SINGAPORE (AP) — A referee and his two assistants were charged Thursday with corruption in Singapore for accepting "free sexual service" in return for fixing an Asian Football Confederation Cup match.
Referee Ali Sabbagh and assistant referees Ali Eid and Abdallah Taleb, all from Lebanon, were charged with one count of "corruptly receiving gratification in the form of free sexual service," Singapore's Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau said in a statement.
The 33-year-old Sabbagh is a FIFA-accredited referee who has officiated 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 prior information of match-fixing involving a game between Singapore club Tampines Rovers and East Bengal of India on Wednesday. East Bengal won 4-2 with replacement officials.
"Singapore has always adopted a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption, and match-fixing of any form is not condoned in Singapore," the statement said. "The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau investigates into match-fixing through bribery cases and will not hesitate to take action against any parties involved if they had given or received bribes to fix a match."
An 18-month review by Europol recently revealed that a Singapore-based crime syndicate has been involved in fixing football matches around the world, including World Cup qualifiers and Champions League matches.