Thursday March 23, 2023

Belgian tennis match-fixing trial is postponed

March 19, 2023

BRUSSELS: The match fixing trial of seven Belgian tennis players, including a former member of the country’s Davis Cup team, was postponed on Friday in Belgium, the federal prosecutor’s office said..

In total, 28 people were due to be in court in Oudenaarde in a case stemming from arrests in 2018.

Defence lawyers opened proceedings by arguing there was “a problem with the inventory of documents.”

“It is a mess, the case is not in a state” to be judged, said one of the lawyers, quoted by the Belga agency.

The president of the court decided to suspend the trial to examine the issue. He will rule next Friday on whether the case can be tried or must be postponed, Eric Van Duyse, a spokesman for the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office, told AFP.

Among the defendants is the suspected ringleader, Grigor Sargsyan, a 32-year-old Armenian arrested in Brussels in June 2018.

The prosecution says he used “an international network of 181 players” in “manipulating matches.”

The fraud targeted lower-level professional competitions, in particular Futures tournaments, which ran up to 2018, where cameras were generally absent.

The prosecution says players were approached to lose a match, set or game and deliver a pre-determined outcome for a fee.

At the same time, bets were placed by accomplices obeying the orders of Sargsyan, nicknamed “Maestro”.

The case involves “at least 375 matches”. The investigation by Belgian police stemmed from reports by the Belgian gambling regulator dating back to 2015.