Singapore arrests 14 people in football match-fixing bust

Fourteen people believed to be members of an organised crime ring involved in football match-fixing activities have been arrested in police raids across Singapore, authorities said Wednesday.

The Singapore Police Force and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said in a joint statement the 12 men and two women were nabbed in a 12-hour operation that ended in the early hours of Tuesday.

They were suspected of "being part of an organised crime group involved with match-fixing activities," the statement said.

The European police agency Europol in February said it had smashed a network rigging hundreds of games, including in the Champions League and World Cup qualifiers.

Europol said at that time that a five-country probe had identified 380 suspicious matches targeted by a Singapore-based betting cartel, whose illegal activities stretched to players, referees and officials across the world.

"Police confirm that the suspected leader and several other individuals who are the subject of ongoing investigations in other jurisdictions for match fixing were among the persons arrested," said the Singapore joint statement issued late Wednesday.

It said the 14 people are being investigated for offences related to match-fixing activites under the city-state's Prevention of Corruption Act, as well as for their involvement in "organised crime activities".

It did not give the nationalities of those arrested, aged between 38 and 60 years old.

Five of the 14, including the suspected leader, have been detained for further investigations, while the rest will be released on police bail, the statement said.

Police would not comment if Dan Tan, a suspected Singaporean boss of a major football match-fixing ring, was one of those arrested, saying investigations were still underway.

Tan, whose full name is Tan Seet Eng, has been assisting investigators in Singapore since Europol announced its findings in February.

In May, Tan was charged in Hungary in relation to the alleged manipulation of 32 games in three countries.

He is also wanted in Italy in connection with the wide-ranging "calcioscommesse" scandal.

The joint statement by Singapore authorities said the city-state is "committed to eradicate match-fixing as a transnational crime and protect the integrity of the sport".

"We appreciate the assistance rendered by the INTERPOL Global Anti-Match-fixing Taskforce thus far, and will continue to work with the Taskforce and the global community in our fight against global match-fixing," the statement said.