SINGAPORE / ROME: Italian prosecutors have claimed top place in the queue of investigators wanting to interview matchfix mastermind Dan Tan after his arrest in Singapore.

Tan was among 12 men and women detained following raids across the city-state in the early hours of Tuesday. Among those taken into custody with Dan Tan, suspected leader of the organised crime group, were other individuals long subject of ongoing investigations in other jurisdictions in relation to match-fixing activities.

The Cremona prosecutor Roberto Di Martino, who has been leading an inquiry into Italian match-fixing over the past three years, wants to question Dan Tan whom he and colleagues have accused of coordinating a global crime syndicate that made millions of dollars betting on fixed Italian matches and other games across the world.

Di Martino, who issued a request for his arrest earlier this year, said: “He’s the leader, the general director of the ring.”

Dan Tan was also made subject, in his absence, to an arrest order in Hungary in February.

The latest arrests are considered significant breakthrough in the global fight against match-fixing.

Di Martino added: “It’s big news. It shows that our inquiry means something on an international level. Now we need to explore the diplomatic channels to see what we can do. I’m not sure if our treaties permit (extradition). Plus, these arrests appear to also be linked to their (Singapore’s) own investigation. Others have been arrested, too, including women, that don’t appear to have anything to do with our inquiry. I think there are some elements from our inquiry involved, and some from theirs.”

The police official said Dan Tan’s arrest was the result of a lengthy investigation by Singapore authorities and was not in response to arrest requests from foreign law enforcement bodies.

Italian prosecutors have alleged that Tan is the head of a crime syndicate that allegedly made millions betting on rigged Italian games between 2008 and late 2011, through bribing players, referees and club officials. At least 50 people have been arrested in Italy for match-fixing since mid-2011, with points penalties handed out by the Italian federation for three consecutive years.