The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

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The Malaysian Insider :: Sports

FIFA investigates Singaporean for global, Malaysian match-fixing

Posted: 06 May 2011 08:40 PM PDT

KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 — Finland is holding a Singaporean businessman, believed to be part of a criminal syndicate working out of Malaysia and Singapore that has fixed football matches on three continents, The Daily Telegraph has reported.

Wilson Raj Perumal, who was convicted of match-fixing in Singapore in 1995, is believed to be one of several people who manipulated results of more than 300 matches over the last three years by buying over football officials for as little as US$10,000 (RM29,866) per match.

The specific scores and events delivered by these match officials in turn helped fixers make millions of dollars on Asian gambling markets.

The UK broadsheet said the fixers are also believed to be involved in planning and staging friendly internationals "with the express aim of manipulating the results" and have targeted hundreds of club matches across Europe.

London is believed to be a "crucial staging post" in the fixing operation as the financial centre, also a "significant centre" for betting, provides cover for the flow of funds through both legal and illegal channels.

FIFA head of security and former Interpol official Chris Eaton confirmed the scale of the investigation to The Daily Telegraph, adding that the threat from match-fixing to the global game was "significant".

"Interviews with those involved have told us that that fixers can spend upwards of US$300,000 to stage a friendly international and they do that with the expectation of a significant profit margin," he said.

"Our information is that we are talking about tens of millions of dollars in profit from each successful fix."

The report added that the "systematic nature" of the suspected fixing operations has raised concerns that international tournaments matches, including the under-17 and under-20 Fifa World Championships due to be held this summer in central America, could be vulnerable.

"We have admissions from those we are focusing on that they have been planning to target younger players at the under-17 and under-20 level. That is enough to make me concerned that we need to put preventative measures in place," Eaton said.

Perumal has been linked with a number of "suspicious" international matches, including a number of games played by Zimbabwe in Southeast Asia which the Zimbabwe FA believe were fixed.

The Daily Telegraph said it understands that FIFA investigators have linked the Singaporean  to two internationals staged in Antalya, Turkey in February that are the subject of its disciplinary action following suspected match-fixing.

Perumal is now in custody in Finland after being arrested on February 25.

Initially held on an immigration offence, the Singaporean businessman is now being investigated for allegedly fixing matches in the Finnish domestic league.

"Telephone records seized by Finnish police are understood to reveal that Perumal has a wide network of contacts in world football and the UK," The Daily Telegraph said.

"Investigators are now trawling these links, which include more than 60 listed contacts in the UK and evidence of contact with senior figures at international federations, sports marketing agencies and current and former international players."

Individuals working in at least six national football associations are also being examined as part of FIFA's investigation into the criminal network, believed to have links to Eastern Europe.

FIFA's investigation comes as a German court prepares to hand down sentences in the largest case of match-fixing ever to come before a national court.

Croatian match-fixer Ante Sapina is expected to be jailed for his part in coordinating a "massive corruption ring" that German police believe may have targeted more than 300 European club and international matches in the last five years, including the qualifying rounds of the Champions League and a World Cup qualifying game.

He is expected to receive a sentence of around six years after cooperating with prosecutors in the case.

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Rose leads Bulls to rout of Hawks, Chicago up 2-1

Posted: 06 May 2011 07:56 PM PDT

Chicago Bulls Derrick Rose drives past Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith (right) in their Eastern Conference semifinal game in Atlanta, Georgia. — Reuters pic

ATLANTA, May 7 — Chicago's Derrick Rose was in MVP mode this morning scoring a career-high 44 points to lead the Bulls to a 99-82 win over the Atlanta Hawks in Game Three of their NBA playoff series at the Philips Arena. 

The Bulls led from start to finish and had the better of the Hawks in virtually every department to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semi-final series. 

Chicago got off to a quick start and nursed a six-point advantage through the first quarter and their bench pushed the lead to 13 before the starters returned. 

The Hawks mustered one last push in the fourth quarter trimming the lead to 11 points, but Rose responded with eight consecutive points including three-pointers. 

Kyle Korver followed up with a three-pointer of his own to push the lead to a game-high 22 points with just under five minutes left allowing the Bulls to coast to victory. — Reuters

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