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Trial told non-league games targeted by match-fixing ring

Footballers and Far Eastern businessmen allegedly conspired to fix matches and maximise their returns by betting on "Goldilocks scenario" non-league fixtures, a jury has been told.

Michael Boateng and Hakeem Adelakun, both 22, together with 24-year-old Moses Swaibu, are each accused of conspiracy to commit bribery and bribery.

The three appeared in the dock at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday alongside Chann Sankaran, 33, and Krishna Ganeshan, 43, over an allegation they all took part in a conspiracy to alter the results of games.

On the first day of a trial set to last five weeks, the prosecution's Robert Davies said Sankaran and Ganeshan were "central figures" in the alleged conspiracy, while the other three men were their "willing recruits".

He said the men had come to the UK from Singapore intending to target the non-league conference football competitions, which he described as a match-fixers' "Goldilocks scenario".

Explaining the term, Mr Davies said it was leagues such as the Conference Premier, Conference South and Conference North where "investors use the minimum level of bribe to get the maximum betting return".

Setting out the case against Sankaran and Ganeshan, he added the men had come to the UK from Singapore "to engineer the results they need to make money".

The jury were told undercover investigators developed a relationship with Sankaran.

Sankaran, of Hastings, East Sussex, and Ganeshan, of Singapore, are accused of conspiracy to commit bribery, and three further counts of bribery by offering the players cash, and including accepting €60,000 (£48,900) with the intention of using that cash to induce footballers to act improperly.

Boateng, of Croydon and Adelakun, of Thornton, have been sacked by Conference South side Brighton-based Whitehawk FC and appeared alongside fellow Conference South player Swaibu of Bermondsey, London.

The offences are all alleged to have taken place between November 1 and 26, 2013.

All the men deny the charges against them.

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