Italian police on Thursday arrested a fugitive Slovenian associate of alleged match-fixing kingpin Tan Seet Eng after he flew in from Singapore to hand himself over.
Reuters reports the man, identified as 31-year-old Admir Suljic, arrived at Milan’s Malpensa airport to find police waiting for him following a tip-off by Singapore authorities. Police said Suljic, who is accused of “criminal association aimed at sporting fraud”, had bought a one-way ticket and intended to surrender to the authorities.
Suljic had been on the run since December 2011 and is considered a “key element” in Italy’s ‘Last Bet’ investigation into match-fixing between 2009 and 2011. “His direct involvement in the international criminal group, made of Singapore nationals and people from the Balkans, has emerged from the investigation,” the police said in a statement. Italian prosecutors have accused Tan, also known as Dan Tan, of heading an organisation to fix football matches on a global basis and Italian police have issued an arrest warrant for him.
Europol, the European Union’s joint police body, revealed earlier this month that a total of 425 match officials, club officials, players and criminals from more than 15 countries are suspected of having been involved in attempts to fix more than 380 professional football matches in Europe alone. The activities formed part of a sophisticated organised crime operation, which generated over Eur8 million in betting profits and involved over Eur2 million in corrupt payments to those involved in the matches. Europol said that the organised criminal group behind most of these activities has been betting primarily on the Asian market. The ringleaders are of Asian origin, working closely together with European facilitators. Interpol secretary general Ronald Noble, speaking on Thursday at a conference in Kuala Lumpur addressing match-fixing, said Suljic was part of the network of Singapore national Tan.