Singapore Court Jails Lebanon Referees Accused Of Match-Fixing For Sexual Favors
A Singapore court "jailed two Lebanese assistant referees for three months on Monday and postponed passing sentence on a Lebanese referee after all three pleaded guilty to accepting sexual bribes" to fix a football match, according to Kevin Lim of REUTERS. Singapore has been the focus of an int'l probe into football match-fixing, "with European anti-crime agency Europol saying in February that hundreds of matches had been fixed in a global betting scam run from the Southeast Asian city-state." Prosecutors said that referee Ali Sabbagh "first made contact with accused Singaporean match fixer Ding Si Yang" in June '12 at a cafe in Beirut. Ding has also been arrested, "and his case will be heard after the one involving the Lebanese officials." Ding, who is out on S$150,000 ($119,000) bail, "has pleaded not guilty" (REUTERS, 6/10).
CLEANING IT UP: BLOOMBERG's Andrea Tan wrote Subordinate Courts Judge Low Wee Ping said, "The Singapore public has an interest in preserving football as a professional sport in Singapore. Singapore is proud to have an almost corruption-free society." Prosecutor Asoka Markandu said, "They've tarnished the reputation of FIFA." Markandu said the three traded sportsmanship for sexual favors and damaged the integrity of the "beautiful game" (BLOOMBERG, 6/10). The AFP reported "the assistant referees broke down into sobs and repeatedly looked up as if to thank God" after Judge Ping said they could be freed by later Monday or Tuesday, after remission for good behavior and due to time already served awaiting sentence. Turning to Sabbagh, the judge said, "I need time to consider your sentence. I don't, for the moment, accept that you should be sentenced to six months" (AFP, 6/10).