Match-fixing retrial told of lies to jury about cash

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The Independent Online
One of the defendants in the football match-fixing retrial twice told lies about a large amount of cash he received, the jury was told yesterday.

Hans Segers, the former Wimbledon goalkeeper, was involved in a conspiracy with fellow professional John Fashanu and Heng Suan Lim, a Malaysian businessman, and had received up to pounds 100,000, David Calvert Smith QC, for the prosecution, said.

The defendant had told a "pack of lies" to police that the money came from car crime when he was a young man in the Netherlands, and had told further lies at the first trial by claiming the cash came from his Dutch associate in a tie-manufacturing business. The prosecution would call the associate, Alphonsus Thuys, as a witness who would state that he "never paid Mr Segers a penny in cash".

The court also heard that Bruce Grobbelaar, the former Liverpool goalkeeper, received pounds 40,000 as "corrupt reward" for taking part in a conspiracy with Mr Fashanu to fix Premier League football matches.

Mr Segers, Mr Grobbelaar and Mr Fashanu, together with Mr Lim, are being re-tried on corruption charges at Winchester Crown Court after a jury failed to reach a verdict in a seven-week hearing earlier this year.

Outlining the case to the new jury, Mr Calvert Smith said the two goalkeepers had been recruited by a Far Eastern syndicate to influence the results of matches on which the syndicate was betting. Mr Lim, known as Richard, was the syndicate's representative in London, and Mr Fashanu, former Wimbledon player and Gladiators presenter, was the "middleman" who later tried to take over direct dealing with the syndicate himself, he said.

The conspiracy involved Mr Grobbelaar, now with Plymouth Argyle, receiving large sums of money for agreeing to influence matches in which he played for Liverpool, and later for Southampton. Mr Calvert Smith said the intention was "that Grobbelaar would do what he could on the pitch to influence the results of games in order that the syndicate could more safely bet on their result".

While it was obvious that no one player could alone guarantee the result of a match, a goalkeeper was the single most important player for a syndicate to recruit, he said.

The prosecution accepted that Mr Grobbelaar's own andcompetitive instincts on the field may have frustrated the syndicate's aims. But if a conspiracy did exist, said Mr Calvert Smith, then "it does not matter whether the actual result of the match owed everything, little or nothing to the assistance of the corrupt player".

The pounds 40,000 paid to Mr Grobbelaar followed a match between Liverpool and Newcastle in November 1993 and the money was paid to him at an address used by Mr Fashanu.

Mr Grobbelaar, Mr Fashanu and Mr Lim deny conspiring to give or receive money to fix matches. Mr Fashanu, Mr Lim and Mr Segers deny a similar charge. Mr Grobbelaar denies a separate charge of receiving pounds 2,000 connected to alleged match-fixing. The case continues.

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