Spanish police arrest 53 alleged “betting mules” after Interpol probe

The organisation is believed to have intercepted satellite signals.
The organisation is believed to have intercepted satellite signals.

Those arrested are suspected of facilitating sports betting manipulation.

Spain.- The national police force of Spain says it’s arrested 53 people following an Interpol investigation of a criminal organisation that allegedly committed sports betting fraud. Those arrested are suspected of having served as “betting mules” by providing access to their own betting accounts to a criminal group that obtained early access to sports results by intercepting satellite signals.

The arrests were made in Madrid and Guadalajara following an investigation by Europol, Interpol and the Spanish tax agency from January 29 to February 1. The network involved is believed to have bet on matches in football, tennis and table tennis in more than 20 countries, including Bolivia, Bulgaria, Romania, Russia and Ukraine.

Those arrested allegedly sold their personal information and betting account details to the criminal network. The criminal group is believed to have used the credentials of over 1,500 betting accounts to place large bets on matches. They are believed to have made around €2m in winnings by accessing live signals before betting houses in order to place winning bets.

The suspects face charges related to their involvement in a criminal organisation, defrauding gambling operators and money laundering.

Last year, Spain’s national police force announced an agreement to investigate possible match-fixing identified by the country’s gambling regulator, the DGOJ. It will be able to access the regulator’s Global Betting Market Research Service (SIGMA), which is used to report potential betting fraud and manipulation of sports.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has reached a five-year agreement with the Ministry of the Interior’s General Police Directorate to allow criminal investigations using SIGMA. The police force will be allowed to access SIGMA data and will investigate the alerts raised.

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