The agent accused of running a spot-fixing racket claimed to have been involved in ball tampering as well, a court heard today.
On the fifth day of the cricket corruption trial, jurors were told of an extraordinary series of claims and boasts made by Mazhar Majeed to an undercover journalist.
He said that he would “sometimes” run on to the pitch at drinks’ breaks with a lump of Vaseline on his hand, which could then be applied to the ball.
Majeed claimed it helped when Pakistan were struggling to take wickets in a game, and showed the reporter how he would shake hands with a player to transfer the Vaseline to them. But he did not specify when it had occurred.
“These are the secrets that nobody really knows,” he said.
Mazher Mahmood, the News of the World journalist, who was being cross examined by defence lawyers at court today, admitted that Majeed also did a “fantastic” amount of namedropping at various stages of their 15 phone calls and five meetings.
The agent claimed to be “very close” to Imran Khan, Bob Woolmer and Shoaib Akhtar. Previously he said he was friends with Brad Pitt and Roger Federer. He also claimed to have set up a £12 million book deal for footballer Rio Ferdinand, a series of football academies with Arsenal and Republic of Ireland footballer Liam Brady, as well as funding an Oscar winning Palestinian film.
Ali Bajwa, QC, defending Salman Butt, said that Majeed made many “derogatory comments” which gave an indication of the “measure of his character”.
Amongst his targets were David Gower, the Pakistan chairman Ijaz Butt – whom he described as “senile” – and even the President of Pakistan, Asif Zardari.
“Everyone knows killed his wife,” he said, in a transcript read to the court.
Later, the jury heard from an ICC witness that no evidence had ever been found of Majeed being involved in ball tampering, or running on to the field of play in a Pakistan international.
Alan Peacock, a senior corruption investigator, also said there was no evidence that Australian cricketers had been involved in spot-fixing last year, which the court heard yesterday Majeed had also claimed.
Meanwhile dramatic video footage of the alleged “fixer” accepting a £140,000 bung was played before the jury today.
Majeed was seen counting out bundles of £50 notes, after telling an undercover reporter exactly when deliberate no-balls would be bowled in the Lord’s Test match last year.
In footage secretly recorded by the News of the World, Majeed piled the cash on a table in front of him, arranging it into three lines, and then counted a bundle of £2,500, note-by-note.
He later turned to the journalist, who was posing as a corrupt Indian businessman, and said: “I’m telling you, if you play this right you’re going to make a lot of money, believe me.”
The bung was given to the agent on the night before the Lord’s Test at the Copthorne Hotel in Kensington, London.
Southwark Crown Court was then played footage from the cricket the next day, when the no-balls were bowled by Pakistan’s opening bowlers, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif – exactly as described by Majeed.
Asif and Butt deny cheating and accepting corrupt payments. Amir and Majeed are not on trial at these proceedings. The case continues.
|See the secret footage of Majeed taking the
£140,000 bung, which was shown in court today
Follow RDJ Edwards in court on Twitter – @Cricketer_RDJ