Tuesday September 17 2013

– Police are seeking to extradite overseas members of a multimillion-dollar match-fixing syndicate, including a Singaporean middleman, that has rocked Australian sport.

The development comes as authorities examine whether match-fixing has spread outside the Victorian Premier League soccer competition or involved the players’ former clubs. Federal police are also understood to have been briefed about Victoria Police’s “Operation Starlings” to try to enlist the AFP’s international network in tracking down syndicate members.

Police allege the syndicate was run by international match-fixing kingpin Wilson Raj Perumal.

Associates of the syndicate left Australia earlier than planned, but police are investigating whether they can be extradited to face charges. Other syndicate members never set foot in Australia.

Police believe about a dozen players from Hungary, England and Romania had contact with the match-fixing syndicate, but all were planning to leave Australia in September or had already left.

Four players from Melbourne’s Southern Stars club, its coach Zaya Younan and alleged fixer Segaran “Gerry” Gsubramaniam, whom police described in court on Monday as the Australian “bigwig” of the operation, have been charged with corruption offences.

A senior Football Federation of Victoria figure said the league had no proactive integrity measures in place to combat match-fixing.

The long-standing modus operandi of the international syndicate behind the alleged match-fixing in Victoria involves recruiting journeyman players to infiltrate cash-strapped clubs or leagues.

“We never even knew that was a possibility, but of course we know that now,” the FFV source said.

Soccer in Australia has a history of colourful characters holding club administration positions.

Hume City FC’s chairman is Steve Kaya, who was once acquitted of murder and is a close associate of Mick Gatto. Matt Tomas, a former chairman of the soccer club the Melbourne Knights who recently tried to purchase a Croatian side, is also a close associate of Mr Gatto. The AFP raided offices linked to Perth Glory owner Tony Sage last December. Mr Sage has links to members of the Comanchero motorbike gang.

The arrests were made after the Stars played Richmond in the second-last match of the VPL season.

Previous bets on Southern Stars matches had netted $2 million, police allege. A spokesman for Richmond, where Mr Younan was an assistant coach last season, said the club had no suspicion the Friday match was fixed. Police allege $150,000 was bet on a 0-0 draw. He said it was not believed Richmond’s results last year were being investigated or that the club had been offered a group of overseas-based players for the 2013 season as it appeared had occurred at the Southern Stars.

Mr Gsubramaniam, 45, faced 10 charges in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Monday. Mr Younan, and British players Reiss Noel, Joe Woolley, David Obaze and Nicholas McCoy also face eight charges. The players are all defenders, apart from Mr Woolley, who is a goalkeeper.

Four players were released pending further inquiries.

Police allege the results of five of the Southern Stars’ games between July 21st and last Friday – three of which resulted in 4-0 defeats, one which resulted in a 3-0 loss and one game that was drawn – were fixed, according to instructions from match fixers in Hungary and Malaysia.

Magistrate Jelena Popovic remanded Mr Gsubramaniam to be held in custody and reappear in court on Friday, along with the players and Mr Younan.

Australian States are split on whether match-fixing should be a specific criminal offence.

In June 2011, Commonwealth, state and territory sports ministers endorsed establishing uniform national laws to make match-fixing a criminal offence punishable by up to 10 years in jail. Since then, NSW, Victoria, South Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT have introduced legislation to make “match-fixing behaviours” a criminal offence. Similar laws are expected to be introduced in Tasmania next month.

But a spokeswoman for the Commonwealth’s Office for Sport said on Monday that Queensland and WA had decided existing provisions of their respective criminal codes were sufficient to deal with match-fixing. The reluctance of Queensland and WA to join the national approach is believed to have frustrated other states and the governing bodies of major sports.

– Nino Bucci, Nick McKenzie, Richard Baker & Adam Cooper

About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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