Kelong roar

ACCUSED: Francis Donahue Marcel, a Singaporean, is one of two men facing charges for attempting to bribe players in a Cup football match last year.
PHOTO: The New Paper

For more than three years, the local football scene seemed untouched by the match-fixing syndicates.

The last time a local professional football competition was tainted by kelong was in May 2012, when two South Korean football players, Kim Jae Hong and Jeon Byung Euk, attempted to bribe Geylang United players when the team played against Harimau Muda in the S-League.

Kim was sentenced to 10 months' jail while Jeon got five months.

But events on Monday may have shattered the relative calm on the local football scene.

Two Singaporeans were accused of offering $3,000 to three or four football players from Singapore Recreation Club (SRC) to fix the outcome of a StarHub League Cup match.

Rajendar Prasad Rai, 42, and Francis Donahue Marcel, 39, had allegedly agreed with each other to bribe the players in SRC's match against Balestier Khalsa FC on July 19 last year.

Balestier Khalsa beat SRC 2-0.

It was not clear where the alleged bribery attempt took place.

Rai, a director in a plastic manufacturing company, faces an additional charge under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

He is also accused of abetting and commissioning an offence of giving a sum of 25,000 euros (S$39,800) to three Macedonian nationals as a reward to fix the outcome of a football match played in Antalya, Turkey on Jan 11, 2013.

The match between Belgium's SC Charleroi and Holland's VVV Venlo ended with a 1-0 victory for Venlo.

Rai allegedly did this on Jan 10, 2013, with the help of Shree Manish Kalra Jeetender Kumar Kalra, who supposedly handed the three men the money on Jan 12, 2013.

PREVIOUS OFFENCES

Marcel, chairman of Admiralty FC, the only National Football League club in the StarHub League Cup in 2013, had been charged previously with other offences.

He is accused of three counts of living on the earnings of three prostitutes between April 2012 and August 2012, one count of harbouring a woman for the purpose of prostitution and two counts of managing pubs for the purpose of prostitution.

If found guilty of the above charges involving prostitution, Marcel faces a maximum fine of $10,000 and five years in jail.

If both men are found guilty under the Prevention of Corruption Act, they can each be jailed up to five years and fined up to $100,000, or both.

Both men will appear in court again on Monday.

CONVICTED S’POREAN FIXERS

RAJENDRAN R. KURUSAMY, 55

The supervisor at a construction company was jailed for four years last week for trying to fix a South-east Asian (SEA) Games football match.

He had tried to get a former referee from Indonesia, an ex-member of Timor-Leste football team, and the team manager of the Timor-Leste team at the time to help fix the opening match of the Games between Malaysia and Timor-Leste.

During sentencing, the deputy public prosecutor said that Rajendran was "Singapore's most prolific match fixer in terms of the number of convictions", having been previously involved with fixing eight football matches.

WILSON RAJ PERUMAL, 49

He is known as the match fixer who spilled the beans on former colleagues.

After absconding from Singapore in 2010, Wilson Raj was arrested in Finland in February 2011 for passport infringements and for bribing footballers in the Finnish league. He was sentenced to two years' jail.

While in custody, Wilson Raj co-operated with investigators and fingered alleged financier Dan Tan Seet Eng as the mastermind of fixed Italian, Hungarian and South Africa World Cup 2010 football matches.

He remains a free man in Hungary after helping the authorities there as a prosecution witness.

DAN TAN SEET ENG, 50

Tan is the alleged leader of a Singapore-based match fixing syndicate.

In December 2011, the Singaporean was named for allegedly masterminding fixed matches in Italy's Serie A and Serie B.

He was also charged in absentia by a Hungarian court in May 2013 for his alleged role in fixing matches there.

In September 2013, Tan's luck ran out when he and 13 others were arrested by the Singapore authorities. He was then put under detention without trial.

ERIC DING SI YANG, 32

In January this year, the convicted match-fixer failed in his appeal and had his jail term increased from three years to five years for enticing three Lebanese referees to fix matches.


This article was first published on October 2, 2015.
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