Fixing ring nabbed in Australia

2013-09-16 10:18
Soccer ball (File)

Melbourne - Six men including a Malaysian and a Briton have been charged following an investigation into multi-million dollar match-fixing in Australian state soccer, reports said Monday.

The charges relate to the alleged manipulation of results mainly for overseas betting at an obscure second-tier Melbourne side called Southern Stars.

The Australian Associated Press identified the prime accused, Segaran 'Gerry' Gsubramaniam, 45, as a Malaysian who was the contact man with players.

Victoria state police said he faces 10 charges linked to corrupting the outcome of a betting event.

Melbourne magistrates on Monday adjourned Gsubramaniam's bail application until Friday.

Detective Scott Poynder told the court receipts for foreign currency worth more than Aus$200 000 ($185 000) were found at Gsubramaniam's rented accommodation and he had been booked to leave Australia on Monday night.

"On a worldwide scale (Gsubramaniam) is not the big wig, Australian-wise he is," Poynder said.

Goalkeeper Joe Wooley, 23 reportedly a British national, and the team coach were among five other men each charged Sunday night with eight counts linked to corrupting the outcome of a betting event.

They were all bailed to appear before magistrates, also on Friday.

Four other men arrested on Sunday were released pending further inquiries.

The Sydney Morning Herald said the authorities suspected the "world's biggest match-fixer of masterminding" the scam.

Singaporean Tamil Wilson Raj Perumal was at the centre of the investigation and was believed to have recruited British players from minor leagues, despite being under Hungarian police protection as a supergrass in local match-fixing cases, it said.

Southern Stars president Ercan Cicek told reporters that five players were brought in from England at the start of the season by an unnamed man who also offered to set up sponsorship.

The Stars have played 21 games in the Victorian Premier League, losing 16 and drawing four. In their only victory they beat the league's top side.

The arrests followed a tip-off from the Football Federation of Australia. Its chief David Gallop said the governing body had been alerted by international betting watchdog Sportradar, which had detected suspicious activity.

Reports put estimated winnings in Australia and overseas from the fixed matches at more than Aus$2 million, with organised crime syndicates involved in Asian betting markets.

Match-fixing can attract a 10-year maximum jail sentence in Australia and lifetime football bans can be applied worldwide.

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