Did not hack phone to gather evidence: Mazher Mahmood

Mohammad Asif (c) and Salman Butt (R) ave been accused of cheating at gambling and receiving corrupt payments AFP

By CricketCountry Staff

London: Oct 12, 2011

Investigative journalist Mazher Mahmood has denied in court that he broke the spot-fixing scam during the Lord’s Test between Pakistan and England after illegally hacking phone to gather evidence.

Mahmood said he launched his investigation after he got messages from the UK-based agent Mazhar Majeed’s BlackBerry mobile, which appeared to show that match-fixing had been going on for a long time.

When Asif’s lawyer, Alexander Milne QC, suggested: “It is downloaded from a telephone without the knowledge of the person,” Mahmood responded: “You are assuming it’s without the knowledge of the person.”

“Hacking is illegal,” Milne said. “Did it not cause you any concern that it might be hacked material?”

“There is no hacking involved,” responded Mahmood.

“Do you know of Glenn Mulcaire, who was sent to prison for phone hacking at the News of the World?” Milne asked. “I have never met him, never spoken to Glenn Mulcaire in 20 years,” Mahmood said.

Mahmood’s investigation was based on the pretence that he was an Indian businessman interested in setting up a cricket tournament for betting purposes.

“If he is saying that then not only is he a match fixer, he’s also a liar,” Mahmood said. “He was exposed in my paper and I had no desire to meet him.”

Mahmood has pledged to hand over his passport as evidence of his travel movements. The case continues.