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Chris Eaton, the former head of security for FIFA, soccer’s governing body, said Tan’s arrest is “enormously significant.”

“Singapore is now taking serious action. It’s really pleasing,” said Eaton, now director of sport integrity at the International Centre for Sport Security, a Qatar-backed group funding efforts to research the extent of fixing and ways to combat it.

“These people bridge the match fixers and the betting fraud,” Eaton said in a telephone interview.

Eaton’s successor as FIFA security director, Ralf Mutschke, said last year that news media overstated Tan’s alleged role in match-fixing, and he probably isn’t “as involved as everyone is thinking” and has only “symbolic importance.”

In its statement, Interpol said several Singaporean law enforcement agencies took part in the operation that led to Tuesday’s arrests.

It also said officers from Singapore met in March at Interpol’s Lyon headquarters with investigators from across Europe “to review evidence of alleged match-fixing by a transnational organized crime group based in Singapore.”

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Dampf reported from Rome. Leicester reported from Paris.

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Associated Press writer Sean Yoong in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, contributed to this report.