European Police Blame Asian Gangsters for Match-fixing

09 Feb 2013

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Match-fixing investigators in Europe believe governments in Asia are refusing to tackle betting fraud in their own countries.

European police forces revealed 300 new cases of potential match-fixing in The Hague earlier this week, reports the BBC.

These 300 games, which were played between 2008 and 2011, are linked to 380 cases already uncovered in Europe.

"It is the same crime cartel in Singapore, no doubt about it," said Friedhelm Althans of German police.

The new games under question are mainly internationals played in Africa, Asia and Central and South America, and investigators feel there is a connection to those they consider are behind attempts to rig games throughout Europe.

The European Union's law enforcement agency, Europol, say they have uncovered an organised crime syndicate based in Asia that is co-ordinating the operation.

"We know who they are. We agreed not to name them on Monday but you only have to look at the internet to find their names - anybody can do it," added Althans, the chief inspector at Germany's organised crime task force.

When asked if one of these names is Dan Tan, a Singaporean who is the subject of an international arrest warrant issued by global police agency Interpol, Althans repeated that he could not give names, but said the individual is well known to police forces around Europe.

Last year, Italian court papers identified Tan - real name Tan Seet Eng - as being the leader of a network of violent criminals who had fixed 33 games in Serie A and Serie B between 2010 and 2011.

Tan, in an interview with Singapore's The New Paper in 2011,  said: "Why I'm suddenly described as a match-fixer, I don't know. I'm innocent.

"If there's anything against me, I can take it to court and fight it."

Declan Hill, a Canadian journalist who has written extensively on this subject, has tracked Tan down to a plush neighbourhood in Singapore where the 48-year-old leads a life of luxury, unfettered by police interference.

In response to a question from Hill as to why they had not arrested Tan, Singaporean police said they would "need more information before deciding on our follow-up actions".

Althans' response to this speaks volumes.

"I don't know the law in Malaysia or Singapore, but I can't imagine (match-fixing) isn't illegal. But I don't know what's going on there.

"I'm not a politician, I'm an investigator. I can try to identify this cartel and we have. What happens next is up to the justice system."

His frustration is shared by FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who told reporters in Mauritania on Thursday that football is almost powerless to prevent the sport from being corrupted by determined criminals.

Tags: Sports, World, EUROPEAN POLICE, ASIAN GANGSTERS, Match-fixing

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