FIFA-logo-signageFIFA on Thursday hit out at a Singapore court’s decision to free Dan Tan who was accused of leading the world’s biggest match-fixing syndicate.

“FIFA is very disappointed with the Singaporean Court of Appeal’s decision to release Mr Tan given the gravity of his past activities relating to match manipulation,” a FIFA spokesman told AFP.

“Speaking generally, the integrity of the game is a top priority for FIFA and we continue to work closely with law enforcement agencies as well as the respective public authorities and other sports organisations on a national, regional and global level to tackle the issue of match manipulation.

“Match manipulation is a threat that undermines the integrity and credibility of football at different levels of the game.”

Tan, a businessman who was arrested in September 2013 but never tried, was released after Singapore’s Court of Appeal ruled that it was “unlawful” to keep him detained because he did not pose a danger to public safety in Singapore.

The ministry of home affairs, under heavy international pressure, had invoked a special anti-gangster law against Tan after it became difficult to find evidence and witnesses to file criminal charges.

Singapore’s highest court said that while match-fixing was “reprehensible and should not be condoned”, the alleged acts “all took place beyond our shores” and no evidence was presented to show that potential witnesses were being intimidated.

After Tan’s arrest, the then-Interpol chief Ronald Noble said the Singapore-based gang was the world’s “largest and most aggressive match-fixing syndicate, with tentacles reaching every continent.”

Persistent allegations that affluent Singapore is a major hub for match-fixing have stained its reputation as one of the world’s least corrupt nations. – Agence France-Presse

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