Ex-footballer pleads guilty

Ex-footballer pleads guilty
Businessman S. Thanasegar.

SINGAPORE - They offered the referee RM15,000 (S$5,600) for a big LionsXII win.

Thinking the match was safely fixed, one of them then bet thousands of dollars with Singapore Pools.

If their plan had gone through, the match-fixers would have pocketed more than $20,000 from Singapore Pools.

But Thanasegar S Sinnaiah and his accomplices were arrested before the football match.

The referee, Shokri Nor, was also found out and replaced at the last minute.

While out on bail, Thanasegar, 40, continued to defy the law and fled Singapore while hiding in the boot of a car.

Yesterday, the Malaysian and former footballer appeared in court and pleaded guilty to abetting a conspiracy to fix the Malaysian Super League (MSL) match between the LionsXII and Sarawak FA in May 2012.

He also admitted to two charges of abetting a conspiracy to cheat Singapore Pools by betting on the fixed match and one count of failing to present his passport when leaving Singapore. Four other charges were taken into consideration.

His accomplice, Selvarajan Letchuman, 52, a Singaporean, has also been nabbed and his case is pending.

The referee, Shokri, 50, a Malaysian and former policeman, is still on the run. (See report above.)

The court heard that Thanasegar, who used to play for the Kedah state team, and Shokri were from the same hometown in Malaysia. Thanasegar came to know Selvarajan through mutual friends in 1997.

On May 18, 2012, Selvarajan phoned Thanasegar, who was then in Kedah, and asked for tips for the LionsXII-Sarawak MSL game that was to take place four days later in Singapore at the Jalan Besar Stadium.

After Thanasegar told him that Shokri was the referee, Selvarajan arranged for the three of them to meet at a hotel room in Penang the next day.

That was where Selvarajan told Shokri that the LionsXII must beat Sarawak by at least three goals.

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