Dubai: Dismayed after the testimony of Brendon McCullum in an anti-corruption case was leaked to the media, the ICC today launched an urgent investigation into the matter while insisting that the New Zealand cricketer was not under any suspicion. ICC Chief Executive David Richardson said the leak of McCullum's testimony was an extremely serious matter.
"We are taking all steps available to us to urgently investigate how certain information in the form of statements has come to find its way into the media, so that we can provide reassurances to the stakeholders within the sport so that they can continue to place their trust in the hands of the ACSU and the anti-corruption units of the respective Member Boards in protecting the integrity of the sport," he said in a statement.
"Of course, we recognise that this is a deeply concerning development for the stakeholders in the fight against corruption in the sport of cricket, and we wish to emphasise that Brendon McCullum is not under investigation in this matter," he asserted.
"While we have privately offered our full support to Brendon, we do so now publicly not only to confirm that, by assisting with the ACSU's enquiries, he has acted quite properly in accordance with his responsibilities as a professional cricketer, but also correct any misperception that he is somehow under suspicion," he added. rejecting aspersions being cast on McCullum, Richardson said the stumper-batsman deserves nothing but applause for coming forward and cooperating with the governing body.
"He is to be commended for his actions and we deeply regret that aspects of his statement are now in the public domain," Richardson said. International cricket was rocked by leaks of McCullum's testimony in which he admitted to being approached by a top player for match-fixing. The ICC was further embarrassed by reports emerging that a top ACSU official allegedly had links with an Indian bookmaker during this year's World Twenty20 in Bangladesh.
A Dhaka-based television channel 'Bangla Tribune' yesterday released audio tapes of an alleged conversation between an ICC ACSU's officer from India and an alleged bookie during the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh this year. The channel claimed that the bookie was arrested by Dhaka police but was later released on the request of the ICC ACSU officer, who told the officials that the former was his informer.
Answering a question on whether another New Zealand player Lou Vincent was under investigation for any corrupt practices, Richardson refused comment. "Other than to confirm, as is already public, that Lou Vincent has cooperated fully with the ASCU's investigators, it would not be appropriate for the ICC to comment on his position at this stage. Nor is the ICC in a position to identify any other individuals that may or may not have been interviewed as part of this, or any other investigation," he said.
Richardson said the ICC's Anti-Corruption and Security Unit (ACSU) was working well to ensure that cricket remained a clean sport. "The ACSU has a vast amount of experience within its team, all of which is directly relevant to the operations it conducts. In particular, the senior members of ACSU between them have over 140 years of extensive, proven experience in investigations, with expansive networks of contacts derived from working in law enforcement and regulatory agencies.
"ACSU has also developed strong links to local law enforcement and investigating agencies in the ICC's key territories. This means that the ACSU is able to tap into these resources and experience as and when required," Richardson said. "Further, ACSU has developed strong links with other forensic and non-governmental investigating agencies which again can be utilised where necessary.
This means that ACSU has available all the necessary experience and resources necessary to enable it to properly carry out its functions," he added Assuring all the stakeholders, Richardson said: "The ICC can confirm that it is doing absolutely everything in its power to fight the threat of corruption in the sport and it will continue to do so." We acknowledge that it is the single biggest threat to the viability and strength of the sport.
Those few unscrupulous individuals who choose to engage in corrupt practices threaten the very fabric, essence and integrity of a sport that is played honestly and fairly by the overwhelming majority of participants. "It is for this reason that the ICC has always had, and always will have, a zero tolerance approach to corruption in the game."