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An associate of a Singaporean businessman suspected in a global match-fixing scandal is en route to Italy where police are poised to intercept him, Interpol's secretary-general said Thursday.
Interpol's Ronald Noble did not name the Milan-bound man but said he was an alleged match-rigger associated with Tan Seet Eng, a suspect in the rigging of nearly 700 games worldwide, who remains at large in Singapore.
"A man charged with being a member of Tan Seet Eng's criminal organisation boarded a plane from Singapore headed to Milan and will land in a couple of hours, where Italian authorities are ready to arrest or interview him," Noble said.
He was speaking at the close of a two-day meeting between Interpol and world football officials in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur on how to address the growing scourge of match-fixing.
Noble said the man was wanted by Italian authorities for fixing games.
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 said the problem was tied to a criminal syndicate based in Singapore.
Tan's name has cropped up in multiple investigations but police in Singapore were yet to move against him, saying they need hard evidence before making arrests. Tan denies any wrongdoing.
Noble earlier told Singapore's Straits Times newspaper that "Singapore's reputation will continue to suffer" until it moves against suspected match-fixers.
Noble gave no further details on the alleged Tan associate other than to say he was not a Singaporean. He said Interpol learned of the trip to Italy via a tip-off from Singapore police.
Police in Singapore had no immediate comment when contacted by AFP.
The latest match-fixing revelations have put a renewed focus on the problem of match-fixing, which has long been documented in Asia and now appears to be increasing throughout the world, fuelled by the advent of lucrative online gambling.