Seven French Players Arrested for Tennis Match-Fixing
Tennis match-fixing investigations are ramping up after the syndicate head was arrested in Belgium last June. At least seven players have been detained on tennis match-fixing allegations. According to reports, the man (a.k.a. the ‘Maestro’) was apprehended last June. The Maestro, real name Grigor Sargsyan, is facing charges of heading a huge gambling syndicate that targeted lower echelon tennis players. These professionals, including seven more players this week, allegedly threw multiple matches..
At least 17 professional players from France have been implicated. They have all admitted to accepting money after throwing matches intentionally. One player claimed to have fixed 20 matches and earned $34,000 in return. Belgian police are leading the investigation and have identified 137 players from more than six countries so far. Some players from the United States are also under suspicion. Currently, they are going over phone records obtained from Sargsyan.
Tennis Match-Fixing Investigation Could Get Assistance from FBI
Belgian police have reportedly requested help from the FBI for the case for the US players. They believe that the scheme was run through encrypted messages between Sargsyan and the players. What’s more, each player is believed to have earned between $570 and $3,400 per match. The Maestro also employed betting ‘mules’ to throw off watch dogs.
In addition to the investigation by police, the Independent Review Panel of the Tennis Integrity Unit released a report on tennis match-fixing. The unit claims that tennis had been overwhelmed by a tidal wave of corruption for lower level tournaments. They believe that the smaller prize pools led to temptation for cheating. More so, they claim that players on this level ‘barely break even’ financially.
The seven French players questioned verified these claims and cited an ‘inability to pay expenses’. It’s no wonder the Maestro could tempt so many. Of course, that’s no excuse to cheat and turn to tennis match-fixing. Still, breaking through to higher rankings could have been easier down the line with more money.