A BUSINESSMAN branded as a “controlling mind” has been jailed for five years after being found guilty of plotting to fix football league matches.
Krishna Ganeshan, 44, of Hawthorn Road, was convicted alongside former footballer Michael Boateng and businessman Chann Sankaran of conspiracy to commit bribery following a four-week trial at
Birmingham Crown Court.
Sri Lankan born Ganeshan and Singaporean Sankaran, 34, were both labelled in court as “the controlling minds” behind efforts to influence the outcome of matches in League Two and the Conference South.
They were both jailed for five years each.
Boateng, a former defender with Conference South club Whitehawk FC in Brigton, was sentenced to 16 months for his role in the plot.
Sentencing the trio last Friday, Judge Melbourne Inman QC said: “Professional football and sport play an important part in national life and individuals’ lives in this country.
“Those who make determined attempts to destroy its integrity for personal gain must expect significant prison sentences so when such acts are discovered a clear signal is sent to others.
The judge told Sankaran he would be “liable to deportation” back to his home country once he had served his sentence, but it would be a matter for the Home Secretary.
He told the co-conspirators their scheme was laid bare by surveillance and covertly recorded conversations following an investigation initially by the Daily Telegraph and later the National Crime Agency.
Addressing Ganeshan, and Sankaran, of Hougan Avenue, Singapore, he said: “I am satisfied you were at the head of this conspiracy, you two were the controlling minds. The two of you came to this country in November last year for the sole reason of visiting clubs to find players you could corrupt to fix matches.”
He said they had clearly targeted lower division football clubs because the cost of bribing the players “on their modest wages” was cheaper than approaching players from the higher leagues. This was a, if not sophisticated, then well-planned and determined conspiracy motivated by the expectation of significant gain.”
When Ganeshan and Sankaran arrived in the UK earlier that month, they immediately set about building what the NCA described as “a network of corrupt players in the UK.” There is no evidence that the outcome of match was ever thrown. The investigation began after the Daily Telegraph presented NCA with evidence from its own under cover investigation.