- 11-03-2011, 10:54 AM #1
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Sports News: Sport Fixing Case Asif, Butt, Amir and Majeed Face Jail Terms
Former Pakistan cricket captain Salman Butt has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for spot-fixing in a Test match against England last year. Bookie Mazhar Majeed has been sentenced to 32 months in jail.
Fast bowler Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir have been handed one-year and six-month jail terms respectively.
The cricketers was convicted earlier this week by a London court, which found him guilty of conspiracy to accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat. It found his team-mate and fast bowler Mohammad Asif guilty of conspiracy to cheat. Also in the dock is a third Pakistani cricketer Mohammad Amir.
Today the judge said that the charges were so serious that only a prison term would suffice. He said the integrity of cricket had been damaged and held Majeed's corruption far wider than no-balls.
On Tuesday, 12 jurors unanimously found the two players guilty of conspiracy to cheat. But they took 17 hours to return a 10-2 majority verdict - after the judge said he would allow one - on the charge that that Butt took money to have no-balls bowled during a certain part of the fourth cricket Test against England at Lord's in August 2010. The jury was hung on that charge against Asif, who bowled the three no balls.
Butt and Asif have been accused of conspiring with sports agent Mazhar Majeed to ensure the delivery of three no-balls during the match against England. A third player, Mohammad Amir, had pleaded guilty before trial began. The allegations surfaced first after a sting operation by an undercover reporter working for the News of the World tabloid, now shut down, saying that the three Pakistan players had accepted money to fix betting markets. Majeed was secretly filmed accepting 150,000 pounds ($242,000) in cash from the journalist.
AFP adds: Wednesday saw a stunned courtroom listen as the three guilty players and the agent spoke out on each other's roles.Â The four stood in the dock, their lawyers sent claims and counter-claims flying across the packed Court 4 at Southwark Crown Court.
Butt, 27, who became a father on Tuesday for the second time just 30 minutes before being found guilty, watched as his lawyer said he admitted his career was over and he stood to lose his family.
The lawyer for Majeed, 36, pleaded in mitigation -- a submission which included a string of extraordinary claims about what was going on within the Pakistan team.
Accepting that his client was facing jail, he told the court of the agent's frustration at the "lies" the jury had heard from the defendants. The lawyer said Butt had approached Majeed in 2009 to get involved in fixing and that Butt and another player, who is not among the three in the dock, had taken him to a meal in March 2010 to push him into fixing.
He said Majeed was introduced to a mysterious bookmaker called Sanjay, who was running the racket.
Majeed claimed that of the Â£150,000 ($240,000, 175,000 euros) he received from an undercover newspaper reporter with the News of the World tabloid, Asif got Â£65,000 and Butt Â£10,000.
The judge then heard that Asif was given such a huge amount to keep him from joining another fixing racket.
Lawyers for Butt and Asif dismissed the claims about the sums of cash.
Cooke also dismissed claims that Amir was only involved in one episode of spot-fixing.
He said that text messages sent from murky contacts in Pakistan suggested that the talented youngster was also implicated in fixing during the preceding Test at The Oval.
Amir claimed he was being leant upon and feared for his future in the national side if he did not take part in the conspiracy.
"I refuse to accept that basis of plea on the material I have seen," Cooke said.
"There are certainly texts and the like which suggest that Amir's first and only involvement was not limited to Lord's, it was not an isolated and one-off event," Cooke said.
Butt, Asif and bowler Mohammad Amir have already received lengthy suspensions by an International Cricket Council anti-corruption tribunal in Doha for fixing parts of the Lord's Test.
Butt was banned for 10 years, five of which are suspended; Amir was banned for five years and Asif was given a seven-year ban, with two of those suspended.
Former Pakistan captains have,Â meanwhile, urged the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to act immediately to save future players from corruption.
"We desperately need to save our future generations after what happened to Butt, Asif and Aamer," Rashid Latif, who blew the whistle on match-fixing in 1995, told AFP.
"We have not done enough in the past and that's what we are paying for."
Fellow former skipper Aamer Sohail said the PCB had to be more pro-active.
"The PCB should have played a more pro-active role last year... brought the players back to Pakistan immediately and tried them under our code of conduct," he said.
Source: Spot-fixing: Asif, Butt, Amir and Majeed face jail terms | News | NDTVSports.com
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