|Malaysian Tamil kingpin faces football match fixing charges, Singaporean Tamil convict looms large
A middle-aged Malaysian Tamil who is suspected to be the kingpin and contact point for players in a second-tier team, is facing 10 charges involving football match fixing in Australia.
Malaysian-born Segaran Gerry Subramaniam, 45, is among six charged by Australian police after they uncovered a multi-million dollar football match fixing ring that also shone the light on several British players. Melbourne Southern Stars, a bottom-dwelling, second-tier club is at the center of the fixing scandal.
Melbourne magistrates adjourned Subramaniam's bail application until Friday.
Victoria state police detective Scott Poynder told the court receipts for foreign currency worth more than A$200,000 (US$185,000) were found at Subramaniam's rented accommodation and he had been booked to leave Australia tonight.
"On a worldwide scale [Subramaniam) is not the big wig, Australian-wise he is,'' Poynder said.
A Singaporean Tamil, Wilson Raj Perumal (pictured) is suspected to be behind the scandal, media reports in Australia said today.
The Sydney Morning Herald said Perumal "appears to still be in contact with footballers and football officials around the world, his Facebook page shows.''
In a photo uploaded to Facebook two weeks ago, Perumal is pictured wearing sunglasses and posing on a motorcycle, the paper said.
Perumal was jailed in 2011 for match fixing in Finland. He has spent this year in Hungary as a protected witness after making a deal to assist European authorities in exposing his match fixing empire, the paper said.
Yesterday, 10 suspects, many of whom are British football players, were arrested in an investigation into the Victoria Premier League.
Football Federation Australia said nine players and a coach were arrested.
Subramaniam has been charged with five counts of engaging in conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome or event and five counts of facilitating conduct that corrupts or would corrupt a betting outcome or event, police said.
Subramaniam appeared before a late Sunday night court hearing where Poynder described him as the contact point for players.
"He receives phone calls. He is given advice on how the Southern Stars players are to perform.''
Poynder said at least five games had been identified as "highly suspicious.''
Goalkeeper Joe Wooley, 23 and reportedly British, and the team coach were among five men each charged on eight counts linked to corrupting the outcome of a betting event. They were all bailed to appear before magistrates on September 20.
Four other men arrested on Sunday were released pending further inquiries.
The Sydney Morning Herald said the authorities suspected the "world's biggest match-fixer of masterminding'' the scam.
Singaporean Tamil Wilson Raj Perumal was at the center of the investigation and believed to have recruited the British players from minor leagues, despite being under Hungarian police protection as a supergrass in local match-fixing cases, it said.
Southern Stars president Ercan Cicek told reporters that five players were brought in from England at the start of the season by an unnamed man who also offered to set up sponsorship.
The Stars have played 21 games in the Victorian Premier League, losing 16 and drawing four. In their only victory they beat the league's top side.
The arrests followed a tip-off from the Football Federation of Australia, with the organisation's chief David Gallop saying the governing body had been alerted by international betting watchdog Sportradar which had detected suspicious activity.
Reports put estimated winnings in Australia and overseas from the fixed matches at more than A$2 million. Organized crime syndicates are involved on Asian betting markets.
Match-fixing charges can attract a 10-year maximum jail sentence in Australia and lifetime football bans can be applied worldwide. The Standard/AFP