Alaves coach says he was victim in extortion case

MADRID (AP) — The coach of Spanish club Alaves, Abelardo Fernandez, says he has been a victim in an extortion case involving a group that blackmailed people after posting fake escort ads.

A police investigation into the group has already led to the recent arrest of Levante defender Antonio “Tono” Garcia.

Tono was temporarily detained as authorities investigated his alleged participation in the group, which allegedly extorted dozens of victims through an escort site. The player denied any wrongdoing, saying he was unfairly detained based on a “suspicion.”

Police said the group posted fake ads and blackmailed those who tried to make contact, threatening them with violence.

Reading from a statement, Fernandez said Wednesday he spoke with authorities after the extortion attempt, but could not reveal any other detail because the case was under secrecy.

Alaves said in a club statement that it fully supported its coach, reiterating he was a “victim of the alleged extortion scheme.”