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SBD Global/February 22, 2013/International Football

Italian Police Arrest Alleged Match-Fixer Admir Suljic At Milan's Malpensa Airport

Italian police "have taken into custody a suspected football match fixer alleged to be part of an international crime ring centred on Singapore that has already resulted in 50 arrests worldwide," according to Sanderson & Segreti of the FINANCIAL TIMES. The seizure of Admir Suljic at Milan’s Malpensa airport from a flight from Singapore after a tip-off from INTERPOL "is the latest twist in an international police probe, spanning 13 European countries and carried out over almost two years." The investigations "have exposed Singapore as the centre of a match-fixing business with deals reaching into football clubs across the world." Italian state police said that Suljic "had been on the run since December 2011 and had spent a lengthy period in Singapore in close contact with several members of the match-fixing group" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/21).

BRIDGING THE GAP: The AP reported INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald Noble said that "the man is wanted in Italy because he is allegedly working for Singaporean businessman Tan Seet Eng, known as Dan Tan, for whom Italian authorities have issued an arrest warrant." Noble said the arrest is "important because the world believes that law enforcement can’t do anything to take down this criminal organization, the world believes that (Tan) and his associates can’t be touched, that they are above the law." Tan "is accused of heading a crime syndicate that made millions of dollars betting on rigged Italian football matches." Italian officials "have been unable to take Tan into custody as the arrest warrant could not be served as he’s in Asia" (AP, 2/21). The STRAITS TIMES' Wang Meng Meng reported Tan "is now helping Singaporean authorities with investigations." The Singapore Police Force "did not reveal further information" (STRAITS TIMES, 2/21). The STRAITS TIMES' Wang also reported a team of four senior officers from the Singapore Police Force and Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau "will be heading to the INTERPOL Headquarters in Lyon, France, within the next two weeks." They "will join the INTERPOL Global Anti-Match-fixing Taskforce to assist in match-fixing investigations" (STRAITS TIMES, 2/21).

FEARFUL FOOTBALLERS: REUTERS reported the regional head of world player union FIFPro said that "fearful footballers in Asia need better protection, education and a trusting environment before they can aid whistleblowing against match-fixing." Officials met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Wednesday for a two-day conference on the issue. FIFPro Asian Chair Brendan Schwab said, "We have got players in Asia that are fearful of even forming a players' association or reporting contractual breaches, so that level of fear needs to be addressed." Schwab said that the fearless criminals "allegedly orchestrating the match-fixing posed a great concern for possible player confessions." He said, "You are dealing with organized crime who will take whatever measures are necessary to implement their plan" (REUTERS, 2/21).
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