ROME - Lazio captain Stefano Mauri and several top players were arrested on Monday, while national team defender Domenico Criscito's room was searched at Italy's Euro 2012 training camp, as part of a probe into illegal betting. Mauri was one of 19 people implicated in the investigation into alleged match-fixing in the domestic game, as police swooped in dawn raids on a number of addresses up and down the country, according to Italy's domestic Ansa news agency.
The players are suspected of having received money to fix matches for betting syndicates, whose head is believed to be based in Singapore. National team full-back Criscito's room was searched at Italy's Euro 2012 camp just outside Florence, while police also searched the home of Antonio Conte, the coach of Serie A champions Juventus.
The public prosecutor in Cremona, Stefano Di Martino, said three Serie A matches -- Bari-Sampdoria, Lecce-Lazio and Lazio-Genoa -- were being investigated as well as seven or eight matches involving Siena last season when they were in Serie B. Di Martino said two million euros ($2.5 million) was won on the Lecce-Lazio match and 600,000 euros was used to bribe players. The raids come less than two weeks before the European Championships begin in Poland and Ukraine, with Criscito usually Italy coach Cesare Prandelli's first choice left back. Prandelli was due to announce his final 23-man tournament squad on Monday before a warm-up match against Luxembourg in Parma on Tuesday.
Di Martino, however, said Criscito could "calmly go to the Euros", as he was merely issued a notice of indictment, meaning he is helping investigators and has not been charged with any crime. The player's agent, Andrea D'Amico, added that Criscito, who did not train with his team-mates on Monday morning, was calm and claims to have simply met with his ex-club's fans following a derby defeat to Sampdoria.
In May last year, Criscito, who now plays for Zenit St Petersburg in Russia, is alleged to have met with then-Genoa team-mate Giuseppe Sculli, two heads of the club's "ultra" fans and a Bosnian with a criminal record in a restaurant in the city.