Cremona prosecutor Roberto Di Martino, who has been leading an inquiry into international match-fixing, has said he is keen to question the suspected ringleader of a major operation, who has been arrested in Singapore.
It has emerged that 12 men and two women were arrested following raids across Singapore in the early hours of Tuesday. Among those taken into custody was the suspected leader of the organised crime group and several other individuals who are the subject of ongoing investigations in other jurisdictions in relation to match-fixing activities. A high-level police official told the Associated Press that those arrested include the notorious Tan Seet Eng, widely known as Dan Tan. Prosecutors in Italy have accused Dan Tan of coordinating a global crime syndicate that made millions of dollars betting on fixed Italian matches and other games across the world. “He’s the leader, the general director of the ring,” said Di Martino, adding that his office sent an international request for Dan Tan’s arrest “three or four months ago.”
The arrests are being seen as significant breakthrough in the global fight against match-fixing. Di Martino continued: “It’s big news. It shows that our inquiry means something on an international level. Now we need to explore the diplomatic channels to see what we can do. I’m not sure if our treaties permit (extradition). Plus, these arrests appear to also be linked to their (Singapore’s) own investigation. Others have been arrested, too, including women, that don’t appear to have anything to do with our inquiry. I think there are some elements from our inquiry involved, and some from theirs.”
The police official said Dan Tan’s arrest was the result of a lengthy investigation by Singapore authorities and was not in response to arrest requests from foreign law enforcement bodies. The AP said this could be significant because it opens the possibility that Tan could be brought to justice in Singapore, avoiding potential extradition problems. Italian prosecutors have alleged that Tan is the head of a crime syndicate that allegedly made millions betting on rigged Italian games between 2008 and late 2011, through bribing players, referees and club officials. At least 50 people have been arrested in Italy for match-fixing since mid-2011, with points penalties handed out by the Italian Football Federation for three consecutive years.