Interpol: 6 arrested in Singapore linked to Europe
Six of the 14 people arrested in Singapore in what is being
called a major breakthrough in the fight against soccer corruption
are linked to ongoing European investigations, Interpol said
The global network’s suspected mastermind was among the 12 men
and two women taken into custody in police raids lasting 12 hours
across Singapore, ending early Tuesday.
Interpol, the police body based in Lyon, France, said in a
statement to The Associated Press, that all 14 of those arrested
are Singaporean nationals.
The arrests are of ”extraordinary” significance and took down
”the world’s largest match-fixing operation based in Singapore,”
Interpol secretary general Ronald Noble said in an interview with
Associated Press Television News.
”The Singaporeans have been criticized, unfairly I believe, for
not being serious about fighting match-fixing,” Noble said on a
visit to Ukraine. ”In fact, they never received the evidence of
match-fixing that would have allowed them to either prosecute in
their own country or extradite individuals.
”So what the Singaporeans did was they conducted their own
investigation, working with Interpol, cooperating with (Interpol)
member countries, from Italy, Hungary, Germany, Finland, et cetera.
And they made their own investigations, targeted people for arrest
who were engaged in match-fixing and made the arrests.”
He later added: ”What’s significant is that the investigation
in Singapore didn’t just focus on the cases we already knew about
originating out of Europe but also additional cases.”
In Italy, the prosecutor leading an inquiry into international
match-fixing said he would like to question the suspected
”It’s big news,” Cremona prosecutor Roberto Di Martino told
the AP. ”It shows that our inquiry means something on an
”Now we need to explore the diplomatic channels to see what we
can do,” Di Martino added. ”I’m not sure if our treaties permit
(extradition). Plus, these arrests appear to also be linked to
their (Singapore’s) own investigation.”
A high-level police official told the AP that those arrested
include Tan Seet Eng, widely known as Dan Tan. The official spoke
on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss
the detention publicly. Prosecutors in Italy have accused Tan of
coordinating a global crime syndicate that made millions of dollars
betting on rigged Italian matches and other games across the
Earlier this year, Europol, the European Union police liaison
agency, said it reviewed 680 suspicious recent cases of
match-fixing, including some World Cup games.
FIFA said in a statement: ”We welcome all actions taken by law
enforcement bodies to bring the perpetrators of match manipulation
The Singapore authorities did not formally identify any of the
people taken into custody, but said the ”suspected leader” and
several others wanted in other jurisdictions for suspected
match-fixing were among those in custody.
Italian prosecutors investigating dozens of league and cup games
they say were fixed had followed a trail back to Tan in Singapore.
In court documents that laid out their findings, prosecutors
alleged that Tan is the boss of a crime syndicate that allegedly
made millions betting on rigged Italian games from 2008 to late
2011, through bribing players, referees and club officials.
Italian authorities issued an arrest warrant for Tan and listed
him as their No. 1 suspect, but have been unable to take him into
Still, at least 50 people have been arrested in Italy for
match-fixing since mid-2011, with matches under investigation by
prosecutors in Cremona, Bari and Naples. Point penalties have been
handed out by the Italian federation for three straight years, with
four Serie A clubs penalized last season.
The Singapore police statement said the suspects are being
investigated for match-fixing offenses under Singapore’s Prevention
of Corruption Act and for involvement in organized crime.
The detainees are being held under a law that potentially allows
Singapore’s government to hold suspects without trial for up to 12
months, a detention period that can be extended. Introduced in
1955, that law has been used against suspected drug traffickers,
illegal money-lenders and criminal gang members.
Leicester wrote from Paris, Dampf from Rome. APTN Video
Journalist Dmitry Vlasov in Kiev and Associated Press writers
Ansley Ng in Singapore and Sean Yoong in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,
contributed to this report.
Follow Andrew Dampf at http://twitter.com/AndrewDampfAP