Sex-for-match-fixing trial: Lebanese duo knew 'basic English'

One of the assistant referees even insisted on using a particular word to ensure that his translated statement would be as accurate as possible.

This was what Egyptian interpreter Khaled Atwa, who translated the officials' statements recorded with the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB), told the court on Wednesday.

Mr Abdallah Taleb and Mr Ali Eid had pleaded guilty to accepting sexual favours, allegedly from businessman Eric Ding, to fix matches.

Ding is now on trial for bribing them and referee Ali Sabbagh.

Refutes

Mr Atwa's testimony refutes defence counsel Mr Yusfiyanto Yatiman's case. On April 2, the Lebanese trio met Ding, whom they knew as James, at a restaurant, purportedly to discuss their preference for the women they were promised.

On Wednesday, Mr Yusfiyanto said Mr Taleb and Mr Eid could not have fully understood the conversation in English between Ding and Mr Sabbagh.

But when asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor Asoka Markandu about the duo's English proficiency, Mr Atwa said they spoke "basic English" and "understood most of what the officer said" while their statements were being recorded by CPIB officer Daryl Ng.

He highlighted an amendment on Mr Eid's statement, which read: "I knew that match-fixing was wrong and even before this case, I had decided not to do it. Before the case, I block match-fixing."

Mr Atwa said Mr Eid had "insisted" on using the word "block". When cross-examining Mr Ng earlier on Wednesday, Mr Yusfiyanto suggested to him that he had fed certain details to the assistant referees while recording their statements.

In a statement recorded hours after his arrest, Mr Taleb said he could not identify the person who called at midnight to inform him of the prostitutes' arrival at the hotel.

But when Mr Taleb gave a second statement, which was recorded by Mr Ng on June 11, the day he was repatriated, he identified Ding as the caller.

Mr Yusfiyanto said Mr Ng was "told to record that (the Lebanese) knew the identity of the caller even though they do not know..."

Mr Ng disagreed. The trial is expected to resume on Tuesday.

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