(WFI) Italian police have arrested a Slovenian football match-fixing suspect after he flew in from Singapore and gave himself up. Interpol secretary general Ronald K. Noble said it was a “significant” step in the fight against matchfixing.
The man was named as 31-year-old Admir Sulic, who is accused of fraud and qualified sporting fraud committed within criminal association. Singapore authorities had alerted the police to his arrival at Milan’s Malpensa airport.
Interpol claims Sulic is associated with an international match-fixing gang run by Singaporean businessman Tan Seet Eng, who is dubbed Dan Tan. Seet Eng is also wanted for questioning by Italian police.
Sulic is alleged to have had a key role in the matchfixing scandal that rocked Italian football between 2009 and 2011.
The arrest came on the second day of a Asian Football Confederation conference in Kuala Lumpur focused on tackling match-fixing.
Interpol secretary general Ronald K. Noble was among the speakers.
“This is exactly the type of result which can be achieved when police share information in real time and use INTERPOL’s global network to locate, identify and arrest suspects,” he said in a statement.
“With the information received from 190 countries around the world, police from Interpol member countries can establish connections with evidence, leads and suspects that would otherwise not be available,” he added.
“What we now need is for national laws to be modernised allowing the police to share information via Interpol channels while investigations are ongoing so they can act fast and more effectively.
“The arrest of this suspected match-fixer could not have been achieved without Italy and Singapore’s close cooperation with Interpol, nor without a great deal of behind-the-scenes work by prosecutors and magistrates.”
Singapore has come under fire for not doing enough to combat matchfixing by helping to catch the ringleaders.
But Noble said the city-state was not to blame.
“Those who doubted Singapore’s ability or commitment to fight match-fixing and bring those wanted for arrest to justice need to understand that Singapore acts when the evidence exists and is shared and when their laws permit,” he said.
On Wednesday, at the start of the Asian Football Confederation conference, acting president Zhang Jilong warned that the “cancer” of match-fixing was a pandemic “too complicated and widespread for one organisation to fight”.
Earlier this month, Europol revealed the results of Europe’s largest matchfixing investigation, saying it had uncovered 380 suspicious games following an 18-month probe. However, many of these appear to be old cases that were previously made public including results of match-fixing investigations in Germany and Italy.
Europe’s law enforcement agency said it had “evidence for 150 of these cases and the operations were run out of Singapore with bribes of up to €100,000 ($136,000) paid per match”.
Another 300 suspicious matches were identified outside Europe.
By INSIDER’s Mark Bisson
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