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MHA to strip naturalised S'porean of citizenship for involvement in global match-fixing syndicate

SINGAPORE — The authorities intend to strip former S-League player Gaye Alassane of his Singapore citizenship for being "an active and trusted member" of an international match-fixing syndicate.

The authorities intend to strip former S-League player Gaye Alassane (pictured) of his Singapore citizenship for being "an active and trusted member" of an international match-fixing syndicate. Photo: Facebook

The authorities intend to strip former S-League player Gaye Alassane (pictured) of his Singapore citizenship for being "an active and trusted member" of an international match-fixing syndicate. Photo: Facebook

SINGAPORE — The authorities intend to strip former S-League player Gaye Alassane of his Singapore citizenship for being "an active and trusted member" of an international match-fixing syndicate.

The 43-year-old Mali-born player, who became a Singaporean in 2003, was served with a notice on proposed deprivation of citizenship on Thursday (Dec 7). Alassane was detained in 2013 and has been placed on a police supervision order.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which did not name the individual involved, warned in a statement that naturalised citizens should not act against Singapore's interests.

It added: "Individuals who have been granted Singapore citizenship should cherish it and not act contrary to national interests. Those who undertake activities that prejudice our security or public safety, peace and good order deserve to have their citizenship status deprived."

Alassane can appeal by applying for his case to be heard by a Citizenship Committee of Inquiry within 21 days of receiving the notice. The committee will hold an inquiry and submit a report to Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam, who will have the final say on whether the former football player is deprived of his Singapore citizenship.

Alassane married a clerk at the Football Association of Singapore in 2003, and obtained his Singapore citizenship by registration through the Family Ties Scheme.

There was no information to suggest at that point that he was involved in criminal activities. But he eventually became part of an international match-fixing syndicate which was created in Singapore.

In 2013, the police arrested 14 Singaporeans in connection with the syndicate, including four who were placed under detention orders.

"The individual and his syndicate members used Singapore as a hub to conduct major global match-fixing activities," said the MHA.

Alassane allegedly conspired with his syndicate members to fix football matches in several countries by bribing corrupt officials and players. He also cultivated several foreign nationals based in Singapore to lure them into taking part in his syndicate’s activities. The former player travelled frequently to move the bribe monies in and out of Singapore.

"The individual's serious criminal conduct not only undermined the integrity of Singapore's financial system, but also law and order. Witnesses were afraid of testifying against the individual and his syndicate members in open court for fear of reprisal," said the ministry.

It added that the decision to serve him a notice of proposed deprivation of citizenship was made after considering the severity of his criminal actions and the detrimental impact the match-fixing activities had on public order.

Singapore's Constitution allows the Government to deprive any Singaporean, by registration or naturalisation, of their citizenship.

The MHA said it had previously stripped some Singaporeans of their citizenship for involvement in "criminal acts prejudicial to the interests of Singapore". It did not give further details.

Alassane will become stateless if he loses his Singapore citizenship. This means he can only stay in Singapore with a special pass from the the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, and will lose all privileges associated with a Singapore citizen.

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