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32 accused as match-fixing trial opens

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BRUSSELS (AP) - A match-fixing trial has begun for over 30 people accused of fixing professional soccer games in Belgium, but the chief suspect, a Chinese businessman, is still at large.

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Prosecutors have accused Zehyun Ye of paying 1.6 million euros ($2.2 million) to fix the results of as many as 18 games in 2004 and 2005. Belgian authorities say he is not to be found, but 31 other people accused of taking part were to appear as the tribunal opened Monday. They are charged with crimes including corruption, money laundering and blackmail.

Among those on trial are Gilbert Bodart, the former manager of La Louviere, and three ex-players from Lierse.

Authorities say fixing the games in advance allowed organized crime to wager on the results with certainty and rake in the profits.

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