Man in match-fixing case who skipped bail back in court

Man in match-fixing case who skipped bail back in court
Part-time soccer referee Shokri Nor and businessman S. Thanasegar (pictured) were originally accused of conspiring with each other to receive a RM15,000 (S$6,100) bribe to fix a football match last month. The match was between Singapore’s LionsXII and Sarawak on 22 May 2012.

A MATCH-FIXING suspect who absconded two years ago was re-arrested and brought before the court yesterday morning.

Malaysian Thanasegar S. Sinnaiah had been charged in May 2012 with intentionally helping to arrange a meeting between Shokri Nor, a part-time soccer referee with the Football Association of Malaysia, and Singaporean Selvarajan Letchuman, where they allegedly conspired to fix a football match.

The alleged meeting took place in a hotel room in Penang on May 19, 2012, where the Malaysian referee received RM500 (S$200) and was offered up to RM15,000 if the desired outcome for the match between LionsXII and Sarawak FA was achieved.

All three were arrested before the game kicked off at Jalan Besar Stadium on May 22, 2012.

A bail of $50,000 each was put up for Thanasegar, 40, a businessman and a former Malaysia national footballer, and Shokri.

The pair failed to turn up in court for the pre-trial conference of their case three months later and their total bail amount of $100,000 was forfeited.

With the two alleged accomplices having absconded, Selvarajan, who had been charged with planning to fix the football match, was then given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal, as prosecutors were unable to proceed with the trial.

Thanasegar and Shokri were believed to have fled to Malaysia, even though their passports were impounded.

Yesterday, Thanasegar was brought before a special sitting of criminal mentions at the State Courts.

The special sitting, in view of the National Day holiday weekend, was to help investigation agencies like the police comply with the Constitution, which states that all arrested persons must be produced before a magistrate within 48 hours.

Thanasegar did not have a lawyer and no plea was entered.

The court heard how a previous bail of $50,000 and having Thanasegar's passport impounded did not prevent him from fleeing.

Prosecutors emphasised that the accused was a high flight risk and pressed for bail to be revoked.

District Judge Victor Yeo ordered no bail for Thanasegar and a pre-trial conference has been set for Aug 29.

Outside the State Courts, a spokesman with the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said Thanasegar was re-arrested with help from the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, but declined to say more.

If convicted, Thanasegar can be fined up to $100,000 and/or jailed for up to five years.

This article was first published on August 11, 2014.
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