German prosecutors investigating match-fixing in soccer say 15 people in Germany and two in Switzerland have been arrested and about 200 games in Europe are under suspicion.
Police conducted more than 50 raids in Switzerland, Germany and Britain and seized documents, $1.48 million US in cash and other valuables.
Authorities believe they have arrested the leaders of the gang suspected of manipulating games to make money on betting. No identities were released, although they said about 200 people are involved.
The investigation began in January and has been supported by UEFA, Europe's governing body of soccer.
Peter Limacher, UEFA's representative who appeared at the news conference in Bochum, Germany, said he believed it was the biggest match-fixing scandal to hit Europe.
The betting leaders are suspected of bribing players, coaches, referees and other officials to fix games and are believed to have made at least $14.82 million US, according to Bochum's police director Friedhelm Althans.
"UEFA will be demanding the harshest of sanctions before the competent courts for any individuals, clubs or officials who are implicated in this malpractice, be it under state or sports jurisdiction," UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino said in a statement.
Games in nine European countries are being looked at, but none in England, Spain, Italy or France.
Low division games
The suspected games in Germany were played in the second-division or lower. Other countries involved are Belgium, Switzerland, Croatia, Slovenia, Turkey, Hungary, Bosnia and Austria.
Among the games investigated are three Champions League matches and 12 Europa League games, all this year. Prosecutors did not specify whether those were qualifying games or group-round matches.
The Berliner Morgenpost reported Thursday that Ante Sapina and his brother Milan were among five people arrested in Berlin. Ante Sapina's lawyer, Stefan Conen, confirmed Friday that his client was in custody.
Ante Sapina was convicted of fraud in 2005 and sentenced to 35 months in prison for fixing or attempting to fix 23 games by paying German referee Robert Hoyzer to rig matches Sapina and his brothers bet on. Milan and another of Ante Sapina's brothers, Filip, were given suspended sentences.