On September 15, 2023, Europol revealed a sting carried out in March 2023 against a fraudulent sporting bets gang operating from Spain and led by Romanian and Bulgarian nationals. The group stands out with their use of cyber tools to rig bets, in addition to more traditional fraud techniques.

The criminals managed to hack satellite signals in order to pick up game broadcasts before bookmakers. They also used tools that directly intercepted the channels informing bookies of scores and highlights.

The hacks gave them access to information that can be bet on milliseconds before bookmakers. This head start was enough for them to go through with the bets, with the help of automation software, and win them.

The police operation, carried out in four apartment blocks in Romania and Spain, led to the arrest of 23 suspects, including the ringleader. The latter, a former Bulgarian table tennis player, was recently extradited to Spain, a measure that made the bust public.

Furthermore, law enforcement seized two properties, three luxury vehicles, two large satellite dishes and a number of receivers. They also got their hands on 47 bank accounts, 80 phones, cash, and 13,000 euros in counterfeit notes. Several other suspects are believed to remain at large.

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