Singaporean pair accused of match-fixing remanded in custody in UK

Accused appear in court over charges of conspiring to defraud bookmakers this month by manipulating English matches

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 November, 2013, 11:06pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 November, 2013, 12:25am

Two men from Singapore charged with conspiring to fix non-league soccer matches in England will remain in police custody until they appear at a criminal court on December 13.

Chann Sankaran, 33, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, 43, attended a five-minute hearing at a magistrates' court in Cannock, central England, yesterday, but were not required to enter a plea. Their case will be heard at Birmingham Crown Court in two weeks.

Sankaran and Ganeshan, who holds dual British and Singapore nationality, were charged on Thursday with conspiring with others to defraud bookmakers "by influencing the course of football matches and placing bets thereon" from November 1 to 26. The maximum prison sentence for the offence is 10 years.

They are among seven people arrested as part of an investigation into a suspected Singapore-based international betting syndicate. The other five people were released on bail on Thursday pending further inquiries.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said both were alleged to be members of an illegal betting syndicate based in Singapore. The NCA added that its investigation was ongoing.

The arrests followed an undercover operation by
The Daily Telegraph. Its report said three of the accused were footballers and another was a former Premier League player who was now an agent. It said one of the alleged fixers said in a covertly recorded interview that he had "manipulated" World Cup matches.

Reacting to the latest allegations Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce told the paper: "Match-fixing is a very serious problem and is one that has to be tackled at the very highest level. Anyone found guilty will be banned for life. Fifa has many investigations working throughout the world to try to erode the game of this cancer. It has got to be stamped out."

A spokesman for the Football Association, the sport's governing body in England, said: "We have worked closely with the authorities in relation to these allegations. The FA will make no further comment at this time due to ongoing investigations."

The Football League, which runs the three divisions below the Premier League, said police had not contacted it.

A notorious Singaporean soccer match fixer, meanwhile, denied any links to the alleged plot in England after a suspect named him as his "boss", a report said yesterday.

Wilson Raj Perumal, a convicted fixer who is under police protection in Hungary, told Singapore's
New Paper that he played no part in the scam - although he admitted he had full knowledge of it. In the videotaped sting by
Daily Telegraph sting, a Singaporean suspect says he works for Perumal.

But Perumal, who says he used to collaborate with alleged Singaporean mastermind Dan Tan, insisted he was not involved.

"He [the suspect] was acting on his own. He was set up," he told the
New Paper via e-mail.

"I told him to be very careful [that] this may be a set-up," Perumal wrote, adding that the suspect was "keeping me posted on what he was doing even though I never asked for it".

Reuters, Agence France-Presse, Associated Press