Tennis star reacts to ‘police investigation’ over ‘fake Covid passes’

Police have reportedly confirmed that the star, who took part in the Australian Open in which vaccination was required, is under investigation

Alex de Minaur, one of the rising stars of Australian tennis, has hit out at media reports claiming he is under investigation for the alleged purchase of a forged Covid vaccine pass. 

Police said they could "confirm the name" of the 23-year-old, indicating that he is among the alleged clients of an illegal group of fraudsters who have been linked to the supply of fake vaccine passes to high-profile people including sports stars, according to AFP via RFI.

Madrid police have opened an investigation called ‘Operation Jenner’ which is tasked with uncovering illegal rings who are benefitting financially from the illicit supply of fraudulent certificates which would allow holders to bypass Covid vaccine rules and mandates.

Spanish police are so far said to have arrested 11 people in relation to the investigation, which is believed to have been orchestrated in France, with the detained group accused of "forgery and the use of forged documents".

An investigation has also reportedly identified around 600 people who are claimed to have fraudulently registered themselves as having been vaccinated. 

The outlet said that around 2,200 people who have been arrested, many of whom are said to have contacted the fraudsters through messaging services.

The network reportedly offered fake PCR results for around $57 and false Covid passes for $227, with wealthier clients charged up to $1,137 dollars for documents stating they were fully vaccinated.

The alleged group is understood to feature several prominent people in Spanish society, including boxers and at least one professional football player. 

"The Australian tennis player Alex de Minaur, of a Spanish mother and a Uruguayan father, is one of the last investigated as an alleged client of the false Covid passport plot," Spanish outlet Telemadrid alleged.

"The tennis player joins the list of top-level athletes, businessmen, musicians and actors who, supposedly, could have made use of the network that provided false Covid passports and PCR."

De Minaur has swiftly moved to rubbish the reports, saying that he is doubled-jabbed against Covid-19.

"I wanted to write a quick message here to avoid any misunderstanding regarding a report that is in the Spanish media about my vaccination certificate," he wrote in a social media statement

"I received my first dose of the vaccine in London last summer and the second one at the Hospital La Paz in Madrid.

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"News came out today that the hospital is under investigation for providing falsified Covid certificates to some of its patients.

"I want to make it 100 percent clear that I received my second shot [and] that I have a completely valid, accurate and true vaccination record. Everyone around me, including my family, is fully vaccinated.

"I am not 'under investigation' in any way as is being suggested and my name is connected to this story simply because I was a patient at the hospital – as many thousands of others were."

De Minaur was among the competitors at last month's Australian Open, where each of the players were required to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

He was eliminated from the tournament in the fourth round after being knocked out by Italy's Jannik Sinner.

A rule instituted by the ATP last year dictated that any player found to have used a fake Covid vaccine pass could be suspended from tour events for a period of up to three years. 

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