Singapore businessman charged over sex offer in match-fixing probe

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 April, 2013, 3:13pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 April, 2013, 3:13pm

A Singaporean businessman has been charged with corruption for offering free sex to three Lebanese football referees to induce them to fix a match in the city-state, a government agency said Sunday.

Eric Ding Si Yang, 31, was charged with three counts of corruption on Saturday, a spokesman for the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) told news agency AFP. He gave no further details.

If convicted, Ding faces a maximum prison term of five years or a fine of up to S$100,000 (HK$626,000), or both penalties, for each charge.

Referee Ali Sabbagh and his fellow Lebanese assistants Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb were charged earlier and remain in custody while their application for bail is being processed.

They were about to officiate in Singapore-based Tampines Rovers’ AFC Cup fixture with India’s East Bengal on Wednesday when they were abruptly dropped and questioned by the CPIB.

The CPIB said in a statement on Thursday that it had acted on “prior information of match-fixing” involving the three referees.

“Subsequent investigations revealed that the trio corruptly received gratification... in the form of free sexual service from three females,” CPIB said.

Singapore’s Sunday Times said Ding spends most of his time in Bangkok but has stakes in a restaurant and nightclub in Singapore.

He is known to have a passion for fast cars and drives an Aston Martin Vantage, the newspaper said.

Ding was a football tipster with local tabloid The New Paper from 2006 to last year, it added.

Singapore has a long record of match-fixing scandals. Syndicates from the wealthy Southeast Asian island have been blamed by Europol for orchestrating an international network responsible for rigging hundreds of games worldwide.

In February, Singapore came under pressure to act against the cartels, whose activities fuel illegal gambling estimated to be worth billions of dollars, when the head of Interpol called for the arrest of an alleged ringleader.

Singapore later said the suspect, Dan Tan, was assisting investigations, but he has not been arrested or charged with any crime.

The CPIB has not mentioned any links between the recent arrests and the match-fixing syndicates.