Cricketers to Criminals – Pakistan trio jailed for match-fixing

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They have ‘let down the cricketing world’, says officer who led case

THREE Pakistan cricketers involved in a match-fixing scandal during a series against England Test have been jailed following a four-week trial.

Former captain Salman Butt, 27, and bowler Mohammad Asif, 28, were found guilty at Southwark Crown Court.

Both players were found guilty by unanimous verdict of conspiracy to cheat, and by majority verdict of conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments.

The youngest player on the team, 19-year-old Mohammad Amir admitted the same charges at an earlier hearing at the same court on 9 September 2011.

Butt was jailed for 30 months, Asif for one year, and Amir for 6 months.

The three players were responsible for bowling three no balls during the Fourth Test match at Lords in August 2010.

The judge in the case accepted a sports agent was involved in the scam. The court heard he used his influence as agent to some of the players to set up the deceit in return for payment of £150,000 from an undercover journalist posing as a businessman with connections to gambling syndicates.

Details of the scam were passed to officers from the Specialist Crime Directorate and Operation Seawall was launched – a long running investigation to identify those involved, which saw three of the defendants summonsed from their home country of Pakistan to face justice.

Detective Chief Supt Matthew Horne said: “This is a case of cheating; pure and simple. The defendants, who are world class cricketers, sought to cheat to enhance their substantial legitimate earnings.

“It is unusual for the police, CPS and ultimately the courts to get involved in sporting issues to this degree, but this case demonstrates our collective determination to do so in serious cases where the conduct is clearly criminal.

“The defendants have let down the cricketing world, their fans and the hard working people that buy tickets to watch. I am not sure these men really appreciated how much they were admired by cricket fans; they were role models to countless children around the world and have betrayed their trust.

“It is unlikely such activity would have been exposed without the good work of investigative journalism; and as an investigator I acknowledge the skill involved in such work.”

Sally Walsh, Senior Lawyer in the Special Crime and Counter-Terrorism Division of the Crown Prosecution Service, added: “Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif deliberately and knowingly perverted the course of a cricket match for financial gain. Through their actions, they brought shame on the cricketing world, jeopardising the faith and admiration of cricket fans the world over. This prosecution shows that match fixing is not just unsportsmanlike but is a serious criminal act.”

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