Spanish police have arrested nine current and former football players in relation to an alleged match-fixing ring on Tuesday.
Two more players are expected to be detained, with Getafe attacking midfielder Samu Saiz being one of them.
According to COPE, the Spaniard was questioned by police in Ibiza, where he is currently on holiday.
Former Real Madrid star Raul Bravo including Borja Fernandez, Carlos Aranda, and Inigo Lopez have all been arrested and they are all investigated for possible match-fixing of three games from the first, second and third divisions in Spain.
Raul Bravo, he has been described by El Mundo as the suspected ringleader of a criminal organisation dedicated to gambling-motivated match-fixing of Spanish first and second division games.
As Servimedia informed, the police operation was launched after a LaLiga complaint was filed in May.
Huesca president Agustin Lasaosa, as well as the club’s head of medical services, Juan Carlos Galindo, were also arrested and the detainees are accused of belonging to a criminal organisation, corruption and money laundering.
Police have revealed that a suspicious game – most probably between Huesca and Gimnastic de Tarragona – registered bets up to 14 times higher than usual.
“There are nine people in detention, as the operation is still open and is directed by the Huesca investigative court No.5, while the proceedings are secret and we cannot provide more information,” said the police general director, Francisco Pardo.
“We are working on a very significant number of operations that have to do with these networks and they usually require a lot of work time and a lot of collaboration with LaLiga and the RFEF [Spanish Football Federation], but we are getting great results.
The authorities through it spokesman later issued a full statement saying:
‘National Police officers are carrying out an operation against an organisation allegedly dedicated to professional football match-fixing.
‘As part of Operation Oikos, directed by Court of Investigation Number Five in the city of Huesca, nine searches will be carried out in different parts of the country in relation with the crimes of sports match-fixing, money laundering and criminal organisation.
‘Eleven people are expected to be arrested, among them active and retired first division football players, second division footballers who are still playing, as well as the presidents and heads of a club.
‘The investigation has enabled investigators to confirm that those under investigation reached agreements with different players to fix at least three matches in the first, second and third divisions.
‘The match-fixing that was attempted in the third division game failed but the players involved agreed to compensate the losses by repeating in the future.
‘One of the match fixes, a second division game, led to betting firms seeing a 14-fold increase in the amount of money that was being wagered compared with normal volumes for this division.’
The force also explained in its statement how the fixing took place, from the selection of games which were ideally at the start or end of the season through to the process of recruitment.
The spokesman said:
‘The preference was for targeting one of the captains. Once they agreed to the match-fixing, the money was always paid in cash and in two stages, one before the game and once after the game when the required result had been achieved.’
Valencia‘s match away at Valladolid, which they won 2-0 on the final day of the season to finish fourth in La Liga, was the ‘final trigger that led to all the arrests that are taking place today,’ according to Spanish crime reporter Nacho Abad.
Abad revealed on Tuesday:
‘On the last day of the La Liga season on May 18, a match involving a team which will play Champions League football next season (Valencia) was allegedly fixed.’
Diverting any blame away from Valencia, who on Saturday beat Barcelona to lift the Copa del Rey, Abad added: ‘It wasn’t a game that was allegedly fixed between clubs. What we’re talking about is players and ex-players who allegedly fixed the match to earn money from betting sites.
‘Borja Fernandez, an ex-Real Madrid player is an ex-Valladolid player who only left the club a week ago and started the match that day as captain.’
He added: ‘Let’s suppose the captain has let himself be influenced by bets, it doesn’t mean that the whole team would play worse, so we’ll have to see if there are more arrests later today and in coming days.’
The detainees are expected to be in court in Huesca on Wednesday or Thursday, where the court coordinating the investigation is based. Police have 72 days to hold them before handing them over to the judiciary.