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November 20, 2009

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Corruption probe leads to arrests in Europe

GERMAN authorities and police elsewhere have arrested an undisclosed number of people suspected of fixing matches in major European football leagues.

The arrests, in Germany and abroad, came as part of an investigation into match-fixing supported by UEFA, according to a statement by the prosecutor's office in Bochum.

The probe has been under way since the beginning of the year and has targeted an international gang suspected of wide-ranging match-fixing.

The gang is suspected of bribing players, coaches, referees and officials in "high-ranking European leagues" to manipulate games in order to make money on betting, the statement said yesterday.

It said raids were conducted in Germany and Europe yesterday and that a large number of arrests were made. No other details were given.

UEFA said it was aware of yesterday's action, adding that it had been "working closely with German authorities through its betting fraud detection system for monitoring irregular betting patterns.

"While the investigation is ongoing UEFA does not wish to comment on a particular case," it said.

The Berlin newspaper Morgenpost reported that games in the Turkish top division were suspected of being manipulated and that the probe by Bochum investigators targeted 100 people. The newspaper said five people were arrested yesterday.

Quoting Berlin security sources, the newspaper said the gang apparently operated from Germany and that its boss apparently lived in Berlin. Spiegel TV reported that some of the suspected gang members were convicted in the German match-fixing scandal in 2005.

German referee Robert Hoyzer was convicted of fraud and sentenced to 29 months in prison after admitting he had manipulated games mostly in German lower divisions.


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