UK

The Fake Sheikh's most famous stings

Mazher Mahmood Image copyright PA
Image caption Mazher Mahmood arriving at the Old Bailey

The so-called Fake Sheikh, Mazher Mahmood, has been found guilty of perverting the course of justice, following a trial at the Old Bailey.

The former News Of The World investigations editor - who regularly dressed as a sheikh to fool his targets - became one of the UK's best known, yet most elusive, journalists.

He claims to have secured more than 100 convictions during a career spanning 20 years, but has also been criticised for his controversial methods.

Here are some of his most high-profile tabloid "stings".


Pakistan cricketers

Image copyright Reuters

In August 2010, a News of the World sting revealed Pakistan bowlers Mohammad Amir (pictured) and Mohammad Asif - together with their captain Salman Butt - were involved in a betting scam, known as spot-fixing.

The scandal came to light after Mahmood, who posed as an Indian businessman, secretly filmed the players' agent Mazhar Majeed arranging for no-balls to be deliberately bowled at specific moments in the fourth Test between England and Pakistan at Lord's.

In return, he was paid £150,000.

All three players received cricketing bans, and they and Majeed were later jailed.

How Pakistan cricket betting scam unfolded


Sven-Goran Eriksson

Image copyright AP

Sven-Goran Eriksson, the then England football coach, faced embarrassment following a Fake Sheikh sting in 2006.

He was recorded telling the undercover reporter that Aston Villa Football Club was for sale and that then England captain David Beckham would return from Real Madrid to play in England if Eriksson asked him to.

He also said former England striker Michael Owen was not happy at Newcastle United.

The sting was published six months before the World Cup in Germany, and Eriksson, who had been under contract with the Football Association until 2008, left the England job after the tournament.

Eriksson caught in tabloid sting


The Duchess of York

Image copyright AP

The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, was forced to apologise in 2010 following a sting in which she appeared to offer access to her former husband Prince Andrew in exchange for £500,000.

Mahmood, who posed as a businessman, recorded the duchess saying: "Look after me and he'll look after you... you'll get it back tenfold. I can open any door you want."

The prince - a UK trade envoy - knew nothing about the alleged deal.

The duchess later said she was "devastated" and "regretful".

Duchess 'devastated' by cash-for-access claims


Victoria Beckham 'kidnap plot'

Image copyright Getty Images

In November 2002, the front page of the News of the World proclaimed: "Posh kidnap - we stop £5m ransom gang."

Over several pages, Mahmood described how his reporters had infiltrated a plot to ambush Victoria Beckham, with the kidnappers intending to demand a ransom from her footballer husband David.

Five men were later charged with conspiring to kidnap Mrs Beckham. However, a subsequent trial collapsed after it emerged the paper had paid £10,000 to a convicted criminal, Florim Gashi, for his story.

The NoW defended its "thorough and legitimate investigation undertaken by one of the paper's most senior and experienced reporters".

Beckham 'kidnap' case collapses


The Countess of Wessex

Image copyright Getty Images

The Countess of Wessex stepped down as chairman of a PR firm amid controversy over secretly recorded comments to Mahmood.

The 2001 sting caused embarrassment for the Royal Family after Sophie - the wife of Prince Edward -was recorded making disparaging comments about senior politicians during at a meeting with the Fake Sheikh at a London hotel.

She attended the meeting to follow up on what she believed was an opportunity to manage a £20,000-a-month public relations account for a Saudi prince.

However, the newspaper also claimed the firm, R-JH, was using Sophie's royal connections to boost its client list.

Explosive headlines for Sophie


John Alford

Image copyright PA

London's Burning actor John Alford was sacked and later jailed for supplying cocaine and cannabis to Mahmood in a 1997 Fake Sheikh sting.

The News of the World expose claimed Alford had met Mahmood - who was posing as an Arabian prince - at London's Savoy Hotel.

The former Grange Hill star was offered £100,000 and the chance to join a celebrity line-up at the opening of a nightclub in Dubai.

However, Mahmood asked if Alford could also supply him with drugs.

Alford guilty on drugs charges


Newcastle United directors

Image copyright Getty Images

Two directors of Newcastle United Football Club resigned over comments they made to Mahmood - posing as a Middle East businessman - in Marbella, Spain, in 1998.

Chairman Freddie Shepherd and his deputy, Douglas Hall, were recorded apparently criticising star player Alan Shearer's clean image, calling Newcastle women "dogs" and implying the club's supporters were paying too much for replica shirts.

One dismissed former Newcastle and England manager Kevin Keegan as "Shirley Temple".

Mr Shepherd and Mr Hall claimed they were victims of "entrapment" and "gross deception" by the News of the World.

Newcastle United directors resign