Alex de Minaur embroiled in fake vaccination certificate controversy
Aussie tennis star Alex de Minaur has vehemently denied he received a 'fake' vaccination certificate after being named in an explosive report in Spain.
A media report in Spain, where De Minaur is based in Alicante during the European season, has alleged that he was among those being investigated for buying a falsified certificate to bypass vaccinations.
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The Australian men's No.1 player took to social media on Thursday to make it "100% clear" that his two vaccination shots were "valid, accurate and true" and that he is not under investigation.
"Hi everyone. 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," de Minaur wrote on Twitter.
"I received my first dose of the vaccine in London last summer, and the second one at the Hospital La Paz in Madrid.
"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% clear that I received my second shot, 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)."
— alex de minaur (@alexdeminaur) February 17, 2022
Spanish police sources told AFP on Thursday that the 23-year-old, as well as other athletes and public figures, featured on a list of alleged buyers.
"We can confirm the name," police said.
The World No.32 played in the Australian Open last month, where vaccination was compulsory, leading to the deportation of Novak Djokovic over his vaccination status.
De Minaur had to pull out of last year's Tokyo Olympics after testing positive for Covid-19, a blow that he described as "shattering".
It took him time to get back to anything like his most convincing form but his best-ever Australian Open run and a run to the quarter-finals in an ATP tournament in Rotterdam last week suggested he's returning to his best.
Fake vaccination certificate ring smashed in Europe
Police this week said they'd closed the second phase of "Operation Jenner", opened in January into the Spanish branch of an organisation providing false Covid and PCR passes through messaging applications.
The investigation found that the leaders of this group were based in France.
Eleven people have been arrested, accused of "forgery and the use of forged documents" and a further 2200 investigated for having obtained the Covid passes fraudulently.
The network offered fake PCR results for around 50 euros ($79) and false Covid passes for 200 euros ($316), with wealthier clients charged up to 1000 euros ($1580) for documents stating they were fully vaccinated.
According to Spanish police, the group would have been aided by someone working in the health services with the investigation also probing the possible theft of access codes.
Payments for the false documents were made using cryptocurrencies "through accounts opened in third countries".
Once the payment was received, the clients obtained a code in which the fraudulent vaccination schedule was recorded.
Two days later they could obtain their Covid pass in which two or three vaccine doses were recorded as having been received.
The ATP Tour stipulates that submitting a falsified Covid-19 vaccination record is punishable by a fine of up to $140,000 and suspension from its tournaments for a period of up to three years.
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