Slovenian citizen Admir Suljic, 31, was apprehended by police after arriving in Milan on a flight from Singapore on Thursday morning as prosecutors in Cremona made another breakthrough in the 'Last Bet' investigation into an international match-fixing ring.
The Polizia di Stato confirmed on their official website that Suljic faces charges of criminal association and conspiracy to commit sporting fraud.
Having been issued with an arrest warrant in December 2011, police said Interpol had recently identified Suljic in Singapore, where he had allegedly been working for businessman Tan Seet Eng, also known as Dan Tan.
Seet Eng is also the subject of an arrest warrant and Italian police were unsure which man to expect when Singaporean police informed them a wanted match-fixer was flying to Milan. Neither Suljic nor Tan could be extradited from Singapore as the arrest warrants were not applicable in the Asian country.
According to police, Suljic did not show any surprise when arrested at the airport and they suggested he had come to Italy with the intention to cooperate with Guido Savini, the prosecutor of Cremona. Savini's team has overseen an investigation into match-fixing that has seen over 50 people arrested, with over 150 under scrutiny.
The crime syndicate allegedly made millions through betting on a selection of fixed games across professional football in Italy through the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons. Suljic's arrest coincided with an Interpol conference on match-fixing in Kuala Lumpur, and secretary Ronald Noble praised the cooperation between Italian and Singaporean authorities.
He told interpol.int: "This is exactly the type of result which can be achieved when police share information in real time and use Interpol's global network to locate, identify and arrest suspects. What we now need is for national laws to be modernised allowing the police to share information via Interpol channels while investigations are ongoing so they can act fast and more effectively.
"The arrest of this suspected match-fixer could not have been achieved without Italy and Singapore's close cooperation with Interpol, nor without a great deal of behind-the-scenes work by prosecutors and magistrates.
"Those who doubted Singapore's ability or commitment to fight match-fixing and bring those wanted for arrest to justice need to understand that Singapore acts when the evidence exists and is shared and when their laws permit. Singapore and Italy remain two of Interpol's most active and effective member countries."
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