Pakistan cricketers' trial: Australian 'rigging' claims

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Media captionThe News of the World's secret recording of Mazhar Majeed discussing match fixing

Australian and Pakistani cricket stars rigged their games, according to a cricket agent accused of taking bribes, a London court has been told.

At the corruption trial of former Pakistan captain Salman Butt and fast bowler Mohammad Asif, covert recordings were played of agent Mazhar Majeed speaking to an undercover journalist.

Mr Majeed said match fixing had been happening for years, and named players.

The Australians were "the biggest" when it came to fixing matches, he said.

'Very big money'

Prosecutors allege that Mr Majeed, from Croydon, south London, conspired with Mr Butt, 27, and Mr Asif, 28, to fix parts of the Lord's Test between England and Pakistan last August. The pair deny the charges.

At the trial, which began in Southwark Crown Court last week, Mr Majeed also boasted to News of the World undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood that he knew US and British actors and sportsmen who could lend some glamour to a proposed tournament.

Mr Mahmood was posing as a rich Indian businessman seeking major international players for a tournament. He appeared in court behind a screen on Monday.

He discussed match-fixing with Mr Majeed on 18 August last year.

Mr Majeed said in the recording of that meeting: "It's been happening for centuries. It's been happening for years. [Pakistani cricketers] Wasim, Waqar, Ijaz Ahmed, Moin Khan - they all did it."

He said Pakistan cricket players were paid "peanuts", with "very big money" to be made from match-fixing.

"I've been doing this with the Pakistani team now for about two-and-a-half years, and we've made masses and masses of money," he told the reporter.

"You can make absolute millions."

Image caption Two former Pakistan cricketers, Mohammed Asif and Salman Butt, are on trial

Australian allegations

Mr Majeed also said that Australian players would fix "brackets", a set period of a match on which punters bet, for example, how many runs will be scored.

"The Australians, they are the biggest. They have 10 brackets a game," he said in the tape played to the court.

He told Mr Mahmood it would cost between £50,000 and £80,000 for information about a bracket, £400,000 to fix the result of a 20-20 game, £450,000 for a one-day international and £1 million to rig the outcome of a Test match.

And he said it was the Pakistan cricketers who asked him to get involved in match-fixing: "I was friends with them for four or five years. And then they said this happens and I said 'really?' and I was so innocent of it."

At a meeting between Mr Majeed and the reporter on 19 August, he said he would arrange for two deliberate no-balls to be bowled by Pakistan players at the Oval Test match against England in return for £20,000.

'Pakistan will lose'

In the end the deliberate no-balls were not bowled during the Oval game, the court heard.

At that meeting, Mr Majeed also told the reporter that some of the Pakistani cricketers had agreed they would deliberately lose a forthcoming game, the court heard.

"We've got one result already planned, and that's coming within the next three-and-a-half weeks... Pakistan will lose," the agent said on the tape.

"You know as a cricket game, it goes backwards and forwards. It's your responsibility to put it on (place your bets) at the right time."

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.

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