[QODLink]
Football

Matchfixing suspect arrested in Italy

Fugitive associate of suspected global football match-fixer Tan Seet Eng detained at Milan's Malpensa airport.
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2013 12:49
INTERPOL head Ronald Noble, pictured above speaking at a conference on matchfixing in Kuala Lumpur, said the detained suspect Suljic, was part of a global network of match-fixers, headed by Singaporean Tan Seet Eng.

Italian police arrested a fugitive Slovenian associate of alleged football matchfixing kingpin Tan Seet Eng on Thursday after he flew in from Singapore to hand himself over, they said in a statement.

The man, identified as 31-year-old Admir Suljic, arrived at Milan's Malpensa airport in the early hours to find police waiting for him after a tip-off by Singapore authorities.

Police said in a statement that Suljic, who is accused of "criminal association aimed at sporting fraud", had bought a one-way ticket with the intention of surrendering to the authorities.

He had been on the run since December 2011 and is considered a "key element" in Italy's 'Last Bet' probe into match-fixing between 2009 and 2011. Police said Suljic would be taken to a prison in the city of Cremona.

"His direct involvement in the international criminal group, made of Singapore nationals and people from the Balkans, has emerged from the investigation," the police statement said.

Arrest warrant

Italian prosecutors have accused Tan, also known as Dan Tan, of heading an organisation to fix football matches worldwide and Italian police have issued an arrest warrant for him.

A joint inquiry by Europol, the European anti-crime agency, and national prosecutors identified about 680 suspicious matches including qualifying games for the World Cup and European Championships, and for Europe's Champions League.

INTERPOL chief Ronald Noble, speaking at a conference in Kuala Lumpur on combating match-fixing, said Suljic was part of Singapore national Tan's network.

The international police body has declined to say if it has declared Tan an internationally wanted person, but an Italian judicial source said INTERPOL had pooled together investigations launched by authorities in countries including Italy, Germany, Spain and Turkey.

Singapore says he is not wanted there, but that it is working with European authorities investigating the syndicate.

Singapore police said on Thursday a team of four officers would be sent to INTERPOL within the next two weeks to assist in matchfixing investigations and that the city-state remained "committed" in the fight against matchfixing.

Extradition treaty

Singapore allows suspects to be sent only to countries with which it has an extradition treaty. Germany has such a treaty with Singapore but Italy, which made the original complaint about matchfixers manipulating Italian games, does not.

Noble, who had previously told Singapore's Straits Times newspaper it would be unfortunate if Singapore's "well-earned anti-crime reputation" suffered from the allegations, said he did not agree with criticism that Singapore is not doing enough to fight matchfixing.

"I think the case I told you about, the case that is unfolding right now, makes it clear that Singaporeans like European Union investigators and judges are required to follow their law," he said.

Experts say match fixing is rampant in Asia, where lax regulation combined with a huge betting market have made football a prime target for crime syndicates.

Last year the head of an anti-corruption watchdog estimated that $1 trillion was gambled on sport each year - or $3 billion a day - with most coming from Asia and wagered on football matches.

541

Source:
Reuters
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
NSA whistleblower Snowden and journalist Greenwald accuse Wellington of mass spying on New Zealanders.
Whatever the referendum's outcome, energy created by the grassroots independence campaign has changed Scottish politics.
Traders and farmers struggle to cope as restrictions on travel prevent them from doing business and attending to crops.
Unique mobile messaging service, mMitra, helps poor pregnant women in Mumbai fight against maternal mortality.
Influential independence figure has been key in promoting Scottish nationalism, but will his efforts succeed?
join our mailing list