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Match Fixing: Cops recover cash from players

London: The London police has recovered large quantities of cash from the rooms of Pakistani cricketers who are allegedly involved in match fixing in the fourth Test against England that ended on Sunday.

“Several Pakistani cricketers were found with large quantities of bank notes in their London hotel rooms by police investigating claims of a betting scam run by a middleman who boasted that he controlled up to seven players and could arrange for international matches to be fixed,” according to a report in The Independent here on Monday.

Mazhar Majeed, a 35-year-old British property developer and sports agent, was questioned by the Scotland Yard detectives on Sunday after he was caught accepting 150,000 pounds in a sting operation conducted by the News Of The World (NOTW) posing as a gambling syndicate. Reports suggested that Pakistan captain Salman Butt and wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal were also involved.

Scotland Yard detectives questioned Majeed about the allegations. Majeed was released on bail but will have to appear before police at a later date.

“The police investigation, which led to officers confiscating the mobile phones of three Pakistan players – including the team’s captain Salman Butt – in a late-night sweep on Saturday, raises the possibility of members of an international cricket team being arrested and facing prosecution in Britain before the tourists leave after the final game of their summer tour on September 22,” the report said.

The Scotland Yard team investigating the case took statements from Salman Butt, Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif and Kamran Akmal.

“The passports of the cricketers under investigation could be seized and that up to seven players could be questioned on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud. The rest of the squad could also be interviewed as potential witnesses,” media reports said.

Majeed was seen on film giving details of when three “no-balls” would be delivered by Amir and Asif during the Test match at Lord’s that ended on Sunday.

Television footage showed Amir, who was named the Pakistani Man of the Series, bowl two of the no-balls by stepping comfortably beyond the crease, prompting pundits to comment on the unusually clear nature of the infringements. But other events predicted by Majeed to the NOTW team, such as an over in which Butt would deliberately fail to score a run, failed to materialise.

“We are not delighted at the claims. The allegations are allegations. We are disappointed with them but we should still like to wait until the investigations are over. If anyone is found guilty, he will be punished,” Pakistan Team Manager Yawar Saeed said.

The NOTW earlier reported that Majeed got first involved with the Pakistan team in 2006 by setting up sponsorship deals in Britain for several players and took a “deposit” of 10,000 pounds in cash for distribution to players he allegedly controls.

The agent, who lives in a 1-million-pound house in Croydon, Surrey, said he used BlackBerry mobile phones to communicate with the cricketers.

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