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Pak trio charged with corruption offences

London: British prosecutors have charged Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer with corruption offences and their extradition to the United Kingdom will be sought if they fail to return to this country voluntarily.

The three players along with their agent, Mazhar Majeed, are set to face charges of accepting corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat, for their alleged involvement in spot-fixing in the Lord”s Test during the team”s tour of England last summer.

Simon Clements, head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Special Crime Division, said: “We have decided that Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif, Salman Butt and their agent, Mazhar Majeed, should be charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments and also conspiracy to cheat.”

“These charges relate to allegations that Majeed accepted money from a third party to arrange for the players to bowl ”no balls” on 26 and 27 August 2010, during Pakistan”s fourth Test at Lord”s Cricket Ground in London,” Clements said yesterday.

“Majeed has been summoned 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. Their extradition will be sought should they fail to return.

“The Crown Prosecution Service has been working closely with the Metropolitan Police Service since the allegations of match-fixing became public on August 29 2010.

“We received a full file of evidence on December 7, 2010 and we are satisifed there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute.

“I would remind everyone that these men are entitled to a fair trial and should be regarded as innocent of these charges unless it is proven otherwise in court. The International Cricket Council tribunal is due to announce its decision, but criminal proceedings are active now.

“It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice the trial.”

The three players have been provisionally suspended by the ICC after English tabloid, ”News of the World”, claimed that Asif and Aamer bowled deliberate no-balls on the advice of then skipper Butt.

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