Spanish National Police, in an operation supported by Europol, have made multiple arrests as part of an investigation into the fixing of football matches, including one between two La Liga premier division teams for a Champions league spot.
More than ten arrests have been confirmed so far for “match-fixing, money-laundering and criminal organisation,” according to police, who posted a video of a raid against suspects on Tuesday.
Arrests were carried out in Huesca, Madrid, Valladolid, La Coruña and Malaga. In addition, €100 000 in cash was seized
According to police sources, several footballers have been arrested, including former Real Madrid player Raúl Bravo; Borja Fernández, of Real Valladolid; Carlos Aranda, formerly of Seville, and Íñigo López Montaña, formerly of Deportivo La Coruña and Huesca.
After selecting the matches to fix and approaching players to take part in the scam, the criminal organisation then placed combined bets on half-time results or on the number of corners.
Once the match-fixing deal had been organised, a cash payment was made in two instalments, one before the game and the other once the agreed result had been achieved.
Up to seven players from Valladolid are accused of fixing the match between their team and Valencia on the final day of the season. According to Spanish media, investigators also uncovered plans to ‘determine’ the outcome of the match that decided the fourth and final place in the Champions League between Valencia and Getafe.
In conversations recorded by the police, one of those involved, Carlos Aranda, allegedly gave instructions to rig the match: “Look, brother, who wins first and second part of Valencia, right? There were seven players bought, nothing more,” he is heard to say on the recording.
One match under investigation in the second division indicated unusual betting patterns with volumes of money” up to 14 times higher than normal for this division,” according to police.
In a statement Spanish football authorities said: La Liga wants to highlight the extraordinary work done by the National Police for the dismantling of an organized group that has been conducting a criminal activity dedicated to obtaining economic benefits through the predetermination of football matches in the national territory.”
It added: “La Liga will continue working on the prevention, monitoring, investigation and reporting on any alert on a possible match-fixing in order to maintain cleanliness in football.”