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Game-fixers sentenced to more than five years in prison
AP, May 19th, 2011 11:32PM

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A German court has handed down prison terms to three men convicted of fixing more than 20 European games. Ante Sapina and Marijo Cvrtak were each sentenced to 5 1/2 years for manipulating the results of European club matches and at least one World Cup qualifer. Sapina confessed to fixing more than 20 games. Cvrtak, Sapina's primary accomplice in the crimes, received the same sentence. The court meted out a suspended sentence of 18 months to a  third man, Dragan Mihelic.

In accordance with German legal procedures, the men have not been officially identified but their names have been vetted and published in media reports.

Sapina and Cvrtak manipulated more than 20 games and exploited the influence by betting heavy sums on the outcome of matches. In most cases, referees were bribed to favor one team or made decisions to produce a desired result. Most of the bets were processed through Asian betting establishments.

Sapina had been convicted of similar offenses in 2009 after investigations pointed to German referee Robert Hoyzer, who confessed to his role in the scheme.

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