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S'porean match-fixer nabbed in Finland

The Straits Times | Fabius Chen | Saturday, Apr 26, 2014

SINGAPORE - Convicted Singaporean match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal has been arrested in Helsinki, a Finnish newspaper reported yesterday.

According to the Helsingin Sanomat daily, the 48-year-old was taken into custody on April 16, on an international arrest warrant issued by the Singapore authorities.

A Singapore police spokesman said yesterday that they have been "notified of the developments in Finland and are currently working with the relevant authorities".

He did not reveal what Wilson Raj had been detained for but the latter has been a wanted man in the Republic since 2009.

In May that year, he was charged with injuring an auxiliary police officer after being confronted for illegal parking. In his attempt to make a getaway in a car, he injured one officer.

That earned him a five-year jail term, which he appealed against. He was released on $80,000 bail but failed to appear for his court date in July 2010, and is believed to have fled to Europe.

Wilson Raj is being held in a prison in Vantaa, a city just outside the capital of Helsinki, while a local court decides whether he is to be extradited to Singapore.

"The police will carry out the extradition determination, after which it will be decided whether or not he can be surrendered," said Mr Jari Nieminen, the National Bureau of Investigation officer in charge of the case.

Linked to fixes in countries such as Australia and Hungary, Wilson Raj was arrested in Helsinki in February 2011 for bribing players in the Finnish league, as well as travelling on a forged Singapore passport.

He was sentenced to two years' jail but was extradited after a year to Budapest in Hungary, where he assisted in investigations. It is believed that his initial arrest helped to spark a global clampdown on match-fixing.

This resulted in the arrest here last September of another Singaporean - Dan Tan Seet Eng, who was linked to a syndicate believed to have fixed matches in Italy.

Tan was also named in a probe into a sex-for-fixing case involving three Lebanese officials set to officiate an Asian Football Confederation Cup tie between Tampines Rovers and India's East Bengal at Jalan Besar Stadium in April last year.

The trio were exposed and arrested before the match, with referee Ali Sabbagh convicted of accepting bribes in the form of sex with a prostitute and handed a six-month prison term.

Assistant referees Abdallah Taleb and Ali Eid were each sentenced to three months' jail. Labelled by Interpol as "the leader of the world's most notorious match-fixing syndicate", Tan has been detained without trial.

fabiusc@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 24 in The Straits Times.

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