Sat, Sep 28, 12:14pm by Kevin Pitstock
A police detective in the Southern Stars match-fixing scandal says the players involved fear for their safety. They believe the Malaysian man who was the local ringleader may have men harm them.
According to Detective Acting Senior Sergeant Scott Poynder, the players are wedging chairs under their doorknobs. The British football players, Joe Nigel Woolley, David Ike Obaze, Nicholas McKoy, and Reiss Michael Noel believe “Mr S” might send people to harm them, either as revenge or an attempt to silence them.
The man they fear is Segaran “Gerry” Gsubramaniam, who is the local middleman for a match-fixing ring believed to be operated out of Singapore. Police have been searching for local bank accounts used by Gsubramaniam and have located 4 accounts with a combined AUD $40,000. Searching through the middleman’s residence, they have found receipts adding up to AUD $230,000. Many of these receipts were torn up and had to be pieced back together.
According to the authorities who interrogated the key link in the scandal, Gsubramaniams’s job was to pay for player salaries and accommodations, because they were advertised as free players to the Southern Stars. The man would relate information to the 5 players on the Southern Stars, along with the squad’s coach.
The investigation includes the Southern Stars’ last four matches of the Victorian Premier League season. In those four matches, the Southern Stars failed to score a goal, while giving up a combined 13 to their opponents. Throughout the 21-match season schedule, the Stars have 1 win, 16 losses, and 4 draws.
The players were released on bail, though prosecutors had urged the judge to deny bail to Gsubramaniam, because he was “higher up the totem pole”. The man’s lawyers argued he is in Australia legally and has no criminal record, so he should be allowed to go free until the trial. The lawyers also dispute police recordings of his interviews.
The man’s sister, Parmsary Gsubramaniam, flew to Australia on Thursday to offer bail surety to the court. In a short talk with reporters, the Malaysian woman said her brother was an air conditioning technician in Malaysia, before coming to Australia. Mr Gsubramaniam was denied bail, as it’s thought he was a potential flight risk.
Meanwhile, Southern Stars President Ercan Cicek has defended his club’s conduct in the affair. He describes the Southern Stars as a “small community club”. When a man approached him about providing five players from the English football system who would play for free, along with a coach who would work for the thrill of coaching in the Victorian Premier League, his board of directors was happy to bring them on.
Mr Cicek has insisted the club officials knew nothing of the scheme. Authorities agree the Southern Stars were dupes of the match-fixing syndicate. The club have cooperated with Melbourne authorities since news of the match-fixing scandal became known.
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