Pakistan’s Butt and Asif guilty of spot-fixing

Former Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt and fast bowler Mohammad Asif were found guilty on Tuesday of involvement in a “spot-fixing” betting scam during a match against England last year.

Butt (27) was convicted at Southwark Crown Court of conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat at gambling, while Asif (28) was found guilty of conspiracy to cheat.

Prosecutors alleged that they conspired with British agent Mazher Majeed and fast bowler Mohammad Aamer to deliver three intentional no-balls during the Lord’s Test between Pakistan and England in August 2010.

The pair were charged after allegations about their involvement in spot-fixing appeared in the now-defunct News of the World tabloid, owned by Australian-born media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, shortly after the Lord’s Test.

Butt and Asif had both pleaded not guilty.

They sat in silence in the dock as the jury delivered their verdicts after spending nearly 17 hours in deliberations over four days at court during which the judge said he was prepared to accept a 10-2 majority verdict.

The jury have not yet decided whether Asif is guilty of the second charge of conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments.

The pair could face jail sentences of up to seven years.

Majeed (36) and Aamer (19) were also charged with the same offences but were not standing trial alongside Butt and Asif.

During the three-week trial the jury heard that vast sums of money could be made by rigging games for betting syndicates, particularly in South Asia, and that the problem was threatening the game of cricket.

Mazher Mahmood, News of the World‘s former investigations editor, known as the “fake sheikh” for his disguises, told the court he had approached Majeed pretending to be an Indian businessman.

Majeed claimed he had at least six Pakistani players working for him and that it would cost between £50 000 and £80 000 to fix a “bracket” — where bets are made on incidents during a given period of play.

But the cost of rigging a result was far more, at £400 000 for a Twenty20, £450 000 for a one-day international and £1-million for Test matches, Majeed allegedly told the reporter.

The agent was secretly filmed accepting £150 000 in cash from the journalist as part of an arrangement to bowl the no-balls and recorded allegedly making arrangements with Butt for the no balls.

Butt told the court that he had ignored his agent’s requests to fix games and had no knowledge of the plan to bowl no balls while admitting that he had failed in his duty to inform cricketing authorities of Majeed’s approach.

Asif said he had bowled a no ball at the exact time the agent had predicted to the News of the World journalist because Butt had told him to run faster moments before his delivery. — AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Danny Kemp
Danny Kemp
The Hague bureau chief, @AFP. Ex-Brussels, London, Paris, Bangkok, Islamabad and Hong Kong
Advertisting

Stella set to retain her perks

Communication minister will keep Cabinet perks during her two months of special leave

Not a sweet deal, Mister

Mister Sweet workers say they will not risk their health, and the lives of others, to continue producing and packaging confectionaries

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Press Releases

Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college introduces no-touch facial recognition access system

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and biometrics

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world