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Alleged match-fixing kingpin challenges detention

17 September 2014, 11:00

Singapore - A Singaporean businessman suspected of running a global football match-fixing syndicate has filed a legal challenge against his nearly year long detention without trial, officials confirmed Wednesday.

The home affairs ministry said Dan Tan, also known as Tan Seet Eng, is demanding his release after being held since October 2013 under a special law that allows for indefinite detention.

He was detained as part of a roundup of 14 people in a major crackdown on corruption in global football.

Singapore authorities invoked the special law due to the difficulty of finding evidence against Tan.

In response to AFP queries about Tan, a spokeswoman from the ministry replied that "an application for the review of a detention order has been received".

"The application is now being processed by the Attorney General's Chamber," she added.

Tan's lawyer Hamidul Haq told the Straits Times newspaper his detention "should be reviewed by the courts" as match-fixing cases "should not be within the domain of detention without trial".

Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean previously said the special law under which Tan and three others have been detained is used "as a last resort in cases where accomplices and witnesses dare not testify against criminals in court, for fear of reprisal".

The law is typically used against members of organised criminal syndicates.

It allows authorities to hold suspects indefinitely, with yearly reviews.

Tan, 50, is wanted in Italy for allegedly playing a role in the wide-ranging 'calcioscommesse', or football betting, scandal, which implicated a swathe of big names and clubs.

He has also been charged in absentia in Hungary for allegedly manipulating 32 games in three European countries.

In a book about Singapore's deep links with global match-fixing released this year, local investigative journalist Zaihan Mohamed Yusof said authorities swooped down on Tan's gang after uncovering their plans to rig the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Also read: Dortmund striker Immobile ends goal drought in style

Experts have said that easy international transport, a passport accepted around the world and fluency in English and Mandarin have helped Singaporean fixers spread their influence abroad with the support of external investors, most believed to be from China.

In July, a Singapore court sentenced Singaporean nightclub owner Eric Ding to three years in prison for providing prostitutes to three Lebanese football referees in an attempt to rig future matches.



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