Saturday September 21 2013
– A man police say is the ringleader of Australia’s involvement in a global match-fixing syndicate has made “veiled threats” against some of his co-accused, a court has heard.
Police allege Segaran “Gerry” Gsubramaniam, 45, is the liaison between members of Victorian Premier League soccer side the Southern Stars and the match-fixing syndicate, in a sting that has spawned more than $2 million in betting winnings.
Police allege the results of five of the club’s games between July 21st and last Friday were fixed and that Mr Gsubramaniam had instructed the team of of the score-lines wanted by match fixers in Hungary and Malaysia.
Mr Gsubramaniam, four of the team’s players and its coach have all been charged under Victoria’s new laws on match-fixing.
Mr Gsubramaniam, a Malaysian national, is fighting to be granted bail like his co-accused, but police are opposed over concerns he has access to money and criminal associates and will flee Australia. He was remanded in custody on Friday to continue his bail application on Tuesday.
The Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday heard that charged player Reiss Noel and a team mate feared Mr Gsubramaniam and had resorted to securing their hotel door with a chair.
Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Scott Poynder told the court: “Two players are currently securing their doors because they fear Mr Gsubramaniam will arrange for people to come and visit them.
“Some of those [interviewed] have expressed his making veiled threats to them against co-operating.”
Defence counsel Michael Gleeson said the evidence for the threats were questionable.
The court heard Mr Gsubramaniam had received transactions of $230,000 since June, and that police were analysing four bank accounts he had in Australia, and possibly more overseas.
Telephone intercepts also overheard him talking about the players he wanted to play in Australia.
The four players charged – Mr Noel, 23, Joe Woolley, 23, David Obaze, 23, and Nicholas McKoy, 27 – are all UK nationals and have surrendered passports to police. The club’s Australian coach, Zia Younan, 36, could not find his passport but would surrender it once found, the court heard.
Detective Senior Constable Tracey Van Den Heuvel, who interviewed Mr Gsubramaniam last Sunday, told the court he said he was only a small player in the syndicate.
“He said he was just a small fry in all of this,” she said.
But prosecutor Peter Rose, SC, said police considered Mr Gsubramaniam “high on the totem pole” of their investigation and feared he was a flight risk who had inquired about obtaining a fake passport.
Mr Gleeson said evidence about a fake passport was also questionable, and said his client had no prior convictions, had surrendered his Malaysian passport to police and was entitled to bail like his co-accused.
Mr Gleeson said the accused man also faced a long wait in custody as the investigation would “take a substantial period of time for the police to resolve the charges”.
The court heard the investigation had now spread to other soccer clubs in Victoria, Queensland and overseas, and more arrests were possible.
Mr Gsubramaniam’s sister, Paramsary, told the court she and her siblings had raised $30,000 to pay for the surety if bail was granted, which included money she and her husband had saved for their son’s education.
The court heard accommodation had also been arranged through a family friend, but deputy chief magistrate Jelena Popovic ruled the location and person offering accommodation needed investigation. Ms Popovic ruled the bail application continue on Tuesday.
Mr Gsubramaniam and Mr Younan both face 10 charges, five counts of engaging in conduct that corrupts a betting outcome and five counts of facilitating conduct that corrupts a betting outcome.
The players all face eight charges apiece, four of each offence.
The six men are all scheduled to appear again in court on December 6th.
– Adam Cooper