Singapore, Sept 22: An Indian-origin man in Singapore, rated by prosecutors as a "criminal match-fixer extraordinaire" has been sentenced to four years in jail by a court here for conspiring to fix a football match during the Southeast Asian Games held in March this year.
Rajendran R Kurusamy, 55, was sentenced to four years jail, the stiffest sentence ever imposed for a single match-fixing charge, Today newspaper reported today.
Rajendran yesterday pleaded guilty to two charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act, involving payments to Orlando Marques Henriques Mendes, former technical director of the Timor Leste Football Association, and at least seven players of the Timor Leste Southeast Asian Games (SEA)football team.
Rajendran, had met Nasiruddin, an Indonesian, on March 20, and directed him to rope in others interested in fixing the match to ensure a defeat to Malaysia's football team on May 30, the paper said .
Rajendran wanted Timor-Leste to not concede a goal in thefirst 20 minutes, but eventually lose to Malaysia by a few goals. He offered Orlando SGD15,000(USD 10,700), and SGD4,000 (USD 2,844) to each complicit player, to ensure the defeat.
He also told Orlando that seven players would be enough to help lose the game, but it would be better if all 11 players were involved. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau arrested Rajendran, and others. The match ended 1-0 in Malaysia's favour.
Pressing for a sentence of four-and-a-half years, the prosecution, led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Nicholas Khoo, charged that Rajendran's ploy to fix a match in an international tournament hosted by Singapore tarnished the country's reputation, and would have distorted the true capability of the Timor Leste football team while denying the Malaysian team true sporting achievement.
The prosecution had described Rajendran as one of the most prolific match fixer here. "In fact, we would go so far as to state that the accused is a criminal match-fixer extraordinaire".
They also argued that Rajendran was a prime mover in the conspiracy and who played an integral role in arranging meetings to discuss the fix in Singapore and in Batam, an Indonesian island off Singapore, two months before the games, as well as provided the funds to move the plan along.
They also highlighted the transnational nature of the offence, where actors of an organised criminal group were "procured from abroad in order to execute a well laid out plan".
Defence lawyer Edmond Pereira pleaded for a sentence of36 to 42 months, asking the court to not "over-emphasise the status of the game". District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim took into account Rajendran's string of related offences dating back to 1997. He was jailed 27 months in 1997 for attempting to bribe three players.
Two years later, he was jailed another 24 months for agreeing to give SGD20,000 to a prison warden to smuggle him a cellphone, which he used to make football bets and illegal personal calls.