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By ESPN Staff
Oct 1, 2008

Authorities to probe Zenit UEFA Cup "fix" claims

MADRID, Oct 1 (Reuters) - A Spanish judge has sent German authorities recordings that allege Russian mafia figures tried to fix last season's UEFA Cup semi-final between Bayern Munich and Zenit St Petersburg, judicial sources said on Wednesday.

Russian champions Zenit crushed Bayern 4-0 at home in the second leg to win 5-1 on aggregate before going on to beat Rangers in the final.

Spanish newspaper El Pais said the Operation Troika investigation against the Russian mafia led by investigating judge Baltasar Garzon had uncovered evidence the second leg might have been fixed.

"The judge has sent to the German attorney general part of the conversations that were intercepted in Spain during the investigation into Russian plots in our country," judicial sources told Reuters.

Bayern Munich said on Wednesday they had no information about the reports.

"Bayern know as little about this as the Munich prosecutor's office," the club said in a statement. "We will try to obtain all the information available."

Zenit St Petersburg angrily denied match-fixing allegations and in statement said: "In a selection of the media, news has popped up which refers to different Spanish sources, and directly affects FC Zenit's reputation.

"The quality of play shown by FC Zenit in the games against Rangers FC and Bayern Munich is the best proof that the victories were earned by Zenit in honest and non-compromising challenges.

"Allegations of deals mentioned in the media are offensive to all parties mentioned.

"At this moment FC Zenit's legal department are evaluating the origins of the story. After this, a decision about legal means to protect the club's reputation and sport as a whole, shall be decided."

Bayern have also denied all knowledge of the allegations.

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