The ArgusFormer Whitehawk player guilty of match fixing (From The Argus)

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Former Whitehawk player guilty of match fixing

The Argus: Guilty: Michael Boateng Guilty: Michael Boateng

UPDATE: A former Whitehawk FC footballer and two Far Eastern businessmen are facing possible jail sentences after being convicted of involvement in a plot to fix the results of lower league matches.

Former Whitehawk FC defender Michael Boateng was found guilty by an 11-1 majority verdict of conspiracy to commit bribery following a four-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.

The 22-year-old player, of Davidson Road, Croydon, south London, was found guilty alongside businessmen Chann Sankaran and Krishna Ganeshan, who were unanimously convicted of the same offence.

During the trial, Sankaran, 33, and Ganeshan, 44, were described as the "central figures" in efforts to influence the outcome of matches in League Two and the Conference South.

Boateng, Sankaran and Ganeshan will be be sentenced on Friday for conspiracy to commit bribery, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years' imprisonment.

Sankaran, of Hougang Avenue, Singapore; Ganeshan, of Hawthorn Road, Hastings, East Sussex, and Boateng had all denied a single count of conspiracy to offer, promise or give a financial advantage to other persons.

A fourth defendant, Hakeem Adelakun, who has also played for Brighton-based Whitehawk, was acquitted by the jury of any involvement in the conspiracy.

Adelakun, 23, of Thornton Heath, south London, told the jury he knew nothing at all about any plot to fix matches.

Meanwhile, jurors were discharged from reaching a verdict on a third ex-Whitehawk footballer, Moses Swaibu, after deliberating for more than 15 hours.

Swaibu, 25, of Tooley Street, Bermondsey, south London, denies a single count of conspiracy and was granted unconditional bail pending a retrial.

The Crown alleged at the start of the trial that Sankaran and Sri Lankan-born Ganeshan conspired to fix matches which they intended to place bets on.

Opening the case to the jury on May 19, prosecutor Robert Davies said Sankaran and Ganeshan travelled to the UK from Singapore intending to target non-league conference football.

The two businessmen intended to use the minimum level of bribe to get the maximum betting return, the court heard.

"They've come across to the UK with a plan to find lower league players willing to take a bribe or encourage other players to do so," Mr Davies told the jury.

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