Lebanese referee jailed six months in Singapore

Singapore, June 11 (IANS) A Lebanese referee was sentenced to six months in jail here Tuesday for accepting free sex in return to fix an Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup match involving Indian club East Bengal.

Ali Sabbagh, 34, and linesmen Ali Eid, 33, and Abdallah Taleb, 37, were accused of accepting sex paid for by Singapore businessman Eric Ding Si Yang before the April 3 match between East Bengal and Tampines Rovers of Singapore.

They were pulled out before the start of the match and were remanded April 4.

The linesmen were sentenced to three months each in jail and were released from prison Monday as their sentencing was backdated to the date they were remanded.

They will be deported to Lebanon Tuesday, the Straits Times reported.

The judge said Sabbagh was sentenced to six months in jail because of his greater culpability.

"You were not only cultivated by Ding, you also in turn went on to cultivate, or included, the co-accused linesmen as potential corrupt international football officials," he said.

The businessman Ding was arrested too. He faces three corruption charges as well as one charge for obstructing police investigations.

He has claimed trial for corruption. Ding is believed to be linked to an international match-fixing syndicate.

Singapore authorities have boosted their efforts and worked closely with the Interpol headquarters in France to fight match fixing.

Another Singaporean businessman, Dan Tan Seet Eng, has been reportedly a mastermind behind the international match fixing syndicate that had been active in Europe.

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