Soccer: Operation Conifer dismantles organization that rigged matches

The National Police, in a joint operation with Interpol and Europol, within the framework of the second phase of Operation Conifer, arrested 23 people allegedly incriminated in the fixing of football matches in the field of Real spanish soccer federation (RFEF), the Gibraltar National League and the Andorra League.

The arrests, including active members of the criminal organizationwere carried out in several provinces –Badajoz, Cádiz, Ciudad Real, Córdoba, Tenerife and in the Autonomous City of Ceuta– and are added to the 21 arrests that were made in the first phase of the operation.

Some of those arrested sold their gaming accounts so that the presumed members of the organization could make online bets in rigged matches, obtaining income of between 4,000 and 24,000 euros (85,000 and 490,000 pesos) per game account, according to the National Body of Police.

The investigation began after arrests and searches carried out after the first phase of the operation, in which 21 people were arrested in the provinces of Cádiz, Badajoz, Seville and Almería for alleged belonging to a criminal organization, corruption between individuals in the sports field and fraud against gambling operators.

Photo: Spanish National Police

The analysis of the data allowed the researchers to delve into the ‘modus operandi’ of the organization, identifying both football players who would have participated in the fixing of soccer matches as well as people who were in charge of opening online gaming accounts and bank accounts through which the organization’s money circulated. This system of creating accounts and transfers made it difficult to trace the capital and link those investigated.

The ‘modus operandi’ of the criminal organization consisted of four different phases. A first stage in which the sportsman It provided internal information on soccer teams, which gave members of the organization and bettors a competitive advantage in terms of knowledge of last-minute lineups, discards, the game system, and other aspects not publicly known.

In the second phase, the concert of rigs sports, creating encrypted communication groups formed by the leaders of the organization and the athletes to manage the manipulations and obtain great economic benefits.

During the third stage, sports bets were carried out both online and in person at bookmakers. When the bets were processed via ‘online’ they used different identities to avoid interrelation between the members of the criminal network and when they were made in person, the bets were executed for small amounts to prevent the subsequent collection of the prize from generating the issuance of certificates for the Public Treasury by the game rooms.

To finish the fraudulent actionsthe leaders of the organization distributed the profits generated during the bets between the athletes involved and the rest of the plot.