Wilson Raj trying to get back into 'kelong' game?

Wilson Raj trying to get back into 'kelong' game?

Cut off from his friends and runners and with a family to feed, Wilson Raj Perumal became a desperate man.

He called up friends for loans and may be trying to get back into the "kelong" game to earn some cash. That is according to sources The New Paper spoke to.

Wilson Raj was arrested on April 16 in Finland.

The sources said Wilson Raj, 48, was in a dire situation.

Said Mr Rocky Selvarajoo, a former national boxer: "He had been asking to borrow money since January and I lent him. But he had not paid me since the last time I spoke to him three weeks ago."

Mr Selvarajoo refused to reveal the sum borrowed.

TNP understands that Wilson Raj is now a father of two children, as confirmed by his sister. (See report above.)

Added Mr Selvarajoo, 62: "With children in the picture, he had to make sure they are cared for. Wilson Raj told me that he wanted to go into legitimate business, but I don't know if he did."

It is unclear, too, if Wilson Raj had received an allowance as a prosecution witness in Hungary.

He is now being held at Vantaa prison, near the Finnish capital of Helsinki.

Wilson Raj was first arrested in 2011 in Finland for travelling with forged travel documents. Investigators later discovered that the Singaporean was behind 30 fixed matches in the Finnish football league. He had bribed 11 footballers with a sum of 470,000 euros (S$817,000).

JAIL TERM

He was sentenced to two years' jail, but served only a year and was handed to Hungarian authorities in 2012.

Two other sources said Wilson Raj may have been to Finland for "business". One Singapore source, who was himself convicted of match fixing, said Wilson Raj needed to be there to negotiate with an "investor".

Said the source, who declined to be named: "Wilson Raj is now in the doldrums. He had been calling people in Singapore to lend him money. What I heard was he had to be there (in Finland) to convince an investor."

Mr Michael Pride from SI Sports Intelligence, a private sector anti-fraud agency based in Australia, gave a similar explanation.

He said: "With the successful dismantling of his match-fixing syndicate in Australia and England, Wilson Raj had no choice but to do the dirty work himself. I'm not surprised that at this stage, he had run out of runners to help run his business."

Mr Pride's investigations revealed that Wilson Raj had, in the last six months, asked many people for loans ranging from US$1,000 ($1,260) to US$2,000.

Added Mr Pride: "Nobody wants to work with him any more. So eventually he had to 'come out' and prove that he was still in -charge.

We know he was desperate as he had reached out to investors with no close connections to him."

But like before, Wilson Raj was said to have travelled on forged documents, reported German magazine Stern.

He was arrested on an international arrest warrant issued by the Singapore authorities, reported Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

A Finnish Ministry of Justice spokesman told TNP that the Finnish government has yet to "receive a detailed extradition request from Singapore through diplomatic channels".

Said Mr Hannu Taimisto, director of the ministry's International Judicial Administration: "So far, the Finnish authorities have only provisionally detained the person in question based on an Interpol Red Notice to secure the possible extradition procedure.

"According to the law, Finland is able to extradite perpetrators without a convention or a treaty. However, many of the details of the procedure will be classified until the decisions is rendered."

DECLINED COMMENT

Wilson Raj's lawyer declined comment when contacted by TNP and the Hungarian authorities had not replied to our e-mail questions by press time.

One of Wilson Raj's co-authors of the book titled Kelong Kings, to be launched today, said Wilson Raj had previously travelled to France and Norway while under Hungarian custody.

Yet, Wilson Raj's arrest is seen as a blessing in disguise, said Mr Selvarajoo.

"I'm glad he's arrested," Mr Selvarajoo said. "Wilson Raj needs to face the music in Singapore, repent and start over again. This will put him on the right path."

This article was published on April 28 in The New Paper.

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