ROME (AP) — Former AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso, one of the key players in Italy's World Cup-winning team in 2006, was placed under investigation for match-fixing on Tuesday as a widening inquiry into soccer corruption targeted Milan's last title campaign.
Four others were arrested in a police sweep.
Cremona prosecutor Roberto Di Martino, who has been leading the Last Bet operation for three years, told The Associated Press that Gattuso and retired Milan and Lazio player Cristian Brocchi were allegedly part of a ring that fixed Serie A and other Italian matches at the end of the 2010-11 season.
"About 30 matches, a good part of them involving Serie A, are under investigation," Di Martino told the AP.
Gattuso said he was "angry and offended."
"This stuff is absurd and incredible," Gattuso told SportMediaset TV. "I don't even know what it means to fix a match, I wouldn't know where to start. Let's see what happens now but I'm certain that everything will be cleared up."
Brocchi's agent, Davide Lippi, said his client was innocent.
The four people arrested were Salvatore Spadaro, Francesco Bazzani, Cosimo Rinci and Fabio Quadri. Each of them allegedly helped connect fixers to players, Di Martino said of the case involving more than 50 people arrested since mid-2011.
Gattuso and Brocchi face charges of criminal association with the aim of fraud and sports fraud, and had their homes searched. About 20 other people were also placed under investigation.
Gattuso and Brocchi were connected to the case by the use of phone taps, Di Martino said.
Gattuso, who won two Champions League titles with Milan, was fired as Palermo coach in September. Brocchi is currently coaching in AC Milan's youth program.