Pakistan's Butt and Asif convicted in spot-fixing trial

Last Updated: Tue, Nov 01, 2011 12:59 hrs

London: Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were found guilty on Tuesday of fixing part of a Test match against England last year.

Former captain Butt and opening bowler Asif were convicted of conspiracy to cheat at London's Southwark Crown Court, the Press Association reported.

The jurors also found Butt guilty of conspiracy to accept corrupt payments but have not yet reached a verdict on whether Asif was guilty of the same charge.

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Butt now faces up to seven years in jail or a fine.

The court heard how they plotted to bowl deliberate no-balls in the Lord's Test in August last year.

The pair were charged after an undercover reporter recorded sports agent Mazhar Majeed, 36, boasting of how he could arrange for Pakistan players to rig games for money.

Over three weeks of evidence, the jury heard that there are huge sums to be made by fixing cricket matches for gambling syndicates.

The allegations emerged after Mazher Mahmood, a journalist with the now defunct News of the World newspaper, approached Majeed in August last year pretending to be a wealthy Indian businessman seeking international cricketers for a tournament.

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Majeed claimed he had been carrying out match-fixing for 2-1/2 years, had seven players from Pakistan's national side working for him, and had made "masses and masses of money."

The agent was secretly filmed accepting 150,000 pounds in cash from the journalist as part of an arrangement to rig games.

Prosecutors said Butt and Asif conspired with Majeed and Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir, 19, to deliver three intentional no-balls during the test.

Butt and Asif both denied the charges. Butt told the court that Majeed asked him to become involved in fixing, but said he ignored the agent's requests and knew nothing about the alleged agreement to deliver no-balls at pre-arranged times.

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