Warne accuser in court

Published on Apr 15, 2004 07:49 PM IST

The woman who accused cricketer Shane Warne of sexual harassment has appeared in court on extortion charges after she allegedly tried to solicit money from a Warne associate.

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PTI | ByGavin du Venage, Johannesburg

The woman who accused cricketer Shane Warne of sexual harassment has appeared in court on extortion charges after she allegedly tried to solicit money from one of Warne's associates in return for her silence over the claims.

Helen Cohen Alon claimed last year that Warne had bombarded her with explicit SMS messages after they met in an upmarket Johannesburg clothing boutique.

A friend of Warne's, Gavin Varejes, met Cohen Alon and paid her $20,000 to keep quiet.

But she went public anyway because she claimed the payout was only half what she had requested.

Varejes started personal criminal prosecution charges against Cohen Alon last year, and since then she has kept a low profile and has not attempted to take her allegations further.

But Varejes's case against her will proceed and, if successful, Cohen Alon could face up to five years in prison.

Dressed in her trademark designer clothes and sunglasses, Cohen Alon arrived in court with a bodyguard in tow.

Her trial is expected to get under way in May.

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