Friday, June 20, 2014 3:37 pm
LONDON – A court jailed three men on Friday for up to five years over their involvement in a plot to fix English lower league games after coming to Britain from Singapore.
Krishna Ganeshan, 44, and Chann Sankaran, 33, were sent to prison for five years each, with the judge describing them as the “controlling minds” of a conspiracy to rig matches.
Former footballer Michael Boateng, 22, was jailed for 16 months for his role in the plot after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Serious crime officers said Ganeshan and Sankaran had been trying “to build a network of corrupt players in the UK.”
“Their aim was to influence play so that they could make spot bets and manipulate scorelines to generate large sums of money,” said Richard Warner of the National Crime Agency.
“They clearly had links to business-like networks overseas.”
Police tracked Sankaran, a Singapore national, and Ganeshan, a British national originally from Sri Lanka, when the two travelled from Singapore to Manchester in November 2013 to find football players to bribe, targeting smaller clubs where wages are lower.
Four days later, they met Boateng at a coffee shop in south London before reconvening at some public toilets nearby, where they gave him 450 euros ($610).
They later turned their attention to a game in England’s fourth flight League Two but there was no evidence the group succeeded in fixing the outcome of any games.
“Professional football and sport play an important part in national life and individuals’ lives in this country,” Judge Melbourne Inman said as he sentenced the men.
“Those who make determined attempts to destroy its integrity for personal gain must expect significant prison sentences so when such acts are discovered a clear signal is sent to others.”
Ganeshan, Sankaran and Boateng — formerly of non-league club Whitehawk FC — were found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery on Tuesday.
Boateng’s fellow former Whitehawk player Hakeem Adelakun was cleared of conspiracy to commit bribery while another footballer, Moses Swaibu, was granted unconditional bail pending a retrial.