A former Crystal Palace and Carshalton Athletic football player has been jailed after taking part in a match fixing conspiracy
Croydon man Michael Boateng, 22, was on Tuesday found guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery within a plan to fix lower league football matches while he was a player for Brighton-based side Whitehawk FC in November last year.
The jury at Brimingham Crown Court also found businessmen Chann Sankaran, 33, of Singapore, and Krishna Ganeshan, 44, from Hastings, guilty of conspiracy to commit bribery.
Boateng, of Davidson Road, has been sentenced to 16 months in prison while Ganeshan and Sankaran were sentenced to five years each.
Ganesha, Sankaran and Boateng meeting in Croydon
The three men were convicted following a six-week trial that came after a National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation prompted by information provided by the Daily Telegraph.
Hakeem Adelakun, who is also from Croydon, once played for Palace and was a regular for Carshalton Athletic last year, was cleared of involvement in the conspiracy and a third player, Moses Swaibu, of Bermondsey, faces a retrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict.
Sankaran and Ganeshan were the organisers of the conspiracy, which ultimately failed to rig any matches, while Boateng was described as a willing recruit.
The telegraph's investigation revealed Sankaran and Ganeshan were planning to fly into the UK to fix football matches last year. The pair arrived on November 21 and were trailed by NCA investigators.
They arranged an initial meeting with an investor but that fell through. Days later they and an investor met Boateng and Mr Adelakun at a coffee shop in Croydon.
The investor handed 60,000euro in cash to the businessmen before leaving. The four men then reconvened without the investor outside some public toilets in Croydon where Ganeshan and Sankaran gave 450euro to the players.
Ganeshan and Sankaran were arrested in Wimbledon after a failed attempt to influence the result of a match between AFC Wimbledon and Dagenham and Redbridge on Tuesday, November 26. Boateng and Adelakun were arrested days later.
NCA branch commander Richard Warner said: "This is not sport as a football-loving nation recognises it.
"It is corruption and bribery linked to serious organised crime, and the NCA is determined to stop criminals benefiting from it."