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Perumal's company hired Chaibou to officiate at two games in 2010 -- South Africa-Guatemala and Bahrain-Togo. The first was investigated by FIFA and the South African soccer federation; the second involved a team of impostors. Eaton said that when Perumal was arrested in Finland in February 2011, he had Chaibou's number on his phone.
Chaibou also officiated two other games in South America -- Bolivia-Venezuela and Ecuador-Venezuela -- in October and November 2010, respectively, according to documents provided by FIFA. Both of those matches raised flags with betting monitors, according to confidential betting reports. In a letter written from jail, Perumal claimed the Bolivia match was "sold to an investor in China" -- a euphemism for Asian crime gangs.
In Ecuador, the home team won 4-1, helped by penalties scored by both teams that were "similarly questionable," according to a confidential betting monitoring report.
When asked by the AP whether he knew Perumal, Chaibou became combative.
"You already asked me this question last time. I told you I don't know him. I don't know him!" he said, his voice rising. "I told you I don't know these people."
In two previous calls to Chaibou, AP had not mentioned the name.
In 2010, Bahrain's soccer federation hired Perumal to arrange an exhibition match between its national team and that of Togo.
But when the match was played in the Bahraini capital of Manama in September of that year, the rag-tag team from Togo contained none of the players from its national squad. Its coach was not that of the Togolese team, but rather Tchanile Bana, who was serving a two-year ban by Togo for a previous soccer scam.
Bahrain won 3-0, but its coach still complained angrily after the game; the score would have been even more lopsided if officials had not nullified several Bahraini goals on offsides calls.Â
The referee was Chaibou.
From his prison cell in Finland, Perumal wrote to a Singaporean journalist that "Ibrahim Chaibo (sic) was put in charge of this match to keep the score as low as possible."
Perumal said he wagered "against the current" of other Singapore bettors who knew about his ties to the Togo game and who put down money on the Africans losing by a lot.
Chaibou denied that anyone influenced the match: "These are refereeing decisions. That's all."
Asked whether Perumal had dictated the outcome, Chaibou hung up.
He did not answer further calls from the AP.
FIFA did not investigate because there was no formal complaint by either national federation about the match, which has become notorious in the soccer world for hurting the image of international exhibitions.
Two weeks before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Chaibou refereed another game that caught the eye of journalists as well as betting monitors, who watch information from 300 betting agencies.
The South African Football Association had hired the Football4U agency, later linked to Perumal, to arrange a string of exhibitions, including a May 31 match against Guatemala. Chaibou was the referee.
The monitoring systems noted suspiciously strong pre-match backing for a South African victory, despite the fact the team was resting several regulars, and for at least three goals to be scored in the game, according to a confidential monitoring report.
South Africa won 5-0, with two of the goals coming from the three handball penalties awarded by Chaibou. The first was called on defender Gustavo Cabrera, who replays showed was clearly standing outside the penalty area. Guatemala was awarded a penalty in the 50th minute when South Africa defender Lucas Thwala blocked a shot with his chest; the South African goalkeeper made the save on the ensuing penalty kick. Chaibou gave South Africa another penalty kick four minutes later, and the team scored.
The South African Football Association immediately became suspicious and dropped all of Perumal's referees, canceling Chaibou's plans to officiate its next game against Denmark.
Chaibou denied that anyone had pressured him to influence the outcome of the match.
On Dec. 15, 2012, the South African Football Association announced that a FIFA report found "compelling evidence" that one or more of its games was fixed in 2010. It said referees hired by Perumal were thought to have manipulated its exhibition games before the World Cup for betting purposes, adding that no players were thought to have been involved. It did not name the referees. It has not imposed sanctions but the investigation continues.
Eaton, who has since joined the Qatari-funded International Centre for Sport Security, said he will continue to investigate Chaibou. It is his responsibility, he said, "to protect all sport from the influence of criminals infiltrating sport and corrupting individuals within sport."
"The allegations against referee Chaibou mean he is a person of interest to the ICSS Integrity Unit and its investigators," Eaton said.
Chaibou insists he has never fixed a match.
"It's got nothing to do with me," he said. "I refereed my matches and went home peacefully. End of story."
AP Sports Writer John Leicester in Paris and Assistant Europe Editor Sheila Norman-Culp in London contributed to this story.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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