Soccer-Finnish bosses sentenced for money laundering

HELSINKI, April 25 Thu Apr 25, 2013 1:52pm BST

HELSINKI, April 25 (Reuters) - Two former top officials of Finnish club Tampere United were found guilty on Thursday of money laundering after accepting funds from a Singaporean company that had obtained the money through match fixing.

The court of appeals of Turku, Finland, handed former managing director Deniz Bavautdin and former board chairman Harri Pyhalto six-month suspended sentences.

Three-times champions Tampere United were expelled from the Finnish league in 2011 for receiving funds from Singaporean firm Exclusive Sport Pte Ltd in exchange for giving certain players places on the team.

The court said the men should have known that the around 300,000 euros ($389,900) the team received from Exclusive Sport as part of partnership deal in 2010-2011 was obtained through crime.

Exclusive Sport representative Wilson Raj Perumal, who was given a two-year jail sentence by a Finnish court in 2011 for bribing players and referees to fix matches, has said the money came from match fixing.

The court said in its verdict that Perumal had also approached other Finnish teams to offer money in exchange for accepting some players.

The former head of the Finnish football association, Kimmo J. Lipponen, told the court he had warned Bavautdin the Singaporean company might seek to influence match results through the players it sent in. ($1 = 0.7695 euros) (Reporting by Terhi Kinnunen; Editing by Sonia Oxley)