London: Oct 11, 2011
A shadowy Indian contact offered the agent of several Pakistan cricketers 1 million to ensure they threw a Test match against England, a London court heard Tuesday.
The jury in the trial of former Pakistan captain Salman Butt and fast bowler Mohammad Asif saw video footage of meetings between the players' agent Mazhar Majeed and undercover News of the World reporter Mazher Mahmood.
The former investigations editor for Rupert Murdoch's now-defunct tabloid was posing as an Indian frontman for a Far East gambling syndicate.
In an August 21 meeting in Majeed's house in south London, the reporter recorded the agent on the telephone with the unidentified man in India, discussing deliberately throwing the Test match between England and Pakistan at The Oval, which was under way at the time, Southwark Crown Court was told.
Referring to the number of Pakistan players under his wing, Majeed was heard saying it was "not a problem" to fix the match result, as "you know how many I've got, you know that they do it."
Majeed called his Indian contact and told him: "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 just telling you that now, they're talking at least 1.2 -- at least. In dollars."
The prosecution alleged that Majeed and the mysterious contact were floating the possibility of Pakistan deliberately losing the game.
Majeed said: "Boss, you know how many I've got, you know that they do it. So of course that's not a problem. But you just give me the figure and I'm going to get back to you. We haven't got much time. One million, yeah?"
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, Majeed told the reporter: "There's big, big money in results, I tell you, you can see that."
In the event, Pakistan beat England by four wickets to secure a memorable Test victory.
The court heard that Majeed previously told the journalist that Pakistan were trying to win the match at The Oval because the players wanted Butt to remain as Test captain.
Prosecutors allege Butt and Asif agreed for no-balls to be bowled as part of a spot-fixing scam.
The two players have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, and conspiracy to cheat at gambling.
Majeed and young Pakistan bowler Mohammad Aamer have also been charged with the same offences but are not standing trial alongside Butt and Asif.
Mahmood gave evidence from behind a screen after the judge banned descriptions of his appearance because his security could be compromised. He could be seen by the judge and the jury.(AFP)