Spot-fixing trial: 9,000 calls made by players and agent

More than 9,000 texts and phone calls were made and received in a crucial two week period by the key players in the spot-fixing conspiracy, a court heard today.

Jurors at the cricket corruption trial have been told of the heavy call and text traffic on the mobiles of players’ agent Mazhar Majeed, Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir, and Mohammad Asif.

The prosecution has claimed that the phone evidence before and after events were allegedly fixed proves the conspiracy between the accused players and agent.

Majeed’s phone also suggests he was in regular contact with other “fixers” in India, Dubai and within the UK – as well as the undercover News of the World journalist, the court has heard.

There were at least 70 suspicious calls and texts from Majeed to Butt, Amir and other alleged corrupt backers in India and the UK on the eve, and the first day of the Lord’s Test last year, when two allegedly deliberate no balls were bowled.

The jury have been presented with a large file of 9,000 calls and texts in total made over a two week period last August, many of which are highlighted as being significant to the prosecution case. The vast majority relate to Majeed.

Earlier, jurors heard about the payments made to the Pakistan players on tour in England.

As captain, Butt would receive cash payments of £1,050 a week in daily allowances, according to  Zakir Khan, Director of Cricket Operations at the Pakistan Cricket Board, who gave evidence to the court from Karachi, via video link.

Asif and the other squad members received £800 a week in cash.

All other payments – including the players’ £21,000-a-year basic contracts and match fees – were paid directly into their banks accounts in Pakistan.

The court has heard previously that police found £31,000 cash in the London hotel room of Butt.

It included £2,500 of the money given by the News of the World as a bung to Majeed, in secretly marked £50 notes. He claimed to police it was his allowance and endorsement’s money from his agent.

In Mohammad Amir’s room, police found £9,500 in four envelopes and a safe, including £1,500 of the News of the World money. He claimed the cash was his allowance on tour of £800 a week.

There was £8,000 found in Mohammad Asif’s room, kept in his rucksack. None of it was from the News of the World. Asif explained it was his daily allowance and some money he had for “wedding shopping”.

Asif and Butt deny accepting corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat. Majeed and Amir are not on trial at these proceedings. The case continues.

Follow RDJ Edwards in court on Twitter – @Cricketer_RDJ

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