Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 7 August 2020

Indian businessman key figure in corruption case of UAE players Mohammed Naveed and Shaiman Anwar

Deepak Agarwal suspended for two years by ICC's Anti-Corruption Unit earlier this year

Mohammed Naveed has admitted failing to report an illegal approach to the ICC's Anti-Corrption Unit. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Mohammed Naveed has admitted failing to report an illegal approach to the ICC's Anti-Corrption Unit. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The Indian businessman who was banned from cricket for two years in April for breaching the sport’s anti-corruption code has emerged as a key figure in the case of UAE players Mohammed Naveed and Shaiman Anwar.

Deepak Agarwal was suspended for “obstructing or delaying an investigation, including concealing, tampering with or destroying any documentation or other information that may be relevant” to the ICC’s anti-corruption unit.

The length of his sanction, with six months suspended, reflected his swift admission of guilt as well as foregoing his right to a tribunal.

The ICC also acknowledged at that point that Agarwal was helping them with their enquiries into other cases of suspected corruption.

“He made a prompt admission of his breach of the [code] and continues to provide substantial assistance to the ACU in relation to several investigations involving other participants,” Alex Marshall, the ICC general manager of integrity, said.

“This cooperation is reflected in his sanction.”

Agarwal had also previously been named as “an individual known to the ACU and suspected of involvement in cricket” in the investigation that saw Bangladesh star Shakib Al Hasan banned last October.

Now it is understood he is a central figure in the investigation into suspended UAE players Naveed and Shaiman, too.

The duo were banned on the eve of the T20 World Cup Qualifier last year, after being charged with a variety of breaches of the anti-corruption code.

When those charges were announced, Naveed admitted he had failed to report an approach, but denied ever contriving to fix any aspects of matches.

Shaiman Anwar hopes to represent the UAE again despite facing a corruption charge by the ICC. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Shaiman Anwar hopes to represent the UAE again despite facing a corruption charge by the ICC. Chris Whiteoak / The National

The former UAE captain said he and Shaiman had met with someone he was told was an official for a T10 franchise, near Naveed’s home in Sharjah, on October 1, 2019.

Naveed said he only knew the figure as “Vicky”. He has since been informed it was Agarwal, whose suspension from cricket in April was brought about after he was briefly listed as a co-owner of the Sindhis T10 team.

Naveed has said he left the meeting as soon as he understood it to be a corrupt approach, which it is believed included mention of an offer for Dh100,000 to fix matches in the Abu Dhabi T10.

It is also understood a physical altercation between Naveed and Agarwal took place.

Neither Naveed nor Shaiman reported the approach, with Agarwal himself alerting the ACU five days later.

UAE bowler Qadeer Ahmed in action against Ireland in Dubai last year. Pawan Singh/The National
UAE bowler Qadeer Ahmed in action against Ireland in Dubai last year. Pawan Singh/The National

Four days after that, on October 10, Naveed, Shaiman, and another player, Qadeer Ahmed – who faces separate charges – were led away from a UAE practice match against Namibia in Dubai for questioning by ACU officers.

All three were formally charged six days later, just before the start of the T20 Qualifier in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Following the controversy, the UAE team missed out on a place at the World Cup, despite starting the competition as the second-highest ranked side in it.

Naveed hopes to defend himself against the charges of “fixing or contriving in any way or otherwise influencing improperly” matches.

He has admitted to negligence in “failing to disclose to the ACU [without unnecessary delay] full details of any approaches or invitations received by the participant to engage in corrupt conduct” under the code.

That charge carries with it a minimum sanction of six months, and a maximum of five years.

Naveed and Shaiman have been suspended for the past eight months, pending the outcome of the investigation.

“I made a big mistake by not reporting [the approach] to ICC and [the Emirates Cricket Board],” Naveed said on Wednesday.

“My life was going very well, my performance in cricket, and my business.

"God gave me everything. I accept my mistake in not reporting.”

Shaiman could not be reached for comment.

Updated: July 2, 2020 12:01 PM

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