Ex-footballer admits to abetting in conspiracy to fix match and cheat S'pore Pools

SINGAPORE - A former Malaysian national footballer who absconded about three years ago after being charged with conspiracy to fix a Malaysia Super League (MSL) soccer game pleaded guilty on Monday.

Thanasegar S. Sinnaiah, 40, was nabbed again last August. The businessman, who faced eight charges, admitted to four in a district court.

He schemed with Singaporean Selvarajan Letchuman to give a bribe of not more than RM15,000 (S$5,590) to Football Association of Malaysia part-time referee Shokri Nor, 50, to ensure that the Lions XII beat Sarawak FA in a match to be played in Singapore on May 22, 2012.

That day, Selvarajan, 52, placed six bets with Singapore Pools with part of the earnings to be used as a bribe to be paid to Shokri, but the offence was not committed.

Thanasegar also conspired with Selvarajan and Shokri to conceal that arrangements had been made to "fix" the outcome of the match, in a bid to induce Singapore Pools to hand over payouts of $10,500 and $5,000 to Selvarajan. These were for bets he placed with an outlet near Rangoon Road and at Rowell Road respectively.

A district court heard that Thanasegar received a phone call in Kedah from Selvarajan on May 18 in 2012.

Selvarajan asked if he had any tips for the football match between Lions XII and Sarawak FA in the MSL to be played in Singapore on May 22. Thanasegar informed Selvarajan that Shokri, then a policeman, was the referee for the match.

Selvarajan travelled to Penang and met the pair in a hotel where the alleged conspiracy to fix the match was hatched.

But all three were arrested before the football match kicked off.

While Thanasegar was out on $50,000 bail, he left Singapore illegally by hiding in the boot of a car. He thus committed an offence of failing to present his passport to an immigration officer for examination sometime in July that year.

Thanasegar's case has been adjourned to Feb 17.

Selvarajan's case is pending while police are still looking for Shokri, who had also absconded.