Skip to main content

Match-fixing suspect hands himself in to Italian police

February 21, 2013 -- Updated 1445 GMT (2245 HKT)
Interpol's secretary-general Ronald Noble praised the collaboration of Singaporean and Italian police.
Interpol's secretary-general Ronald Noble praised the collaboration of Singaporean and Italian police.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Match-fixing suspect arrested at Milan's Malpensa airport on Thursday
  • Admir Suljic tells authorities that he is boarding a flight from Singapore
  • Slovenian citizen had been on the run since December 2011
  • He is accused of being part of a syndicate which bet on Italian soccer matches

(CNN) -- A man suspected of being part of a major soccer match-fixing organization has given himself up to Italian police after being a fugitive since December 2011.

Admir Suljic, a former football player, was arrested at Milan's Malpensa airport Thursday following his arrival from Singapore, having told authorities he would do so via his defense lawyer.

The 31-year-old Slovenian has been accused of direct involvement in a transnational criminal group said to be composed of individuals from Singapore and the Balkans which had been targeted by the "Last Bet" investigation.

Authorities said the group's activities included influencing the results of Italian league matches during the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 seasons. Investigations into this have targeted top clubs such as Napoli, and involved a raid on the Italy team headquarters ahead of Euro 2012.

Admir Suljic, arrested by Italian police under suspicion of match-fixing.
Admir Suljic, arrested by Italian police under suspicion of match-fixing.

Read: The art of match-fixing

"This is exactly the type of result which can be achieved when police share information in real time and use Interpol's global network to locate, identify and arrest suspects," said the head of the worldwide policing agency, Ronald Noble.

"The arrest of this suspected match-fixer could not have been achieved without Italy and Singapore's close cooperation with Interpol, nor without a great deal of behind-the-scenes work by prosecutors and magistrates.

"Those who doubted Singapore's ability or commitment to fight match-fixing and bring those wanted for arrest to justice need to understand that Singapore acts when the evidence exists and is shared and when their laws permit. Singapore and Italy remain two of Interpol's most active and effective member countries."

Interpol said Suljic was one of more than 500 fugitives wanted by 59 member countries as part of 2012 Operation Infra-Red -- which has so far led to 130 people being arrested or located.

Read: Drogba's former club punished in match-fix case

Football match fixing in Singapore
Jerome Valcke: Match-fixing a 'disease'
Arrests in soccer match-fixing probe

He is suspected of working for Singaporean businessman Tan Seet Eng, also known as Dan Tan, who is also wanted by Italian authorities.

Italian police said Suljic had "spent a long period of inaction in Singapore in close contact with other members of the group of this organization, including a well-known Singaporean citizen."

Meanwhile, Singapore police said Thursday that four senior officers will go to Interpol's French headquarters in Lyon during the next fortnight to assist in match-fixing investigations.

The force said it hoped to help build "a concrete case" against the individuals and syndicates involved.

"The team aims to collect available information from these countries and seek their assistance to grant us access to evidence, witnesses and/or suspects whom they believe to be involved in the alleged match-fixing cases," read a statement.

Read: China's love of gambling skews sector

"The team will also be exploring avenues to offer our assistance and share available information we have with these affected countries."

Match-fixing has been described as a "disease" afflicting football by the secretary general of world governing body FIFA.

On Tuesday, Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua was stripped of its 2003 domestic league title and fined $160,000 after a crackdown against such activities.

It was one of 12 clubs involved, along with 33 individuals. Four former China internationals and an ex-World Cup referee were banned for life, having been jailed a year ago for the same offenses.

Match-fixing scandal engulfs Europe
380 football matches deemed suspicious

Interpol's European equivalent Europol has also revealed that 380 matches on the continent are under investigation, including top-level Champions League games.

The international players' union FIFPro said in December that it is planning to launch an online match-fixing "hotline" for its members.

On Wednesday, the acting president of the Asian Football Confederation highlighted the need to eliminate match-fixing from the game.

Read: Lifetime bans for 41 South Korean match-fix players

"We need to admit that match-fixing is a real danger to football's ethical values and needs to be eliminated to preserve the sanctity of the sport," Zhang Jilong told delegates at the Interpol conference in Kuala Lumpur.

"Match-fixing is too complex and widespread for one organization to fight it alone. To fight this, we need a joint and coordinated effort."

Interpol official Dale Sheehan highlighted the social costs of match-fixing.

"Criminals can make millions in illicit profits from match-fixing with little risk of being detected and will exploit every opportunity," he said at the conference.

"Sports and fair play are the very fabric of our society and youth, and the impact of match-fixing -- including murder, suicide, assault and threats -- has the ability to undermine that very fabric."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT