Match-fixing trial: Phone call to officials under scrutiny

Match-fixing trial: Phone call to officials under scrutiny
Alleged match-fixer Eric Ding and his lawyer Hamidul Haq (above).

A midnight phone call that may have been made to Lebanese football officials by alleged match-fixer Eric Ding Si Yang has come under court scrutiny.

Defence lawyer Yusfiyanto Yatiman on Wednesday said linesmen Abdallah Taleb, 37, and Ali Eid, 33, had specifically identified the caller in further statements they gave in June, but not in earlier statements recorded in April when they were arrested.

How could they have identified the caller in June - "more than two months after" the call took place on April 3 - but could only say the caller "was a male" in earlier statements, asked Mr Yusfiyanto in the continuing trial of local businessman Ding.

Ding is accused of bribing the linesmen and referee Ali Sabbagh, 34, with prostitutes in return for fixing a match. He is said to have made the midnight call to notify the match officials of the prostitutes' arrival at their hotel.

Mr Taleb, in his June statement to the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), did not say he recognised the caller's voice.

But he told bureau officers he reasoned the caller must be "the same man they had met at a cafe" because he was "the only man they knew in Singapore", and "the only one who has (referee) Ali Sabbagh's phone number".

The court had earlier heard that Ding met the officials at a Subway sandwich restaurant on April 2.

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