Singapore (AFP) – A Singaporean man accused of leading the world’s largest football match-fixing syndicate is trying to find out why he has been rearrested almost a week after being freed by the country’s highest court, his lawyer said Wednesday.
The release of businessman Dan Tan on November 25 following an order by the Court of Appeal was roundly criticised by football’s world governing body FIFA and other analysts as a blow to efforts to rid the global sport of corruption.
However, police issued a terse statement late Tuesday confirming Tan had been rearrested six days after he was freed « for investigations into suspected involvement in criminal activities ».
« Investigations are on-going, » the statement said without giving details.
Tan’s defence counsel Hamidul Haq told AFP on Wednesday: « I am still at the stage where I am trying to get information (on why he was rearrested). I don’t have any new material. »
The three-member court, Singapore’s highest judicial authority, that ordered his release, had ruled that Tan’s continued detention was « unlawful » because he did not pose a danger to public safety in the city-state.
The Court of Appeal said that while match-fixing was « reprehensible and should not be condoned », Tan’s alleged acts « all took place beyond our shores » and no evidence was presented to show that potential witnesses were being intimidated.
He had earlier been arrested in September 2013 and held under a law that allowed for the detention of suspected criminals without trial.
FIFA said through its spokesman last week that it was « very disappointed » with Tan’s release « given the gravity of his past activities relating to match manipulation ».
After Tan’s first arrest in 2013, the then-Interpol chief Ronald Noble said the Singapore-based ring he allegedly led was the world’s « largest and most aggressive match-fixing syndicate, with tentacles reaching every continent ».
Singapore’s ministry of home affairs, under heavy international pressure, had invoked a special anti-gangster law against Tan, 51, after it became difficult to find enough evidence and witnesses to file criminal charges.
In a statement issued a day after Tan was freed last month, the ministry said it would study the judgement carefully and decide on its next step.
It said that Singapore law enforcement agencies began investigating Tan in 2011 « when he was repeatedly cited in Italian court papers for his involvement in transnational criminal activities in the form of match-fixing ».
Tan was detained under the special law « for being the leader and financier of a global criminal syndicate that conducted match-fixing operations out of Singapore, » the statement said.
« Investigations indicated that Tan had an extensive network of people under his control –- many of whom were recruited in, and directed out of Singapore, » it added.
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