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Football: Interpol urges arrest of Singapore 'match-fixer'

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The head of Interpol on Thursday urged Singapore to move against one of its citizens considered a key suspect in global football match-rigging, saying its failure to do so "distresses the world".

Secretary-General Ronald Noble made the comment as Interpol and world football officials wrapped up a two-day meeting in Kuala Lumpur with a pledge to work more closely in combatting the growing scourge of match-fixing.

In a press conference closing the gathering, Noble took aim at Tan Seet Eng, also known as Dan Tan, who has emerged as a central figure in the suspected rigging of nearly 700 games worldwide.

Tan's name has cropped up in multiple match-rigging investigations but remains at large in Singapore, where police have said they need hard evidence before arresting anyone. Tan has denied wrongdoing.

"The fact that there can be an alleged organised crime head operating in a country known to be safe, secure like Singapore, distresses Singaporeans and distresses the world," said Noble.

However, he praised the city-state for tipping off Interpol and Italian authorities on the arrival in Milan on Thursday of an alleged associate of Tan's who is wanted in Italy over match-fixing charges.

Noble did not name the man, who flew to Milan from Singapore, or provide his nationality. Singaporean police denied comment.

"I want to compliment the Singapore police not just for their activity yesterday but their activity constantly in fighting international crime, including matchfixing," he said in a closing speech.

Noble said the Milan-bound man was wanted by Italian authorities in relation to alleged match-rigging by Tan's organisation, which the Interpol boss said was linked to suspect results in some 60 countries.

His comments come two weeks after Europol said 380 suspicious games have been identified in Europe among nearly 700 worldwide, including Champions League ties and World Cup qualifiers.

The European police agency has said it suspects a criminal syndicate based in Singapore.

The latest match-fixing revelations have put a renewed focus on the problem, which has long been documented in Asia and now appears to be increasing throughout the world, fuelled by the advent of lucrative online gambling.

But FIFA director of security Ralf Mutschke said the outcomes of the conference -- such as a pledge to work toward fixing legal loopholes and more information-sharing between FAs and police -- could see the fight against match-fixing "gain momentum".

"Not one player alone can be effective but we all together can make the difference. The match has started already and we are lagging behind. I call upon you to join us on the pitch, playing, tackling and scoring," he said in his closing speech.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130221/football-interpol-urges-arrest-singapore-match-fixer