Australian Police Seek To Extradite Middlemen Involved In Football Match-Fixing Ring
Police "are working to extradite overseas members of a multimillion-dollar match-fixing syndicate, including a Singaporean middleman, that has rocked Australian sport," according to McKenzie, Baker & Cooper of THE AGE. The development comes as authorities examine whether match-fixing has spread outside the Victorian Premier League football competition "or involved the players' former clubs." Federal police are also understood to have been briefed about Victoria Police's ''Operation Starlings'' to try to enlist the AFP's int'l network in tracking down syndicate members. Police "allege the syndicate was run" by int'l match-fixing king-pin Wilson Raj Perumal. The long-standing modus operandi of the int'l syndicate behind the alleged match-fixing in Victoria "involves recruiting journeyman players to infiltrate cash-strapped clubs or leagues." A FFV source said,"We never even knew that was a possibility, but of course we know that now" (THE AGE, 9/17). In Sydney, Akerman & Shand wrote the alleged local head of Australia's biggest match-fixing ring received more than A$250,000 ($233,000) in foreign transfers over the past three months, as he instructed football players "on how to throw matches at the behest of an international betting syndicate." Segaran Gsubramaniam is "charged with engaging in and facilitating conduct to corrupt betting outcomes." Detectives said "he had admitted to dealing with known international match-fixers" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/17). In Melbourne, David Davutovic wrote Southern Stars club officials "deny any involvement in the fixing of five matches this season," adamant they are innocent victims who have been exploited. Stars committee members "are still coming to terms with becoming embroiled in the biggest betting scandal in Australian sports history" (HERALD SUN, 9/16).
FADING STARS: Also in Melbourne, Michael Lynch wrote the VPL is a far from glamorous sporting arena, and the sort of English "internationals'' implicated "are only internationals in the sense that they hold a passport that is not Australian." It is a competition made up of players who have, for the most part, "fallen short of what is required to play at professional level in most well-funded national leagues: the wannabe, might-have-been and never-will-be alongside the odd former big name who is now in the twilight of his career and playing either for fun or a final contract." For all those reasons -- lack of scrutiny, lack of money, generally lack of mainstream interest -- "such a competition is an easy target for gamblers looking to fix results and clean up in offshore betting markets" (THE AGE, 9/17). In Melbourne, Val Migliaccio wrote Football Federation South Australia CEO Michael Carter said that "he is not aware of any illegal gambling activity in SAs premier league." But FFSA is aware that "some spectators are seemingly providing mobile phone updates on SA premier league matches to offshore online betting agencies." Carter believes that "these unidentified men are paying entry fees to the premier league clashes and are not breaking the law" (HERALD SUN, 9/16).