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Apr 4, 2013

Three officials charged with corruption

SINGAPORE -- A referee and his two assistants were charged with corruption in Singapore for accepting "free sexual service" in return for fixing an Asian Football Confederation Cup match.

Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said referee Ali Sabbagh and assistant referees Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb, all from Lebanon, were charged with one count of corruption.

The 33-year-old Sabbagh is a FIFA-accredited referee who has worked some 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

The three are scheduled to appear in court on Friday.

The anti-corruption agency said it launched an investigation after receiving information of match-fixing involving a game between Singapore club Tampines Rovers and East Bengal of India on Wednesday. East Bengal won 4-2.

An 18-month review by Europol recently revealed that a Singapore-based crime syndicate has been involved in fixing soccer matches around the world, including World Cup qualifiers and Champions League matches.

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