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16 Dec, 2019 12:15

Top tennis ace among 135 players suspected in massive match-fixing scam – reports

Top tennis ace among 135 players suspected in massive match-fixing scam – reports

A men's tennis star in the world’s top 30 is among those suspected in a huge match-fixing investigation, according to reports in Germany. Investigators believe the scandal could involve around 135 players in total.

Reports by German news outlets ZDF and Die Welt at the weekend revealed that investigations are continuing into a “unique” betting scam supposedly orchestrated by an Armenia mafia group.

Die Welt reports that among the 135 players suspected of involvement is a German player as well as one tennis ace currently inside the ATP top 30 and who has won several titles on the tour.

Investigations have been proceeding for more than a year in countries including Belgium, Spain, France and the US, the outlet states.

"This is about the network of an Armenian betting mafia that has spread across seven countries in Europe and that has been highly intelligent and cheated on a large scale," said Eric Bisschop, deputy prosecutor general in Belgium and an investigator involved in the case.

Also on rt.com Ukrainian tennis twins handed life bans for match-fixing

Argentine player Marco Trungelliti, who has previously blown the whistle on match-fixing to the ITF, said: "There are professionals in the top 50 in the world who have manipulated games. You cannot say that there is only cheating at lower levels, no, it happens at all levels."

The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) has issued bans against more than 20 players, men and women, this year, Die Welt notes.

In January, police in Spain arrested 15 people as part of an investigation into match-fixing by an Armenian gang.

Also on rt.com 15 arrested as Spanish police move in on tennis match-fixing ring

More than 80 people were implicated in the investigation, while one of those arrested was Spanish tennis player Marc Fornell-Mestres.

Tennis is seen as an attractive sport for betting scams due to the number of variables, from match results down to aspects such as aces and double faults.    

Results from the current investigation are set to be announced in the next few months, Die Welt reported.