Singapore’s most prolific match-fixer in terms of convictions was sentenced to four years in jail Monday for conspiring to fix a match in the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Rajendran Kurusamy has pleaded guilty to charges of bribing East Timor’s under-23 football team manager and players to lose a preliminary match against Malaysia on May 30 in Singapore.
Kurusamy have met with Orlando Marques Henriques Mendes, team manager and technical director of the Football Federation of Timor Leste, in Singapore on May 28, with the help of an Indonesian referee Nasiruddin and former player Moises Natalino De Jesus.
Mendes was offered 15,000 Singapore dollars ($10,700) to hold a goalless score-line for 20 minutes in a first-round match against Malaysia, before losing by a few goals. Mendes allegedly accepted the bribe and at least seven players were offered $4,000 ($2,844) each.
Kurusamy and others were arrested by the Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau before the match and Malaysia won 1-0. Timor Leste subsequently finished fifth in its group of six teams and failed to qualify for the semi-finals.
Prosecutors from the Attorney-General’s Chambers sought a tough jail term for Kurusamy, citing his previous convictions for match-fixing in Singapore and Malaysia and his role as the “prime mover” of the conspiracy to fix the SEA Games match.
In 1997, Kurusamy was sentenced to 27 months in jail for attempting to bribe three players of the local S-League.
Two years later, he received another 24-month jail sentence for agreeing to give a prison warden 20,000 Singapore dollars ($14,300) in exchange for a smuggled mobile phone. Kurusamy used the phone to make football bets and illegal personal calls.
Kurusamy was also accused of conspiring with Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, who was arrested and jailed in Finland in 2011 for fixing top-tier games there.
“In the present case, the accused’s offenses were clearly premeditated,” Deputy public prosecutor Nicholas Khoo told the court. “The fact that the accused is a recalcitrant offender who has a string of similar antecedents for match-fixing offences … evidences that the accused criminal tendencies are not an uncharacteristic aberration, but part of a defined pattern of criminality.”
In passing the sentence for two corruption charges, district judge Hamidah Ibrahim noted the need for “general deterrence” given that Kurusamy was found guilty of similar charges in the past.
For the first charge of bribing Mendes, he was given a jail term of 42 months and another 48 months for bribing Leste players—the highest of its kind dealt on a single charge for match-fixing— Ibrahim said, adding that both charges will run concurrently.
Nasiruddin was sentenced to 30 months’ jail in July this year while Moises and Orlando have been charged, and their cases are still before the courts.
The maximum penalty for corruption in Singapore is a five-year jail term and 100,000 Singapore dollars ($71,400) fine.