Canberra: Six Australians, some of them tennis players, were on Friday arrested in connection with an alleged international tennis match-fixing ring.
It is believed the syndicate was based in Victoria and bet on matches in Australia and overseas, with the outcome of the game pre-determined by at least one of the players involved, reports Xinhua.
Tennis men's world number one Novak Djokovic. Pic/ Getty Images
The men were arrested in Melbourne and regional Victorian towns by detectives from the Purana Taskforce, which investigates organised crime syndicates.
The allegations of match fixing involve players at state, national and international levels.
The anti-organised crime taskforce Friday morning swooped on eight properties across the state, including houses in the Melbourne suburbs of Port Melbourne, Brighton, Daylesford, Bonbeach, Sandhurst, Black Rock and Cheltenham.
The arrests came as part of an investigation into an alleged betting syndicate with links reaching as high as international tennis matches, police said.
A police spokesperson said, however, the allegations did not involve matches played at the Australian Open, the first grand slam tournament of the year.
Investigators from the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit and Criminal Proceeds Squad were involved in the investigation.
A release from the Victorian police Friday stated the six men will be "interviewed in relation to match fixing contrary to the Crimes Amendment (Integrity in Sports) Act", including the use of corrupt conduct information for betting purposes.
"A 27-year-old from Brighton, 40-year-old from Daylesford, 28- year-old from Bonbeach, 29-year-old from Sandhurst, 27-year-old from Black Rock and a 26-year-old from Cheltenham are assisting police with their enquiries," the statement said.
Fairfax Media reported that tennis players were among those taken into custody.
The sport's peak organisation, Tennis Australia, released a statement Friday afternoon, stating that it took the allegations seriously and was "committed to upholding the integrity of the sport".
Ann West, manager of business compliance and risk, said Tennis Australia was fully cooperating with the authorities.
At a sports corruption symposium at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in May, keynote speaker, Canadian investigative journalist Declan Hill warned of "a tsunami of corruption going to hit Australian sport."
"The match fixing linked to the Asian gambling networks have destroyed most Asian sports," he said. "The sports fans of Asia, the gambling people, the fixers of Asia are now going to turn their attention to Australia."
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