|Singaporean mastermind Tan held for football match fixing, focus on island over global corruption
The alleged Singaporean head of a global football match-fixing syndicate based in Singapore is in police custody, local media reported today.
Police declined to confirm that Singaporean Dan Tan, whose full name is Tan Seet Eng, was the “suspected leader'' mentioned in a statement announcing the arrest of 14 people, AFP reports.
The Straits Times and New Paper, whose investigative journalist Zaihan Mohamed Yusof has been closely following the case, both said Dan Tan was among those arrested, without identifying sources.
In February, European police agency Europol said syndicates linked to Singapore had targeted hundreds of games worldwide, including in the Champions League and World Cup qualifiers.
A joint statement from Singapore's police and anti-corruption bureau late Wednesday said 12 men and two women were nabbed in a 12-hour operation that ended in the early hours of Tuesday.
They were suspected of “being part of an organized crime group involved with match-fixing activities,’’ the statement said.
The “suspected leader'' of the group and several others arrested were the subject of ongoing investigations in other jurisdictions, it added.
While nine of the suspects have been allowed to post bail, five are being held under a section of the penal code which allows for up to a year's detention without trial and is usually used in cases involving criminal gangs.
Interpol secretary general Ronald Noble has previously called on Singapore to arrest Tan, who is wanted by Italian authorities over the “calcioscommesse'' betting scandal.
In May, Singapore police said Tan was “assisting investigators in Singapore.’’ In the same month, he was also charged in Hungary over the alleged manipulation of 32 games in three countries.
That development came after Europol in February said a five-country inquiry had identified 380 suspicious matches targeted by Singapore-based betting cartels, whose illegal activities stretched to players, referees and officials across the world.
Noble welcomed the arrests as an “important step.’’
Match-fixing hit the headlines again this week after six men were charged over a multi-million dollar scam in Australian state football.
Reports said convicted Singaporean match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal, a Tamil, who claims to be a former associate of Dan Tan, was involved despite being under police protection in Hungary.
Experts say match-fixers who honed their skills in Singapore and neighboring Malaysia have since spread to other leagues, providing a link between local gangs and Asian betting syndicates.
In the latest case within Singapore, three Lebanese referees were convicted in June of accepting sexual services in return for fixing games.