Dan Tan charged by Hungary prosecutors in match-fixing investigation

The elusive Singaporean is suspected of being part of a syndicate that has fixed 32 football matches and has been charged along with 44 others
Hungarian prosecutors announced on Friday that alleged match-fixer Tan Seet Eng, better known as Dan Tan, has been charged in absentia for suspected manipulation of 32 football matches.

The Singaporean was indicted along with 44 Hungarians, which includes former and active players, referees, club owners, managers and coaches after a four-year probe.

The prosecutors have issued international arrest warrants for Dan Tan, who is still yet to be arrested.

Games being probed include Hungarian league and cup matches, domestic and international youth matches held in Hungary, three top-flight games in Finland and one in Italy, in addition to two international club friendly matches.

Four separate trials will be held for the prosecution due to its large scale, according to a spokesman for the chief prosecutor’s office.

"The main trial will involve the organisers and ringleaders, those who were liaisons with the Asian syndicate," Geza Fazekas told AFP on Friday.

"The [36,000-page] report has been filed with the Budapest court now, so we estimate trials should begin within months, probably no later than September."

European police body Europol had said in February that match-fixers linked to crime syndicates in Singapore had targeted hundreds of matches around the world.

If convicted, the 45 face jail sentences of two to 16 years .

The other three trials will concern cases where the Asian syndicate was not involved as well as incidents where a large group of players from the same club were implicated, such as REAC Club in Budapest, where 14 have been charged.

A statement from Hungary's chief prosecutor Imre Keresztes on Thursday described how the syndicate operated, saying that games were selected based on whether there was a “realistic chance” of bribing the match officials and players involved to affect the outcome.

This was then followed by making large amounts of low-level bets, around 100 euros ($130), at betting shops worldwide.

Uefa president Michel Platini said on Friday that match-fixing and betting was "the main problem" in football, and called for the formation of a Europe-wide organisation to police sport.

"We are not dealing with petty criminals looking to make ends meet," the Frenchman said at a congress in London.

"It seems that we are in some cases dealing with mafia-type organisations that use some games, and therefore our sport, to launder dirty money.

"One game rigged is one match too many as it strikes at the soul of our sport, the very essence of the game."