Investigators said they had identified 680 suspicious games worldwide (Reuters)
Investigators said they had identified 680 suspicious games worldwide (Reuters)

A man suspected of being the mastermind behind a global match-fixing network is believed to be among 14 people arrested in Singapore.

Singapore police and the country's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau confirmed that 12 men and two women were arrested in raids related to match-fixing.

One of the men is believed to be suspected ringleader Dan Tan, who is accused of heading an organised crime gang which has made millions from match fixing in Italy and Hungary.

Although police did not release the names of any of the suspects, they did confirm a "suspected leader" and several others had been arrested.

Interpol secretary general Ronald K Noble said "Singaporean authorities have taken an important step in cracking down on an international match-fixing syndicate by arresting the main suspects in the case."

Singapore police said the suspects are being investigated for match-fixing offences under Singapore's Prevention of Corruption Act and for involvement in organised crime.

A spokesperson said: "Singapore is committed to eradicate match-fixing as a transnational crime and protect the integrity of the sport. All cases will be pursued vigorously with a view to bring perpetrators to justice."

The European anti-crime agency Europol said they had identified 680 suspicious matches between 2008 and 2011, 380 of which were in Europe. Some of the games investigators were looking into include World Cup qualifiers and Champions League games.

The world governing body Fifa has warned that match-fixing is threatening the game on a global level.

Police in Victoria, Australia, arrested a Malaysian national and six other men, including a coach and an English goalkeeper, as part of an investigation into illegal gambling.

In April, three Lebanese officials were dropped from a game hours before kick-off when it emerged they were involved in match-fixing. Referee Ali Sabbagh was jailed for six months in Singapore for accepting sexual favours to fix the game between Singapore's Tampines Rovers and India's East Bengal.

Fifa have also imposed lifetime bans on players from Estonia and Tunisia, as well as officials from Armenia, for attempting to fix games.

Chris Eaton, the former head of security for FIFA, said if Tan has been arrested then it is "enormously significant" in their fight against corruption.

"Singapore is now taking serious action. It's really pleasing. These people bridge the match fixers and the betting fraud" Eaton said.