Wilson Raj 'still held in Finland'

Wilson Raj 'still held in Finland'
Convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal.

The Singapore Police Force (SPF) yesterday refuted news reports that convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal had been released from police custody in Finland. This is reportedly after the police had failed to respond to an extradition offer by their Finnish counterparts. Singapore, however, does not have an extradition treaty with Finland, said the SPF.

According to news reports in Finland this week, the 48-year-old Singaporean was freed even though a district court of Vantaa - a city north of the Finnish capital Helsinki - had sentenced him to three months' probation for a border offence and forgery on May 28. Those news reports also claimed that the current whereabouts of Wilson Raj were unknown.

"The police confirm that we are in contact with our Finnish counterparts," said a police spokesman, responding to queries from The Straits Times yesterday. "According to the Finnish police, Wilson Raj remains in their custody. We are working with our Finnish counterparts to explore options to bring Wilson Raj back to Singapore."

But Finnish ministerial counsellor Juhani Korhonen, who oversees extraditions under his country's Ministry of Justice, told The Straits Times that Finland had given Singapore 30 days from the date of Wilson Raj's arrest in Helsinki on April 16 to submit a request for extradition.

"What I can confirm is he won't be extradited since the Singapore authorities did not request for it within the deadline, and that he was released from police custody," he said.

He added that the Finnish authorities had apprehended Wilson Raj because of the convicted match-fixer's presence on Interpol's wanted list.

"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.

The SPF spokesman, however, said the police here have considered the question of making an extradition request to Finland "very carefully".

"However, we were unable to make the extradition request because we do not have an extradition treaty with Finland," added the SPF spokesman. "Nonetheless, we are continuing to monitor the case closely and are actively exploring alternative ways to secure his return to Singapore."

Wilson Raj has been a wanted man here since 2009. He was charged in May that year with injuring an auxiliary police officer after being confronted for illegal parking. That earned him a five-year jail term, which he appealed against. He was freed on bail but failed to appear in court as scheduled in July 2010 and was believed to have fled to Europe.

Wilson Raj - who is linked to match-fixing in countries such as Australia and Hungary - was arrested in Helsinki in February 2011 for bribing players in the Finnish league, as well as travelling on a forged Singapore passport.

It is believed that his initial arrest helped to spark a global clampdown on match-fixing, resulting in the arrest here of another Singaporean - Dan Tan Seet Eng, who is linked to a syndicate suspected to have fixed matches in Italy.

hpeishan@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on June 06, 2014.
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