Terror groups may tap on match fixers
It would not be unreasonable to assume a terror group is tapping on the expertise of Singapore match-fixing syndicates, said former Fifa security head Chris Eaton.
The keynote speaker at the World Lottery Summit Singapore yesterday, told The New Paper on the sidelines: "I would not be surprised at all if Singapore criminals are being used by terrorist organisations to raise money. In the end, it's the money motivation that they copy."
Since 2010, Mr Eaton and his team of investigators have uncovered numerous fixes - including international friendlies and warm-up matches ahead of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa - executed by Singaporeans such as Wilson Raj Perumal and alleged kingpin Dan Tan Seet Eng.
Investigations revealed that the Singaporeans were well-connected to organised crime syndicates in Europe and had an established infrastructure to move money globally.
Italian court documents showed that the Singapore kelong syndicate allegedly headed by Mr Tan had made several million euros rigging matches in Italy's Serie A and Serie B.
"Historically, terrorism has always copied organised crime in making money," said Mr Eaton.
"Often they'll employ organised crime to do the collecting for them because they know how to corrupt politicians and players."
Equally of concern are football and sport clubs being used as "radicalisation tools" in countries like Bahrain and parts of North Africa, he added.
"Because you already have kids who are ready to follow a leader, to be influenced by a hero and to be told they have a mission in life to win.
"You put this whole motivation in sport and you put into a terrorist environment, it becomes ready-made," he said.
After Singapore Pools chief executive officer Seah Chin Siong's address, "What's the fight now and what's next in the fight against match fixing?" at the Global Lottery Monitoring System session yesterday, four experts gave their views.
One of them, Mr Friedrich Martens, head of Integrity Betting Intelligence System from the International Olympic Committee, said match fixing in Olympic sports paled in comparison to football because of the lower stakes involved.
While some experts have claimed the size of global football betting pie to be in the region of US$500 billion (S$695b) to US$1 trillion, the estimated betting pie for the Rio 2016 Olympics was between 6 and 10 billion euros (S$9b and S$15b), he said.
He also said there were no cases of manipulation of an Olympic event at Rio 2016.
Ms Daniela Giuffre, head of the Integrity in Sport Unit at Interpol, said she had noticed a trend in Interpol's Soga (Soccer Gambling) operations.
Despite the arrest of more than 12,000 people in 7,400 raids in several Asian countries and the recovery of more than US$53 million in recent years, less cash was seized each time.
This is because organised crime groups are moving towards Internet gambling and even betting on legal sports betting sites.
I would not be surprised at all if Singapore criminals are being used by terrorist organisations to raise money. In the end, it's the money motivation that they copy.
- Mr Chris Eaton, former Fifa head of security and ex-Interpol officer
EXPERTS: Mr Chris Eaton, former Fifa head of security and ex-Interpol officer, and Ms Daniela Giuffre, Head of Integrity in Sport at Interpol, were among the speakers at yesterday's World Lottery Summit Singapore 2016.