Soccer

Malaysian man accused of match-fixing denied bail

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MELBOURNE, Australia (AP)

A Malaysian man accused of being the local organizer of a syndicate that tried to fix matches in an Australian provincial football league has been denied bail in a Melbourne court.

Magistrate Jelena Popovic told the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday she refused to grant bail to Segaran ''Gerry'' Gsubramaniam with ''grave reluctance'' because it might be two years before his case is finalized.

Gsubramaniam is accused of fixing five matches involving the Melbourne-based Southern Stars team in the semi-professional Victorian Premier League between July and September.

Four English players and the Southern Stars' Australian coach have also been charged with match-fixing offenses.

Gsubramaniam faces 10 charges, including five counts of engaging in conduct that corrupts or could corrupt the outcome of a betting event and five charges of facilitating conduct that corrupts or could corrupt the outcome of a betting event.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail under match-fixing laws introduced in Australia in April.

The prosecution alleges he received instructions from a gambling syndicate in Hungary and Malaysia and passed information to the coach and some players of the Southern Stars, who are last in the Victorian Football League.

In opposing bail, Detective Senior Constable Tracey Van Den Heuvel said police were concerned Gsubramanium, who is traveling on a tourist visa, was an unacceptable risk of leaving Australia.

Police say they used telephone intercepts and electronic surveillance to track Gsubramaniam's conversations with people in Hungary and Malaysia. At an earlier preliminary hearing, Detective Acting Sergeant Scott Poynder said that in terms of the gambling syndicate ''on a worldwide scale (Gsubramaniam) is not the big wig, Australian-wise he is.''

The match-fixing investigation was made public when Football Federation Australia issued a statement saying 10 people from the Southern Stars had been arrested after a police investigation stemming from a tip from the Swiss-based sports and betting data intelligence agency Sport Radar.

Defense counsel Michael Gleeson sought bail, telling the court Gsubramaniam had no criminal record, was co-operating with police and had entered the country legally and on his own passport.

Gsubramaniam and his five co-accused will return to the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Dec. 6.

The Southern Stars, based in the southern Melbourne suburb of Dingley, played 21 games this season with one win, 16 losses and four draws.

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