Singapore match-fixing ring was world's biggest: Interpol
Interpol chief says operation based in the city state had extensive network 'with tentacles reaching every continent'
A soccer match-fixing ring based in Singapore was the world's "largest and most aggressive" such operation, the Interpol chief said following the arrest of the group's suspected mastermind.
Interpol secretary general Ronald Noble hailed the arrest in Singapore last week of 14 suspects. "I'm confident that Singapore law enforcement authorities have arrested the mastermind and leader of the world's most notorious match-fixing syndicate," Noble said.
"It is significant because this syndicate is considered the world's largest and most aggressive match-fixing syndicate, with tentacles reaching every continent. The mastermind was someone many believed was untouchable."
Noble did not mention any names but a source has confirmed that among those arrested was Singaporean Dan Tan, the syndicate's suspected head. He and four others are being held without bail under a tough law designed for gang members. Noble said the arrests were the result of co-operation between Singapore and Interpol's Global Anti-Match-fixing Task Force.
The European police agency Europol in February said it smashed a network rigging hundreds of games, including in the Champions League and World Cup qualifiers.
Europol said at that time that a five-country probe had identified 380 suspicious matches targeted by a Singapore-based betting cartel, whose illegal activities stretched to players, referees and officials across the world.
In his only known media interview, Tan told Singapore's The New Paper in 2011: "Why I'm suddenly described as a match-fixer, I don't know. I'm innocent." He has a standing warrant for his arrest issued by Italian investigators over the wide-ranging "calcioscommesse" betting scandal, which implicated a swathe of big names and clubs.
In May, Tan was also charged in Hungary over the alleged manipulation of 32 games in three countries.
Match-fixing hit the headlines again this month after six men were charged over a multimillion-dollar scam in Australia.
A Malaysian man accused of being the local organiser of the syndicate that tried to fix those matches was denied bail in a Melbourne court yesterday.
Magistrate Jelena Popovic refused to grant bail to Segaran "Gerry" Gsubramaniam with "grave reluctance" because it might be two years before his case is finalised.
Meanwhile, players and officials of a Malaysian state soccer team have been slapped with a two-week suspension, while an investigation takes place into possible corruption.
The Perak Football Association will ask the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to probe the team's shambolic campaign in the Malaysia Cup.
Agence France-Presse, Reuters, Associated Press