x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Three more arrested in cricket's 'spot fixing' scam

Three more people are arrested in connection with the "spot fixing" betting-scam allegations involving Pakistan's international cricketers.

LONDON // Three more people have been arrested in connection with the "spot fixing" betting-scam allegations involving Pakistan's international cricketers. British customs officials said yesterday that two men and a woman, all from the London area, had been questioned about money laundering. They were later released on bail. The allegations came to light after the British newspaper, the, News of the World, videoed an agent for several of the Pakistan players accepting £150,000 (Dh847,000) in cash and predicting exactly when three no balls would be bowled in last week's Test match against England.

Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif bowled the no balls precisely as the English agent, Mazhar Majeed, had promised. Gamblers on the "spot betting" markets in the Far East and Indian sub-continent could have made considerable money if they had that information beforehand and wagered on it. Majeed, 35, was subsequently arrested by Scotland Yard detectives on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers. The money was provided by News International, owners of the paper, and has not been recovered so far. Authorities also interviewed Asif, Majeed, captain Salman Butt and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, though he has now been ruled out of the inquiry. In a statement yesterday, HM Revenue and Customs said the three were arrested Sunday. The agency, rather than police, presumably arrested the three because they are being investigated for money laundering. Those arrested "included two 35-year-olds - a male and a female - from the Croydon area, and a 49-year-old male from the Wembley area". The three Pakistani players still under investigation will travel to London today to attend a meeting with officials, including Ijaz Butt, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board. Yesterday, Mr Butt and Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan's high commissioner in London, took part in a conference call with sports minister Ijaz Hussain Jakhrani in Islamabad, discussing what the next move should be. Uk cricket officials have said they do not believe the three implicated Pakistani players should continue playing and Pakistani officials have indicated they agree. The captain and two bowlers apparently will not participate in the upcoming series of one-day internationals against England. Cricket officials on both sides say they are waiting to see the findings from the police and International Cricket Council (ICC) investigations. Haroon Lorgat, the chief executive of the Dubai-base ICC, said yesterday that there would be "some sort of a conclusion" to the investigation by the weekend. A preliminary police report is expected within the next few days. "Make no mistake, once the process is complete, if any players are found to be guilty, the ICC will ensure that the appropriate punishment is handed out," Mr Lorgat said. "We will not tolerate corruption in this great game." dsapsted@thenational.ae