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NOTW publishes conversations between reporter and Majeed

Skeletons continue to tumble out in the spot-fixing saga with British tabloid News of the World revealing details of the conversations between alleged fixer Mazhar Majeed and their undercover reporter during the sting operations.

world Updated: Sep 05, 2010 15:06 IST

Skeletons continue to tumble out in the spot-fixing saga with British tabloid News of the World revealing details of the conversations between alleged fixer Mazhar Majeed and their undercover reporter during the sting operations.

A report published in the paper said the reporter Mazher Mahmood got the tip-off in January this year when a former member of the Pakistan cricket management team told him that the England vs Pakistan series would be rigged.

He also got Mazhar Majeed's name in January and was told that he was the fixer for the Test series in England.

However, the first meeting between the reporter and Majeed took place at the Park Lane Hilton on August 16, the report said.

"In the plush hotel's Podium restaurant, our team explain they are representing a business group interested in launching a new cricket tournament - and we need Majeed's help to bring in the stars.

"The smooth fixer instantly pounces, boasting about his links to the Pakistan team. He asks if we will put up a 'million dollars' in prize money for the tournament and adds: All the players would be up for that. Then not only will they come to play, they actually come to win," the report said.

The reporter then asked him to have "a word" with the Pakistani players, mentioning the possibility of betting, to which Majeed replied: "They're cool, they're cool".

Asked if two or three players can be for the betting side, Majeed said, "There's more than two or three. Believe me. It's already set up. That's already there."

After the hour-long meeting, Majeed arranged for a second meeting at a restaurant at Bombay Brasserie on August 18, the report claimed.

During the meeting, Majeed opened up more about his deep involvement in match-fixing and called Pakistan captain Salman Butt on his mobile to check possible dates for the proposed tournament.

Later Majeed had a "secret chat" with the reporter in the latter's car, where he spilled the bean on match-fixing.

The report gave a detailed list of conversation that took place between their undercover reporter and Majeed.

During the conversation, Majeed said, "There is very big money" in match-fixing and that he "has been doing it with the Pakistani team for about two and a half years."

Majeed said they have "made masses and masses amounts of money and that he "deals with an Indian party and they pay him for the information."

Majeed also went on to give him examples to explain the reporter about the modus operandi of the whole business of fixing.

The tabloid also revealed how the ICC was now probing a fourth Pakistan touring player over "match-rigging claims". The newspaper did not name the player for legal reasons.

"The three suspended Pakistan players face a staggering 23 ICC charges between them - each charge runs to six pages... Pakistan Test captain Salman Butt was warned five times about his responsibilities to report any irregular contact with outside agencies," it said.

The ICC said it would appoint an independent commissioner to look into the charges and any action would be taken on recommendation of the appointed commissioner.

ICC president Sharad Pawar said the governing body has not yet punished any of the three Pakistan players allegedly involved in spot-fixing and the trio have an opportunity to put their side of story.

"We have not punished anybody yet. We have to send a notice to that particular player but that notice is not a final decision. It is a means of giving him (player) an opportunity to explain his position," Pawar told PTI in New York.

"This is not an action (the suspension), this is a sort of notice to them and an opportunity to explain. If he is not guilty then certainly he has the right to put his views," Pawar said.

The tabloid reported that Hameed provided a "devastating insight into the shady world of betting scams" and added that he refused bribes of up to 150,000 pounds from a corrupt bookmaker to throw matches.

Hameed claimed he lost his place in the team because of this refusal, while his corrupt colleagues reportedly splashed money on plush properties and expensive sports cars.

He spoke to the tabloid's undercover reporter in a Nottingham hotel, it said.

"It makes me angry because I'm playing my best and they are trying to lose. The guys that have got done have got themselves killed. They're gone - forget about them," Hameed said about the trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Amer and Mohammad Asif.

Hameed said Asif, who has played around 50 matches, has built four mansions.

"Where did they come from? He has just built a house in Italian style in Lahore. You go there and you will think you are in Italy - that's how good his house is."

"It's because of all these wrong things that I was ousted, because I wouldn't get involved," the Pakistan opener said.

"I've met lots of people like that in the past and I refused. They offered me handsome money."

"They give you so much money that you can live out your dreams, buy a flash car. I've been offered huge amounts of money, up to 150,000 pounds," the cricketer said.

First Published: Sep 05, 2010 15:03 IST