Cricketers to face 'cheat' charges
Three Pakistani cricketers who allegedly accepted cash to deliberately bowl no-balls during a Lord's Test match are to face court charged with cheating bookmakers.
Former captain Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer were questioned by Scotland Yard detectives over the alleged match-fixing scandal last August.
They will be charged with conspiring to cheat bookmakers, along with agent Mazhar Majeed, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said. Majeed is accused of accepting £150,000 to fix the actions of players.
All four men have also been charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, the CPS said. A fifth man, player Wahab Riaz, was also interviewed under caution but it is understood prosecutors did not consider bringing charges against him.
Majeed will appear before City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on March 17, with summonses for the three players issued for the same date.
Simon Clements, of the CPS, said: "These charges relate to allegations that Mr Majeed accepted money from a third party to arrange for the players to bowl 'no balls' on August 26 and 27 2010, during Pakistan's Fourth Test at Lord's Cricket Ground in London.
"Mr Majeed has been summonsed to appear for a first hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on March 17. Summonses for the same court date have been issued for the three players and they have been asked to return to this country voluntarily, as they agreed to do in September last year."
He said prosecutors would seek to extradite the players should they fail to return to the UK.
The CPS said it had been working closely with Scotland Yard since the allegations of match-fixing became public on August 29 last year. Mr Clements added: "We received a full file of evidence on December 7 2010, and we are satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute."
Accepting corrupt payments is an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 and carries a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment and an unlimited fine. Cheating is an offence under Section 42 of the Gambling Act 2005. It carries a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.