Europol arrests 53 of an organization that fixed events and defrauded betting houses


Europol supported the Spanish National Police (Policía Nacional) in an investigation that led to the arrest of 53 suspects in Madrid and Guadalajara, in Spain.

The suspects acted as “betting mules” for a criminal organisation fixing sports events and defrauding betting houses. The operation took place from 29 January to 1 February and was also supported by Interpol and the Spanish Tax Agency (Agencia Tributaria).

According to Spanish authorities, the criminal network fixed football, tennis and table tennis matches in more than 20 countries, including Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia and Bolivia. The suspects sold their personal data and betting platform account details to the criminal network. With this information, the kingpins of the organisation would bet massively on predetermined results, defrauding betting houses and obtaining great economic benefits. The investigation unveiled that the criminal organisation had control of over more than 1500 betting accounts and amassed winnings of an estimated value of EUR 2 million.

In parallel, the criminals used sophisticated technology to manipulate livestreams by intercepting satellite signals and capturing feed content. This allowed them to access the live signal ahead of the betting houses and place massive winning bets. The criminal network had also created a complex system to launder the money acquired from gambling. The suspects are now charged with being members of a criminal organisation, defrauding gambling operators and money laundering.

Europol deployed two experts in the field to provide on-the-spot assistance, and provided operational coordination and support to the investigation.