TENNIS

Tennis: Argentina’s Coria handed 8-month ban for failing to report fixing approach

Meanwhile, a sixth Armenian has been arrested as part of an international investigation into match-fixing in tennis.

Argentina’s Federico Coria, world No 301, has received an eight-month ban for failing to report a suspect approach in 2015, the BBC reported.

Six out of those eight months are ‘suspended’, provided the 26-year-old does not further breach the Tennis Anti-Corruption Program, added the report. That means Coria can resume playing from 12 August.

The Argentine was offered money to lose a set at a Futures tournament in Italy three years ago but did not intimate authorities about that. An investigation found Coria did not accept any money or “take action to comply with the corrupt approach”.

Sixth Armenian arrested

A sixth Armenian has been charged in Belgium with corruption, money laundering and other crimes as part of an international investigation into match-fixing in tennis, Belgian prosecutors said Thursday.

The sixth man was arrested on a warrant issued on Wednesday, a week after the five others, the federal prosecutor’s office said.

“He is charged with corruption, money laundering, forgery, membership of a criminal organisation and violations of the legislation about gambling,” it said in a statement.

Unlike the five others, the Armenian national identified as 32-year-old Karen H. received an additional charge of gambling violations.

The first five accused were among 13 people who were detained in Belgium on June 5 during a series of simultaneous raids also carried out in the United States, Germany, France, Bulgaria, Slovakia and the Netherlands. Eight of the 13 detainees were released.

No details have emerged from the other raids which were part of an international probe into an Armenian-Belgian criminal network suspected of bribing players to throw games over the last four years.

Belgian prosecutors said the matches were on the low-level Futures and Challenger circuits, away from the gaze of television coverage and where meagre prize money leaves players susceptible to backhanders.

Prosecutors say the probe showed the criminal network worked to bribe professional tennis players to fix matches and fraudulently boost the winnings of bettors who knew.

Belgian authorities, who were first alerted to suspicious betting activity in 2015, said the criminal network “would not shrink from violence.”

It also used its contacts to move large sums of money abroad anonymously, they added.

In April, the Independent Review of Integrity in Tennis, the London-based global corruption watchdog, warned that the lower levels of the sport were engulfed in betting-related corruption.

The report said the problems stemmed from too many players in the likes of the Futures and Challenger circuits not earning enough to make a living, coupled with the rise of online betting.

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