Mazhar Majeed pleads guilty, blames former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt for fixing mess
Explosive claims about corruption in Pakistan's cricket team stunned a London courtroom yesterday as three guilty players and their agent spoke out on each other's roles as they awaited sentence.
Judge Jeremy Cooke was due to pass sentence on Pakistan's former Test captain Salman Butt, fast bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, plus their agent Mazhar Majeed, whose guilty plea can now be reported.
They could each be jailed for up to seven years for conspiring to accept corrupt payments and up to two years for conspiring to cheat by arranging deliberate no-balls in a case that has rocked a sport rooted in ideals of fair play.
With the four stood in the dock, their lawyers sent claims and counter-claims flying across the packed Court 4 at Southwark Crown Court.
The lawyer for Majeed, 36, pleaded in mitigation -- a submission which included a string of extraordinary claims about what was going on within the Pakistan team.
Accepting that his client was facing jail, he told the court of the agent's frustration at the "lies" the jury had heard from the defendants, the BBC reported.
The lawyer said Butt had approached Majeed in 2009 to get involved in fixing and that Butt and another player, who is not among the three in the dock, had taken him to a meal in March 2010 to push him into fixing.
Bad boys: Former Pakistan skipper Salman Butt (left) with bookie Mazhar Majeed in London last year. PIC/MiD DAY archives
He said Majeed was introduced to a mysterious bookmaker called Sanjay, who was running the racket.
Majeed claimed that of the �150,000 ($240,000, 175,000 euros) he received from an undercover newspaper reporter with the News of the World tabloid, Asif got �65,000 and Butt �10,000.
The judge then heard that Asif was given such a huge amount to keep him from joining another fixing racket. Lawyers for Butt and Asif dismissed the claims about the sums of cash.
Mazhar's lawyer said... >> Salman Butt approached Majeed in 2009 to get involved in fixing
>> Majeed was then introduced to a mysterious bookmaker called Sanjay, who was running the racket
>> Majeed handed �77,000 over to the Pakistan players
>> The distribution of the money was... �2,500 to Amir, �10,000 to Butt and �65,000 to Mohd Asif, who was paid more to guarantee that he remained loyal to the fixing racket within the team and was not persuaded to go elsewhere