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'They made a fool out of me'

Wilson Raj Perumal breaks silence on fellow kelong king Dan Tan, claims he's doing it because Tan sold him out. -TNP
Zaihan Mohamed Yusof

Mon, Jan 09, 2012
The New Paper

He claimed he would have taken the secret to the grave.

But convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal could not hold his peace, especially after what a former colleague had done to him first, he said.

Wilson Raj believes that the ex-colleague, businessman Dan Tan Seet Eng, betrayed him to the Finnish police.

Dan Tan, a Singaporean, is now on Italy's wanted list for allegedly heading a match-fixing cartel suspected of manipulating Serie A and B matches.

Wilson Raj's latest revelation - in a letter sent exclusively to The New Paper (TNP) - has shed more light on how foreign law enforcement agencies came to know of his elusive partner.

Wilson Raj had exposed Dan Tan to the Finnish authorities after his arrest at Helsinki Vantaa international airport in February last year.

His letter, dated Dec 29, 2011, explains why he decided to rat on Dan Tan.

Wilson Raj, 46, who is serving a two-year sentence in Finland for match-fixing, said: "Seeking police assistance is a violation of code number one in any criminal business.

"Dan Tan broke this code and stirred the hornet's nest... I cannot be held accountable for something that was ignited by Dan (Tan) and Anthony (Santia Raj)."

Both Santia Raj and Dan Tan have not been detained or charged.

Wilson Raj claimed that Dan Tan had sent a whistle-blower, Joseph Tan, to tip off Finnish police on his kelong operations in Rovaniemi, Finland.

TNP learnt that Joseph Tan was an associate of Anthony Santia Raj - Wilson Raj's former-employee-turned-rival.

Both Santia Raj and Joseph Tan were present at fixed international friendly matches played in Antalya, Turkey, on Feb 9, 2011, said Fifa.

Wilson Raj, who is a fugitive from Singapore, added: "He (Dan Tan) plotted with Anthony to get rid of me... He knew the precise date and time of my arrival. He also knew I was travelling on a forged passport."

To the law enforcement agencies, Wilson Raj's confession was the "smoking gun" - sparking a massive probe into football match-fixing in Europe.

German, Turkish, Hungarian and Italian investigators began monitoring Dan Tan's syndicate.

Last month, the coordinated probes resulted in 17 arrest warrants being issued in Italy, including those for three Singaporeans, one of whom is Dan Tan.

Nevertheless, Wilson Raj declined to fully explain how he knew Dan Tan was behind his arrest.

Wilson Raj fled Singapore around July 2010 after failing to show up at an appeals hearing against a five-year corrective training sentence for injuring an auxiliary policeman.

In interviews with Finnish police obtained by TNP, Wilson Raj said that he was part of a global syndicate headed by a Singaporean financier.

He previously claimed that Santia Raj had betrayed him and sold his projects to an investor. Wilson Raj did not name the investor.

Until now.

"I chose not to disclose his (Dan Tan's) true identity in the initial stages because I had no inkling of his involvement leading to my arrest," he wrote in his letter.

'Thieves falling out'?

Fifa's security head Chris Eaton said what Wilson Raj is divulging now may just be a game of "thieves falling out".

He told TNP in an e-mail: "The fact that Perumal now reveals, in his own writing, some more of his criminal relationships out of Singapore, is just further cause for relevant authorities to take action.

"The significance of the Singapore connections in global match-fixing cannot be ignored or denied any longer."

Wilson Raj said in his letter that he was in business with Dan Tan for the last three years.

Their relationship soured when Dan Tan allegedly tried to steal his business.

Wilson Raj said: "He went behind my back to negotiate business with Anthony (Santia Raj), knowing very well these projects were initiated by me.

"I only found out both of them had made a fool out of me when I caught a glimpse of (referee) Ibrahim Chaibou officiating the Bolivia v Venezuela international friendly in October 2010."

TNP understands that the financially-strapped Bolivian Football Association (BFA) was targeted in September 2010.

In previous letters to TNP, Wilson Raj admitted sending Santia Raj to seal a deal with BFA.

Instead, Santia Raj signed the contract on behalf of a fake company, Footy Media.

It was then that Wilson Raj decided "to get even with Dan Tan" and recoup his losses in the Bolivia deal.

Wilson Raj said he raised quotation prices on projects "we had planned to execute in Finland". This may have led to his downfall.

He said his high quotations could have prompted Dan Tan to get rid of him and take over the Finnish projects.

He also thinks that Dan Tan assumed he had tipped off the authorities on the two matches played in Antalya.

The two international friendlies involving Estonia, Bulgaria, Latvia and Bolivia were organised by Footy Media, which vanished overnight.

Its telephone numbers and website were no longer in use when Fifa tried to contact Santia Raj.

Fifa had investigated the matches, in which all seven goals were penalties, after detecting strange betting patterns.

An associate of Dan Tan told TNP last month that Wilson Raj was ungrateful and not to be trusted.

He said Dan Tan had lent Wilson Raj money for past projects and even invested in his companies.

In his letter, Wilson Raj did not deny Dan Tan's generosity and described him as a helpful, jovial and flexible person, who on one occasion, had lent him $200,000 on short notice.

But he claimed Dan Tan has a dark side.

Wilson Raj alleged: "He has a jealous nature and will never allow a competitor from the same field to supersede him. He once instigated a Chinese national to vanish with $720,000 of my money." Santia Raj and Dan Tan could not be reached for comment.

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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