Match-fixing suspect claimed he was set up

Dan Tan Seet Eng.

SINGAPOREAN Dan Tan Seet Eng, an alleged global match-fixing syndicate kingpin who has been behind bars for over a year, has in turn accused his former buddy - match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal - of setting him up so as to shoulder less blame.

Last month, the 50-year-old, currently detained under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act, failed in his contest against being detained without trial, and has had his detention order extended by another year.

Tan, who is married with a 10-year-old son, was among 14 people arrested during an islandwide raid in September last year. He is suspected of fixing more than 150 soccer matches globally, and is wanted in Italy and Hungary.

In documents submitted to the High Court for the closed-door judicial review of his detention, Tan claimed Wilson Raj, 49, had framed him after the two fell out. Tan also claimed Wilson Raj held a grudge against him as he probably thought Tan was responsible for his arrest in Finland.

Wilson Raj, who has since fled Singapore, is now in Hungary, where he is under police protection, to help in match-fixing investigations.

The Attorney-General's Chambers (AGC) submitted that Tan's claims of being framed were speculations which had not been backed up with evidence.

"Tan's allegations undermine his application. At worst, they are afterthoughts which undermine Tan's credibility and are a thinly veiled ploy to bring the court into a dispute between himself and Wilson Raj," said the AGC.

It also said Tan was recruiting runners in Singapore, and directed match-fixing agents and runners from Singapore for soccer match-fixing activities between 2009 and last year.

Tan denied heading or funding any syndicate.

"I ran errands for Wilson Raj and gave loans that he had requested primarily because of the betting tips he gave me," he said. "I enjoyed betting and, over time, Wilson Raj showed me that he had reliable betting tips."

Tan also claimed that two sums of money - €150,000 (S$242,000) and €240,000 - which were sent to Vienna were meant for betting and as winnings to his friends, and were not for corruption activities.

"In fact, out of the sum of €240,000, the amount of €60,000 was meant to be used to purchase Hermes leather handbags for my wife," he said.

Said an AGC spokesman: "In his Order for Review of Detention application, the court heard and considered detailed oral as well as written arguments from both AGC and Tan's counsel, including Tan's 'no evidence' claim, but dismissed the application and further ordered costs against Tan."