Match-Fixing Overlord Dan Tan Wins Release From Jail In Singapore

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In what will doubtless be regarded by Interpol and anti-corruption watchdogs as a major setback in the global fight against match-fixing, Tan Seet Eng, otherwise known as Dan Tan, the suspected kingpin behind a string of cases that reportedly netted millions of dollars, is a free man after winning a Court of Appeal ruling in his native Singapore.

Dan Tan, who allegedly manipulated the results of more than 150 football matches across four continents, has been held since October 2013 under a law that allows detention without trial as long as cases are reviewed.

Tan continually challenged his detention and the Court of Appeal has now ruled it was unlawful since he posed no public threat in his homeland.

Tan was on almost every football crime-busting wanted list before being one of 14 people arrested in a crackdown on match-fixing cartels and was subsequently detained under Singapore’s Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act.

He has been implicated by Interpol in fixing hundreds of sporting fixtures including in Italy’s Serie A and Serie B in 2011. Interpol has previously described him as “the mastermind and leader of the world’s most notorious match-fixing syndicate”.

Although Tan’s syndicate has long been assumed to have been based in Singapore, Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, in an 82-page judgement, said while his alleged acts were “reprehensible and should not be condoned, there is nothing to suggest whether, or how, these activities could be thought to have a bearing on the public safety, peace and good order within Singapore. The matches fixed, whether or not successfully, all took place beyond our shores.”

Match-fixing experts will be disappointed at the ruling to release Tan who is claimed to have been behind a string of incidents from 2009-2013 in Italy, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Trinidad and Tobago and Turkey – to name but six countries. He was also charged in absentia by a Hungarian court in May 2013 for his alleged role in fixing matches there.

But the judge said the court was unable to see how the grounds put forward for Tan’s detention could be said to fall within the scope of the relevant government Act which, he said, was intended “to deal with real and physical threats of harm within Singapore.”

Abideen Owolabi

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