Cricket agent 'asked for $1.2m to fix match result'
- 11 October 2011
- From the section UK
A cricket agent asked for $1.2m (£768,000) to arrange for Pakistan to throw a Test match against England, a court has heard.
London's Southwark Crown Court was told Mazhar Majeed, 36, was recorded discussing deliberately losing last summer's game with a contact in India.
Pakistan eventually beat England by four wickets at the Oval in London.
Cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif are accused of fixing parts of a Lord's Test match, which they deny.
Prosecutors allege that Mr Majeed, from Croydon, south London, conspired with Mr Butt, 27, and Mr Asif, 28, to fix parts of the Lord's Test between England and Pakistan last August.
Mr Majeed called his Indian contact on the morning of 21 August 2010 - the final day of the Oval Test - in the presence of former News of the World undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood, the court heard.
In the secret recording, Mr Majeed allegedly claimed it was "not a problem" to fix the match result and referred to the number of players working with him, saying: "Boss, you know how many I've got, you know that they do it."
Mr Majeed told the unnamed man: "You know what we spoke about last night, what offer can you give me for today's game? Tell me, just give me a figure now, we haven't got long.
"There's a possibility, I'm telling you that now, but they're talking at least $1.2m - at least."
The Indian contact replied: "I give you one [million dollars]. One I give you, but has to be a definite game score."
After the call, Mr Majeed told the journalist: "There's big, big money in results, I tell you, you can see that."
Mr Majeed claimed he channelled the money he received from match-fixing through the football club he owned, Croydon Athletic, and had opened Swiss bank accounts for his Pakistan players, the court heard.
He told Mr Mahmood: "I have the football club, and I move a lot of it through. The only reason I bought a football club is to move cash."
On 25 August 2010, the day before the start of the final Test match of the England Pakistan series at Lord's, in north London, Mr Majeed met Mr Mahmood again at the Copthorne Tara hotel off Kensington High Street in London, the court heard.
The jury was shown a covertly filmed video of Mr Mahmood handing £140,000 in £50 notes to the agent, who counted out the money on a table in front of him.
At the meeting, Mr Majeed claimed that Twenty20 games were the "easiest" to fix and boasted that he and his associates would make "a hell of a lot of money".
The agent promised the reporter that Mr Amir and Mr Asif would deliver three no-balls at specific points in the Lord's Test, the court heard.
He was filmed on hidden cameras telling Mr Mahmood: "After you see these three, you will know it's no coincidence."
Urging the journalist to bet on the no-balls, the agent claimed: "My guy in India, he makes £40,000, £50,000 each ball."
Mr Majeed added: "If they don't get it, I will drop you your money straight back, OK. The money's not a big deal to me. It's about a relationship in the long term, making money."
He also alleged that many Pakistan players wanted Mr Butt to replace Shahid Afridi as captain of their Twenty20 and one-day sides, and were happy to throw matches deliberately to achieve this.
Meanwhile, testimony from earlier in the trial which suggested Australian cricketers were the world's biggest match-fixers has been rejected by Australian cricket's governing body.
London's Southwark Crown Court heard on Monday that Mr Majeed had said Australians were "the biggest" when it came to rigging games.
But Cricket Australia said the claims were "baseless and outlandish".
The case continues.