Police fail in bid to get match-fixer returned to S'pore

Police fail in bid to get match-fixer returned to S'pore

SINGAPOREAN - Singaporean match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal has been handed over to the Hungarian authorities by the Finnish police, which have turned down requests by police here to have him returned to Singapore to face charges.

The football match-fixing kingpin, who has been on the wanted list here for the last five years, was arrested in Finland on April 16 this year.

Responding to queries from The Straits Times, a Singapore Police Force (SPF) spokesman explained that Finland is "bound by European Union laws to return him to Hungary" where he assisted in match-fixing investigations.

The 48-year-old cannot be extradited here from either Finland or Hungary because Singapore does not have extradition treaties with these two countries, explained the spokesman.

But Finnish ministerial counsellor Juhani Korhonen, who oversees extraditions under his country's Ministry of Justice, said Finland had given Singapore 30 days from his arrest on April 16 to submit an extradition request, and the deadline was not met.

"They (Singapore) did not send anything except a diplomatic note where they asked that (Wilson Raj) be expelled from Finland on the basis that the Singapore authorities had cancelled his travel documents," said Mr Korhonen.

However, a team of Singapore police officers and Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau investigators was allowed to interview him in Finland last week.

Wilson Raj is believed to have fled to Europe after skipping bail here in 2010.

Then, he was appealing against a five-year jail sentence for injuring an auxiliary police officer, after he flew into a rage when the officer gave him a parking ticket.

Petty crimes aside, he is believed to have rigged hundreds of football games across five continents, generating hundreds of millions of dollars in fraudulent gambling winnings for Asian and European syndicates.

Wilson Raj was arrested in the Finnish capital of Helsinki in February 2011. He was jailed for two years for bribing players in the Finnish league and travelling on a forged Singapore passport.

It is this arrest that is believed to have led to a multinational clampdown on match-fixing.

Though he received a two-year sentence, he was extradited after a year to Hungary, where he assisted in investigations.

Subsequently, another Singaporean - Dan Tan Seet Eng, who is linked to a syndicate suspected of having fixed matches in Italy - was arrested here. And just last week, two other Singaporean men - Chann Sankaran, 33, and Krishna Sanjey Ganeshan, 43 - were reportedly found guilty in a British court of conspiring to fix English football matches.

An SPF spokesman said the Singapore authorities "will continue to explore alternative options within our legal framework" to have Wilson Raj returned here.

hpeishan@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 26, 2014.
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