Singapore police arrested 12 men and two women suspected of being part of a criminal gang involved in fixing sports events.
Officers raided several locations in Singapore on Sept. 17, the city’s police and anti-corruption agency said in a statement yesterday. Police said the suspected gang leader was detained as well as people being investigated in other countries in relation to match-fixing.
Prosecutors and police around the world are conducting probes to protect the integrity of soccer, the world’s most popular sport. The European Union’s law enforcement agency is investigating attempts to rig more than 380 games, and in February, FIFA, soccer’s governing body, suspended people in Italy, South Korea and China as part of its probe.
The 14 people in Singapore are being investigated for corruption offenses related to match-fixing and their involvement in organized crime activities, according to the statement.
“Singaporean authorities have taken an important step in cracking down on an international match-fixing syndicate by arresting the main suspects in the case,” Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble said in a separate statement.
The Football Association of Singapore said it takes a “serious view” of any corrupt practice and will work with the relevant agencies to combat match-fixing.
Three Lebanese soccer officials were convicted of corruption in June after pleading guilty in a Singapore case involving the trading of sexual favors to fix games. A Singaporean businessman has been charged with providing women for the scam, and faces as many as five years in jail if convicted.
Australian police this week charged six men in connection with alleged fixing of soccer matches in the state of Victoria that netted an international ring more than A$2 million ($1.9 million) in winnings from bets.
The Singapore police force is working with Interpol’s Global Anti-Match Fixing Taskforce to eradicate sports crime, according to the statement.