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Singapore police join fight against match fixing

Italian authorities are investigating scandal based in the Asian city

Gulf News

Singapore: Singapore’s police are working with Interpol to help Italian authorities investigate an international football match-fixing scandal based in the Asian city.

Europol revealed startling revelations this week about the syndicate trying to fix games across Europe, including World Cup and European Championship qualifiers. It generated more than 8 million euros (Dh39.34 million) in profit.

An 18-month investigation dubbed ‘Operation VETO’ found 425 match officials, club executives, players and criminals in 15 countries conspiring to fix more than 380 matches.

The identification of the Singaporean syndicate in fixing has resulted in businessman Dan Tan Seet Eng being placed on Italy’s most-wanted list.

“As evidence of alleged match-fixing needs to be further developed in order for our law enforcement agencies to take concrete follow-up actions against the alleged suspects, the Singapore Police Force will send our officers to Interpol to assist in the current investigations and join the global fight against match-fixing and illegal betting in football,” the police said in a statement issued Friday.

“Singapore remains highly committed in the fight against match-fixing, and other trans-national crimes. If evidence of such crimes exist, the police will pursue the case vigorously with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

Europol’s probe has led to several prosecutions, including 14 people in Germany being convicted and sentenced to 39 years in prison.

Since 2005, Singapore’s Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau has investigated eight match-fixing cases involving bribery in Singapore, with 11 individuals being charged and convicted in court.

A prominent case in 2007 involved the Liaoning Guangyuan Football Club, which was participating in the Singapore League, where players were found guilty of having received bribes from the general manager of the club to influence the result of the matches.

In 2012, two South Koreans were arrested for trying to fix a Singapore League game. The Singaporean player who was approached by the two South Koreans to fix the game, reported the attempt to his club manager and the authorities.

“We are closely following the news reports which have suggested that Asia is one of the continents where the suspicious matches took place,” said Dato’ Alex Soosay, secretary-general of the Asian Football Confederation. “AFC has a zero-tolerance policy towards unethical practices in football and we are determined to fight against any kind of irregularities that include and are not limited to match-fixing, corruption and illegal betting in the game.”