The "death knell" is sounding for a Singapore-linked match-fixing syndicate after the arrest of its suspected mastermind, said a former head of Fifa security on Thursday.
Businessman Dan Tan Seet Eng's alleged ring is said to have rigged over 150 matches in countries including Italy, Hungary, Finland and Nigeria. The 48-year-old and 13 other Singaporeans were arrested on Tuesday.
Former Interpol officer Chris Eaton, who headed the international football authority's security arm, said this is a "major" and "eclectic" group, with hands in nearly every European league.
Tan, who is wanted in Italy and Hungary, was nabbed together with 11 men and two women in the islandwide crackdown, led by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), with police support. Mr Eaton said: "I believe it's the death knell to this particular group."
Interpol chief Ronald K. Noble told The Straits Times that six of those arrested are linked to ongoing European investigations or prosecutions in countries including Italy, Germany and Finland.
Police here declined to reveal further details of the operation, although the paper understands that the authorities have kept close tabs on Tan since February.
Mr Eaton, currently director of sport integrity at the Doha-based International Centre for Sport Security, suggested that Tan's arrest is related to tension between Tan and convicted match fixer Wilson Raj Perumal.
When Wilson Raj, 46, was arrested in Finland in 2011, he claimed Tan was at the helm of the match-fixing operations. Tan, however, told The New Paper in August 2011 that he did not know Wilson Raj personally.
But he had a business dispute with him.