Match-fixing update: fallout from international fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal’s new book

Weekly Media Recap 28 April 2014 - 4 May 2014

Published 06 May 2014

This week's recap features a variety of articles addressing the fallout from claims made by self-confessed international match fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal, in his new book, including claims he helped Nigeria and Honduras qualify for the 2010 World Cup, and that he fixed games at the Atlanta and Beijing Olympics.  Also featured: UEFA’s commitment to tackle fixing, and the Russian mob’s illegal betting in the U.S.

Current investigation

Finland

The Football Association of Finland were expecting the news of the arrest of Wilson Raj Perumal earlier this week, it having been notified of sightings of the notorious match-fixer prior to the arrest. "We were told about the capture of Wilson Raj Perumal by police," told Sami Terävä, the communications manager at the Football Association. "Naturally, it's good that a man for whom an international arrest warrant has been issued was caught," he added. Is the Football Association concerned about the motive for Perumal's visit to Finland? "We assume he had a reason for his visit to Finland. We'd been notified of earlier sightings. We have done some monitoring, but I can't comment further at this point." When were the sightings made? "They're not terribly old. We were aware that sightings had been made. Police then informed us that he has been brought into custody." The Football Association refused to comment on whether Perumal has approached people involved in Finnish football. The association regularly conducts surveillance activities and exchanges information with other relevant parties to detect irregularities in betting patterns, which are generally reliable signs of possible attempts to fix matches. This year, no such alarming signs have surfaced in the leagues operated by the Football Association of Finland.

Source: "Football Association knew to expect Perumal's arrest", 3 May 2014, Helsinki Times https://www.helsinkitimes.fi/lifestyle/10413-football-association-knew-to-expect-perumal-s-arrest.html

 

Honduras

A Singaporean match-fixer has claimed he helped two international sides qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Wilson Raj Perumal, a self-confessed match-fixer who was part of a syndicate that has been placed at the heart of a sophisticated network responsible for fixing hundreds of matches around the world, claims in a new book that he assisted Honduras and Nigeria in reaching the World Cup through his activities. Perumal had already admitted to being part of a syndicate that fixed a string of international friendlies by bribing corrupt officials and compromised players, but this is the first time that he has claimed to have influenced World Cup qualifiers.(...) He claims that in 2009 he set up a company called Football4U as a front to influence football players and officials. He claims he used an associate called Bee Hoon to "make things happen" and ensure Honduras won a match to qualify for the World Cup in South Africa. Although he never placed a bet on the match, because Bee Hoon wagered $200,000 of his own money and brought the odds down, he says his influence helped ensure a win for Honduras, who remained unaware of his intervention. He then details a meeting with a football official in which he promises to help Nigeria qualify for the World Cup in return for free rein in organising three warm-up matches and a cut of the money Fifa provides for hosting a training camp during the tournament. First, he claims to influence three players on his payroll to help Nigeria to victory in one of their qualifiers. Then he claims to have promised the Mozambique FA a $100,000 bonus if they were able to hold Tunisia to a draw and so stop Tunisia leapfrogging Nigeria and seizing automatic qualification. Mozambique secured an unlikely 1-0 victory.

Source: Owen Gibson, "'I helped Honduras and Nigeria reach 2010 World Cup' claims match-fixer", 28 April 2014, The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/apr/28/honduras-nigeria-world-cup-match-fixing


IOC

Claims the outcome of football matches at Atlanta 1996 and Beijing 2008 were subject to match-fixing have been dismissed by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) until concrete evidence is produced. This came after Singaporean businessman and convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal claimed to have successfully arranged matches at both Games in a book published this week. In the book, entitled Kelong Kings and written by Perumal in conjunction with two Italian journalists, he claims to have fixed a specific game in Atlanta before placing "substantial bets" with Asian bookmakers. He also details a failed attempt to bribe Mexico goalkeeper Jorge Campos by giving him $300,000 (£178,000/€216,000) in cash, only for the player to refuse his offer and leave the hotel room where the pair were meeting before calling for security. He claims to have then enjoyed more success in influencing elements of non-specific matches at Beijing 2008, by arranging for players from one team to ensure their side took the kick-off in two separate matches. But, in a statement to insidethegames today, the IOC claimed they had found no irregularities suggesting match-fixing, before urging people to come forward if they had more concrete evidence.

Source: Nick Butler, "IOC demand more evidence before considering claims Olympic football matches were fixed", 30 April 2014, Inside the Games https://www.insidethegames.biz/olympics/1019759-ioc-demand-more-evidence-before-considering-claims-olympic-football-matches-were-fixed

 

Mozambique

The Federation of International Football (FIFA) has formally written to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to indicate interest in the match-fixing allegation by a Singaporean convict, Wilson Raj Perumal, who claimed to have helped Nigeria to be at the South Africa 2010 World Cup. The world soccer governing body had in a letter to the Glass House, which the federation acknowledged the receipt on Tuesday, promised to work with the federation officials to investigate the allegation, disclosing that it had referred the matter to its Ethics Committee for full investigations. While confirming the receipt of FIFA letter yesterday in Abuja, a top management staff of the federation revealed that FIFA had promised to watch the clips of the tapes of all the Super Eagles matches and other countries in the group in the qualifiers to determine the strength of the allegation before making pronouncement on the issue. Investigation further revealed that the world soccer governing body had written to the Football Federation of Mozambique, which Perumal allegedly paid the sum of $100,000 to its officials to secure the win over Tunisia, a victory that saw Nigeria pick the ticket ahead of Tunisia in the group for the World Cup.

Source: Romanus Ugwu, "FIFA writes NFF on match fixing allegation", 1 May 2014, Sun News https://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=61750

 

Nigeria

The Federation of International Football (FIFA) has formally written to the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to indicate interest in the match-fixing allegation by a Singaporean convict, Wilson Raj Perumal, who claimed to have helped Nigeria to be at the South Africa 2010 World Cup. The world soccer governing body had in a letter to the Glass House, which the federation acknowledged the receipt on Tuesday, promised to work with the federation officials to investigate the allegation, disclosing that it had referred the matter to its Ethics Committee for full investigations. While confirming the receipt of FIFA letter yesterday in Abuja, a top management staff of the federation revealed that FIFA had promised to watch the clips of the tapes of all the Super Eagles matches and other countries in the group in the qualifiers to determine the strength of the allegation before making pronouncement on the issue. Investigation further revealed that the world soccer governing body had written to the Football Federation of Mozambique, which Perumal allegedly paid the sum of $100,000 to its officials to secure the win over Tunisia, a victory that saw Nigeria pick the ticket ahead of Tunisia in the group for the World Cup.

Source: Romanus Ugwu, "FIFA writes NFF on match fixing allegation", 1 May 2014, Sun News https://sunnewsonline.com/new/?p=61750

 

Nigeria

Sani Lulu, the Nigeria Football Federation President when the alleged match fixing was carried out, has denied any knowledge of Wilson Raj Perumal’s claims, insisting it is a lie from the pit of hell. Perumal claimed in a published book that he influenced results to help the Super Eagles to qualify for the 2010 Mundial. The match fixer also said Nigeria football authorities promised him the right to organise their pre-2010 World Cup friendlies, as well as part of the money FIFA pays to help teams prepare for the tournament. The Singaporean was also said to have influenced the appointment of the referee that officiated the June 1 friendly match in which Nigeria beat Argentina 4-1 in Abuja.

The former NFF boss, in an interview with New Telegraph, said he had not met with the Singaporean, let alone having any transaction with him. Lulu challenged him to go public with the names of people he did the business with.

Source: Emmanuel Tobi and Mercy Jacobs, "Match-fixing: Lulu challenges Perumal to name culprits", 1 May 2014, The New telegraph https://newtelegraphonline.com/match-fixing-lulu-challenges-perumal-name-culprits/


Vietnam

Ninh Binh police have arrested two Vissai Ninh Binh footballers accused of involving in illegal gambling on an Asian Football Council (AFC) Cup match against Malaysia’s Kelantan on March 18. Defender Tran Manh Dung and goalkeeper Nguyen Manh Dung will be in custody for 40 days, lieutenant colonel La Hong Phuc of Ninh Binh Police Department told Lao Dong newspaper. They are alleged of "organizing gambling," which is punishable by jail term of up to ten years in the Penal Code. According to investigators, defender Dung was the one who had got eight others involved in the betting and offered to book VND2 billion (US$95,000) with Dao Duc Loi, an illegal bookmaker in Hai Phong City. Loi only accepted half the amount.

Source: Lan Phuong - Quang Duan, "Two Vietnamese footballers arrested in AFC Cup gambling scandal", 1 May 2014, Thanh Nien News https://www.thanhniennews.com/sports/two-vietnamese-footballers-arrested-in-afc-cup-gambling-scandal-25875.html


 

Good practice

UEFA

UEFA President Michel Platini has stressed the determination of European football to eliminate what he called the "scourge" of match-fixing, as the relationship on the issue between UEFA and key stakeholders took a crucial step forward. "[Match-fixing] is not a fantasy; it is a reality, a sad and serious reality," said Mr Platini at the inaugural meeting of the UEFA working group on match-fixing in Nyon. The UEFA President urged full cooperation between the football authorities, state authorities and law enforcement agencies in the fight against match-fixing, emphasising that sports bodies cannot conduct the fight alone. "Since my election in 2007, I have not stopped calling for help in the fight against this danger," said the UEFA President. "For a long time, I had the impression that I was crying in the wilderness. But today, I finally have the impression that I am being heard and perhaps even listened to. UEFA and its member associations are aware of the fact that the football authorities do not have the means to deal with the problem of match-fixing themselves," he added. "We are doing our utmost, believe me, but our powers and perogatives are limited, because we are not judges or prosecutors, nor are we police officers. It is only by working hand in hand with government authorities and law enforcement bodies that we can eradicate this scourge once and for all."

Source: Mark Chaplin, "Fighting the 'scourge' of match-fixing", 29 April 2014, UEFA https://www.uefa.org/disciplinary/news/newsid=2098300.html

 

UEFA

UEFA is extending its educational drive to warn players and officials of the dangers of match-fixing by making additional presentations during mini-tournaments in UEFA's youth competitions, which are being staged in 40 countries during 2013/14."It's a clear and deliberate step forward in our education and prevention programmes to tackle match-fixing in European football," said Emilio García, UEFA's head of disciplinary and integrity matters. "For the first time, this new policy will offer us the possibility to pass the message about match-fixing to over 4,000 young European players." For several years, European football's governing body has given presentations highlighting the fight against match-fixing to teams participating in the final tournaments of UEFA youth competitions, as well as to referees and coaches attending UEFA courses. UEFA now intends to increase the frequency of these presentations with the aim of reaching a larger audience and, in particular, players appearing in UEFA's youth competitions. Consequently, similar prevention presentations to those given at final tournaments will be given to all the teams participating at the mini-tournaments in the qualifying and elite rounds.

Source: "UEFA steps up match-fixing education", 29 April 2014, UEFA https://m.uefa.com/news/2098246/


 

Modus operandi

Zimbabwe

Convicted Singaporean bookmaker Wilson Raj Perumal has made sensational revelations about how he was allegedly duped by then Warriors striker Ian Gorowa when he tried to manipulate the outcome of Zimbabwe’s Dunhill Cup match against Bosnia-Herzegovina in Malaysia in 1997. In a tell-all biography of Perumal called Kelong Kings, written by award-winning Italian investigative journalists Alessandro Righi and Emanuele Piano and published last week, he revealed in great detail his underworld operations. (...) Perumal said he was broke and had only US$3 000 in his pocket but an old associate of him, only named as Pal, helped him pay the five Warriors an upfront of US$30 000 as part of the promised US$100 000 for losing the match 4-0. “I decided to try my luck with the Zimbabwean players. I knew that these black guys were dirt-poor and could be corrupted so I decided to approach them,” said Perumal. He learnt about the whereabouts of the Zimbabwean players and approached one unnamed player. “I met the player on my own and told him that I was a football agent, took him out for dinner and then put him on a shopping spree,” he said. “It felt like a first date. Then I made my offer. ‘Would you be happy to receive US$100 000 dollars to lose a game?’ I asked. ‘Extremely happy,’ was his reply. ‘The US$100 000 is not meant for you alone,’ I clarified, ‘but for five or six of you who can be trusted to work for me.” The unnamed player then arranged for Perumal to meet four other players the following day. “One of them was extremely cautious and kept asking questions. ‘We don’t know whether you are a policeman or not,’ he argued. ‘I’m not a policeman,’ I answered. ‘Look at my passport, I am a Singaporean who has come to Malaysia. This is my profession. I fix matches. Either you want to do business or you don’t,’” said Perumal.

Source: Michael Madyira, "Gorowa outwits match-fixer Perumal", 4 May 2014, The Standard https://www.thestandard.co.zw/2014/05/04/gorowa-outwits-match-fixer-perumal/


 

Illegal betting

United States

New court papers offer a rare glimpse of how a notorious Moscow-based mob boss indicted last year in a $100 million sports betting and money laundering ring does business.(...) Golubchik, 57, of Fort Lee, N.J., was sentenced Tuesday for his leading role in the international illegal betting operation, which catered to Russian oligarchs. Manhattan Federal Judge Jesse Furman hit Golubchik with a five-year prison sentence far beyond the 21 to 27 months his plea deal called for. The Bergen County man had copped in November to taking part in the massive racketeering enterprise. Furman attributed the harsh sentence to the staggering scale of the scheme. Jeffrey Lichtman, a lawyer for Golubchik, called the sentence “ridiculous.” He said prosecutors ambushed his client with a last-minute request above the range in the plea deal. “We had a plea deal that was carefully negotiated,” Lichtman said. “In 24 years of practice I’ve never had a judge impose a sentence so drastically different.” Tokhtakounov and Golubchik were charged last April along with billionaire Manhattan art dealer Hillel (Helly) Nahmad, a number of professional poker players and Molly Bloom, a socialite known to host poker parties for such A-Listers as Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio. Nahmad and Bloom were accused in a second ring, which took bets from Americans. (...) The betting organization laundered money through shell companies in Cyprus and invested in real estate, the feds said. The clients bet on Spanish, Italian and German soccer games and on the NBA, according to court papers. "Mr. Golubchik was an undisputed leader," said Furman, noting that Tokhtakounov's role was to "bring a fear of violence to the organization so people would pay." "The specter of violence was certainly present," the judge said

Source: Daniel Beekman, "New Jersey man who led massive sports betting ring with Russian mob boss hit with 5-year prison sentence", 29 April 2014, New York Daily News
https://www.nydailynews.com/news/crime/russian-mob-boss-5-years-prison-illegal-sports-betting-ring-article-1.1773374


 

 

Legislation

New Zealand

Following recommendations approved by Cabinet, 3 News has learned fixers will face jail under a proposed amendment to the Crimes Act. Right now, sports in New Zealand - both amateur and professional - are vulnerable to "fixing". The issue is internationally regarded as the single biggest threat to the future of sport. "The message is quite clear: this is a problem elsewhere, it is going to be a problem in New Zealand sometime if it isn't already," says Minister of Sport and Recreation Murray McCully. Mr McCully's office made confirmation today. "It'll make it clear that match-fixing is a criminal offence," he says. "There are some provisions in the current legislation that can be used to deal with this behaviour but we wanted to put that beyond any doubt and give everyone a strong signal."

The move comes following a lengthy consultation with Government agencies and national sporting organisations, and will also see the introduction of a code to help sports educate athletes and deal with concerns around fixing.

Source: Andrew Gourdie, "Govt to crackdown on match-fixing", 2 May 2014, 3 News https://www.3news.co.nz/Govt-to-crackdown-on-match-fixing/tabid/415/articleID/342535/Default.aspx


 

Odds and ends

Australia

Police were called to a property in Saratoga at around 2pm today, where they say they found the body of a 32-year-old man, believed to be the former Bulldogs and Melbourne Storm player. The cause of death is not being treated as suspicious. A report is being prepared for the coroner. Tandy’s chequered career included stints with Wests Tigers, his debut club in 2008, St George, South Sydney, Melbourne and the Bulldogs. He also played in the European Super League. He misfortune included being part of Melbourne’s 2009 grand final team, which saw the club stripped of the title for salary cap breaches. He joined Canterbury-Bankstown mid-season in 2010, but was sacked less that 12 months later following allegations that he was involved in a $30,000 betting scandal in August 2010, when the Bulldogs played the North Queensland Cowboys. Tandy was charged with match fixing after a betting plunge on the first points coming from a penalty to the Cowboys, with Tandy conceding a penalty in front of the posts early in the match. He pleaded not guilty, but was fined, placed on a 12-month good behaviour bond and banned from the game for life. Earlier this year, Tandy was charged with kidnapping, with Police alleging the former forward was used as standover man to collect a drug debt. He was released on conditional bail which required him to stay at his mother’s Saratoga home. Some media reports have suggested Tandy died of an apparent drug overdose.

Source: Simon Thomsen, "Match Fixing NRL Player Ryan Tandy Found Dead At Parents' House", 28 April 2014, Business Insider https://www.businessinsider.com.au/match-fixing-nrl-player-ryan-tandy-found-dead-at-parents-house-2014-4


 

Sentences/Sanctions

Australia

State League One South-East side Southern Stars have been deducted eight points on the competition ladder following a Football Federation Victoria sanction for their match fixing scandal in last season's Victorian Premier League. The side, which Morwell Pegasus defeated in their early season State League encounter, was also fined $10,000 and committee members must undertake management and governance courses. The club is also to adopt more robust internal procedures in relation to the selection of its coach and potential international players. The FFV proceedings against the club were separate to the disciplinary process conducted by Football Federation Australia under the National Code of Conduct against each of the individuals charged with match fixing. FFA has issued life bans on participation in football against two players who have been convicted under Victoria's new match fixing laws. It has also suspended the remaining players and coach pending the outcome of their criminal proceedings.

Source: "Strict sanctions imposed on Stars", 28 April 2014, Latrobe Valley Express https://www.latrobevalleyexpress.com.au/story/2244119/strict-sanctions-imposed-on-stars/?cs=1210

 

Pakistan

The Pakistan Cricket Board will review the life ban for match fixing imposed on the country's former captain Saleem Malik on the recommendation of a judicial inquiry commission, PCB chairman Najam Sethi said on Tuesday. "Malik has approached us and told us he has been cleared by a court. He has sent some documents to us and we are studying them," Sethi told PTV Sports. "I have told him to come and meet me in the next few days as we are ready to review his case." Malik was one of three international captains, along with South Africa's Hansie Cronje and India's Mohammad Azharuddin, to be given life bans from all forms of cricket after Delhi police discovered evidence in 2000 that Cronje had accepted money from a bookmaker to throw matches.

Source: Pritha Sarkar and Ken Ferris, "Pakistan Cricket Board to review Saleem Malik's life ban", 29 April 2014, Reuters https://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-rt-uk-cricket-pakistan-matchfixing-malik-20140429,0,1298094.story

 

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