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Singapore Aiding Italy in Soccer Match-Fixing Probe

Singapore is assisting Italian authorities through Interpol in their investigation of an international soccer match-fixing syndicate, allegedly involving a Singapore citizen, police said.

Europol said earlier this week an Asian-based operation tried to fix as many as 680 games, including World Cup and European Championship qualifiers, to make a profit of more than 8 million euros ($10.8 million). An 18-month investigation identified 425 match officials, club executives, players and criminals in 15 countries who sought to fix the matches.

“We adopt a zero-tolerance approach toward corruption,” the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau in Singapore said in an e-mailed statement today. “Stern action has been taken against the parties involved if they had given or received bribes to fix a match.”

Singapore police received requests for assistance in the investigation from some European countries, police said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Today, in a separate e-mailed statement, police said the National Central Bureau in Rome sought their help.

“We will be liaising with the Europol to get more details of their findings,” police said. “Singapore authorities remain highly committed in the fight against transnational crime, regardless of whether Singaporeans are involved.”

Singapore, ranked the least corrupt Asian nation by Transparency International, has investigated eight match-fixing cases involving bribery in the city-state since 2005, the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said.

Eleven people were charged and convicted including two South Koreans and several footballers from a Singapore-based football club since 2005, the anti-corruption agency said.

World Cup and European Championship qualifiers, two Champions League matches and several top-flight games in European national leagues were among the suspicious matches identified, Europol said. Another 300 outside Europe, mainly in Africa, Asia, and South and Central America, may also have been targeted.

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