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More suspects detained in Belgium football scandal

AFP  |  Brussels 

Three players' agents, a referee and a former were charged and detained in on Friday as a massive football fraud and match-fixing scandal widened.

Mogi Bayat, portrayed in the media as Belgium's most powerful agent, was charged with "money laundering," his lawyers said, after he appeared before a

Bayat was detained pending his next hearing, as were fellow agents and Karim Mejjati, who were questioned this week as part of the operation targeting Belgium's football elite.

Former Anderlecht club and referee were also charged and arrested overnight, according to the agency.

On Thursday, another referee, Sebastien Delferiere, was charged but was immediately released on parole.

Vertenten and Delferiere were suspended on Thursday with immediate effect by the

The charges against referees are part of a probe into suspected match-fixing by Veljkovic in a failed effort to save formerly top-tier KV Mechelen from relegation to the second division.

On Thursday, the charged five people in the match-fixing case, including the club's

Hearings before the were held throughout night.

At this stage, at least 17 suspects have been charged, according to French-language RTBF.

A total of 29 suspects were interrogated on Wednesday, the said on Thursday.

Several, including former Anderlecht boss Herman Van Holsbeeck, were released without charges.

The operation led to a total of 60 police searches Wednesday, including the headquarters of leading clubs in the Belgian first division, with FC Bruges, Anderlecht, Standard Liege and Genk among them.

The huge operation took place simultaneously in and six other European countries, including and Serbia, where an agent was arrested Thursday and awaits extradition.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, October 12 2018. 15:30 IST
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