A SINGAPORE company has been named in the match-fixing investigations in Finland involving Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal.
The company, Exclusive Sports, is said to have given a Finnish football club, Tampere United, 300,000 euros (S$545,000) late last year.
Wilson Raj, 45, who is understood to have been representing Exclusive Sports, had offered a contract to Tampere United to organise matches and give exposure to talented players from South America, Africa and Asia.
A check on Acra (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority of Singapore) showed that the company was registered as a business on May 4, 2010, with Mr Rais Mohd Yusoff listed as a director.
Checks showed that Exclusive Sports was formerly known as Football Four U.
The name was changed on Aug 19, 2010.
Acra records also show that Football Four U, set up on Oct 7, 2009, was terminated on April 29, 2010.
Wilson Raj was the registered manager and owner of Football Four U.
When contacted yesterday, Mr Rais claimed he was an innocent party who had no knowledge of what Wilson Raj had done.
‘I’m not involved’
The 49-year-old taxi driver and former football referee said in a telephone interview: “I’m just a sleeping partner who gets a small allowance. I’m not involved. I was also surprised about all this.
“So now I’m caught in the middle (of this scandal). I’m planning to close down the company.”
When asked about the money given to Tampere United, Mr Rais said he learned about it only after his company had wired the amount to the club’s bank account.
He said: “Of course, this money is not from me. We have investors.”
Tampere United CEO Deniz Bavautdin said on Wednesday on the club’s website that the funds were “normal marketing money”. He denied the club had any involvement in match-fixing.
Mr Rais said that he thought he was working for a legitimate company. But his impressions soon changed.
“Everybody is doing this as agents (organising matches and managing players). I thought this was a genuine business – to buy and sell players. It was an excellent opportunity to supplement my income.”
He said it was only later that he found out that Wilson Raj “is the biggest match-fixer”.
“Alamak, I got the shock of my life. I also learned that in Finland, Wilson had been using the name Rajamorgan Chelliah when doing business.”
Wilson Raj was allegedly using a fake Singapore passport with the name Rajamorgan Chelliah when he was arrested in Finland on Feb 24.
His arrest sparked a probe on match-fixing involving football players from Rovaniemi Football Club, AC Oulu and Helsinki Football Club.
Currently, 11 football players have been given temporary match and travel bans.
Finland’s National Bureau of Investigations said it had until May to charge Wilson Raj, who remains the only person in custody.
Didn’t Mr Rais know of Wilson Raj’s criminal past in Singapore?
Mr Rais chuckled and said: “I should have known better...Now it’s all coming back to haunt me.”
Wilson Raj has a criminal record that includes forgery, match-fixing, assault and house-breaking.
He fled Singapore in July last year after failing to appear at an appeal hearing for injuring an auxiliary police officer.
Mr Rais said that after Exclusive Sports found out about the probe into Wilson Raj’s alleged match-fixing in Finland, its investors told him to contact Tampere United.
Mr Rais declined to name the investors.
“So I spoke to the CEO of Tampere United. My investors told me I had to make sure that the contract was not signed,” he said.
In the end, the deal between Tampere United and Exclusive Sports never materialised.
Tampere United withdrew its plan in February after warnings from the Finnish Football Association (FFA)and Fifa.
In an interview with Finland’s MTV3, FFA president and CEO Kimmo J Lipponen said that Tampere United was warned about Exclusive Sports’ allegedly suspicious dealings.
The Finnish media reported that the contract with Tampere United was supposed to offer the players “a show window” to bigger European leagues.
The money from the transfer fees was supposed to be shared between the club and Exclusive Sports.
Now it seems that the 300,000 euros will find its way back to Exclusive Sports’ investors.
On April 6, broadcasting company YLE reported that the Tampere United CEO had said the club had “gained access to Singapore representatives...for the possible return (of the 300,000 euros).”
But Mr Rais said he was not aware of these negotiations.