanlúcar de Barrameda (Cádiz).

This group was the one that, in May 2019, carried out the so-called Operation Oikos that uncovered an alleged network of First, Second and Third match-fixing, in which former soccer players Raúl Bravo and Carlos Aranda appeared as alleged leaders, a case that still is being instructed in a court in Huesca.

The investigations around that match in May of last year allowed the Police to focus the investigation on two people as alleged leaders of the plot.

One was Adrián R., inside left for CD Rota, a team from the same group of the Tercera in which the first match was detected.

The second, a friend of his who, although he was not a footballer, had friendly ties with active players in modest teams, in addition to having been related to Atlético Sanluqueño, a team that will play in the Second RFEF next season after being relegated from category this year and to which several arrested belonged.

This last detainee also had experience in the field of gambling, where he had exercised what is known in jargon as a

tipster

—betting advisor— before allegedly turning to the activity of the plot.

He was in charge, presumably, of managing the bets of the rest of the members of the network.

For these two ringleaders, the judge ordered that they be jailed on bail.

Next to them, but in a second step, were 11 players from Andalusian or Gibraltarian teams, who were in charge of rigging on the field of play the matches on which they themselves bet using intermediaries, despite the fact that they are prohibited from doing so. do it in the category in which they participate.

To do so without raising suspicions on Internet pages, they used false profiles opened after usurping the identity of other people.

To play in person at bookmakers, the network sent people to make them - the so-called

mules

in criminal jargon -, who received a small amount as payment.

The other eight detainees are, precisely,

mules

, detailed sources close to the investigation.

To earn money with fixed matches, the plot usually made what is known as simple bets, that is, on a single match and on the final result of the match or, in some cases, also on the scoreboard at half-time.

However, on other occasions the detainees made the so-called combined bets so as not to arouse suspicion.

To do this, in addition to betting on the match whose result they had rigged, they also did so in First and Second matches in which the final result was predictable and, therefore, difficult to miss.

The Police have detected that the members of the plot even bet on the result of friendly matches.

Sources close to the investigation highlight the "hermetic" nature of the plot, in which only the players who were part of it could bet.

However, the investigations are now directed to find out if other footballers, not belonging to the dismantled network, were able to participate in the fixes in exchange for receiving financial compensation.

To do this, the agents are analyzing the numerous electronic devices, such as mobile phones and computer equipment, seized in the records of detainees.

The researchers also hope to know through these devices when the fraud goes back, suspecting that when the first alerts went off, in May 2021, they had been operating for some time.

If these suspicions are confirmed, the money that the members of this soccer

cooperative

allegedly pocketed would exceed half a million estimated so far.

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Source: elparis

All sports articles on 2022-06-29

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