, SINGAPORE, Jun 16 – Singapore authorities last year placed leaders of a global match-fixing ring operating from the city-state in indefinite detention after uncovering plans to rig the World Cup, according to a new book released Monday.
Zaihan Mohamed Yusof, a Singaporean investigative journalist who has reported extensively on football match-fixing, details how he learnt of the now-crippled gang’s plans from government officials and a prominent sports corruption investigator.
“The syndicate had been posturing, setting up a base of corrupt football players and officials through matches played overseas in national leagues and international friendlies,” Zaihan quoted one senior unnamed Singapore official as saying in “Foul! The Inside Story of Singapore Match Fixers”.
“When the 2014 World Cup comes, all they will be doing is collecting (their betting earnings),” the official said of the tournament which kicked off in Brazil last week.
“Something had to be done to stop them… We couldn’t take the chance,” another official was quoted as saying.
Zaihan also quoted Michael Pride, head of operations at Australia-based match-fixing investigators SI Sports Intelligence as saying “this syndicate allegedly sets up fixes six months ahead of major matches.
“From source information, they were allegedly gearing up for the World Cup,” Pride said.
Singapore’s police and anti-corruption agency in September last year rounded up 14 alleged members of a global match-fixing syndicate, in one of the biggest crackdowns yet on corruption in football.
Authorities subsequently used a special law that allows indefinite detention to hold four key ring leaders of the group, including alleged kingpin Dan Tan, also known as Tan Seet Eng.
Officials say the indefinite detention – under a law typically used against gangsters – is necessary because witnesses fear reprisals if they testify in court.
Tan, a reclusive Singaporean businessman, first came into prominence when fixer Wilson Raj Perumal, also a Singaporean, was arrested and jailed in Finland in 2011 for fixing top-tier games there.
Perumal had told prosecutors in Finland he was a double-crossed associate of Tan, who has also been named in several European match-fixing investigations.