Tackling Football Match-Fixing Puts Pressure on Singapore

Source: http://www.irrawaddy.org/archives/26101

Revelations that a Singapore-based crime syndicate has been heavily
involved in fixing football matches around the world has put extra
pressure on authorities in the Southeast Asian city-state to take
action against the alleged ringleader.

The Singaporean businessman known as Dan Tan has been placed on
Italy's wanted list and has been implicated in various investigations
into football corruption, including Monday's revelations in The Hague
by the European police agency Europol. He has avoided arrest in his
homeland.

The Singapore Police Force said over the weekend it was assisting the
Italian authorities through Interpol and has given information
requested by the National Central Bureau in Rome, but had not charged
Tan.

The Football Association of Singapore on Tuesday said it is continuing
"to work closely with the relevant authorities, both at the domestic
and international levels."

So far, there apparently hasn't been any urgency to arrest Tan,
despite multiple agencies in Singapore potentially having jurisdiction
in the case.

"The authorities in Singapore are assisting the European authorities
in their investigations into an international match-fixing syndicate
that purportedly involves Singaporeans," the Singapore Police Force
said in a statement.

"Singapore takes a strong stance against match-fixing and is committed
to working with international enforcement agencies to bring down
transnational criminal syndicates, including those that involve the
acts of Singaporeans overseas, and protect the integrity of the
sport."

Despite its immense wealth, Singapore has been hit by football
corruption fueled by illicit gambling syndicates.

Last May, Singapore authorities charged a top referee and a former
Malaysian international with conspiring to fix a Malaysian Super
League match.

In another closely-watched case, Singapore national Wilson Raj
Perumal, who had ties to Asian and Eastern European gambling
syndicates, was jailed in Finland for match-fixing.

"The problem of match-fixing is not just confined to Asia," Ridzal
Saat, deputy director of development and planning at the Football
Association of Singapore, told the AP. "It is a global problem and we
will continue to work closely with the relevant authorities, both at
the domestic and international levels to combat match-fixing and
football corruption aggressively.

"We take a serious view of allegations pertaining to match-fixing and
football corruption activities and the authorities and we will spare
no effort in minimizing the possibility of such activities taking
place within the local football scene."

Last February, 18 players in Malaysia were suspended for between two
and five years on charges of match-fixing. Chinese courts handed out
lengthy prison sentences last year to senior officials and players for
accepting bribes, while South Korea has taken measures to improve the
structure of its league after the match-fixing scandal of 2011, when
46 contracted or former players were charged with corruption.

The 18-month review by Europol uncovered 380 suspicious matches in
Europe and another 300 questionable games outside the continent,
mainly in Africa, Asia and South and Central America. Matches under
the spotlight included World Cup qualifiers and Champions League
matches.

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