Silence on match-fixing probe puts Singapore at risk

Wed Feb 6, 2013 7:06am EST
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By John O'Callaghan

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore is working with European authorities investigating the fixing of soccer matches on a global scale but its silence on any action being taken against local suspects risks damaging the reputation of the wealthy, tightly regulated Asian country.

European investigators said this week they believe the results of hundreds of soccer matches were fixed at club and national level, with some of the key figures alleged to have run the bribery scam out of Singapore.

Interpol, the international police organization, did not reply to questions from Reuters about the investigation in Singapore, saying it does not comment on specific cases.

But Interpol chief Ronald Noble told Singapore's Straits Times newspaper it would be wrong to assume "that only Asian organized crime is responsible for match-fixing in Europe and around the world".

It would be unfortunate if Singapore's "well-earned anti-crime reputation" suffered from the allegations, he said in remarks published on Wednesday, but added the city-state must show it is serious about tackling the problem.

"Until arrests are made in Singapore and until actual names, dates and specific match-fixing details are given, these organized criminals will appear above the law and Singapore's reputation will continue to suffer," Noble said.

In November, he had said: "In the near future, Singaporeans will be reading about arrests made here in Singapore."

Police in the city-state said on Tuesday they "are assisting the European authorities in their investigations" and that "Singapore takes a strong stance against match-fixing".   Continued...

Superintendent Ho Yenn Dar (L), assistant director of media relations of Singapore Police Force listens to questions from journalists on the international match-fixing scam at the Ministry of Home Affairs in Singapore February 6, 2013. Singapore's police said on Tuesday it was helping its European counterparts investigate a syndicate accused of fixing the outcome of hundreds of soccer matches. REUTERS/Edgar Su