Salman Butt ‘corrupted by a love of money’

Salman Butt was “corrupted by a love of money” at the expense of the game of cricket, a court heard today.

The former captain admitted that he enjoyed the “luxuries of life” and that he had brought four designer watches and a mobile phone worth £28,000.

However he denied he was corrupted by greed, saying he was already one of the best paid sportsman in Pakistan.

In heated exchanges on the tenth day of the spot-fixing trial, Aftab Jafferjee, QC, prosecuting, repeatedly accused Butt of lying to the jury.

Mr Jafferjee described as “sick” Butt’s explanation that text messages he received from his agent about spot fixing were “dressed up as jokes”.

In two and a half hours of cross examination by Mr Jafferjee in front of a packed courtroom, Butt put his arms across his chest several times and angrily stared at the prosecutor, standing less than five yards away.

On one occasion he retorted that the lawyer did not fully understand cricket, and after being questioned about his bank accounts, he accused the prosecutor of “not knowing anything about the Muslim culture”.

Much of the cross examination focused on Butt’s finances.

The court heard that the former captain had brought four designer watches in two years. He hoped to buy another limited edition £8,000 Breitling timepiece in London during last year’s tour, to add to his collection of a £12,500 Rolex, a £5,500 Bulgari, a £4,000 Tag Heuer and a £3,000 Omega watch.

Asked if he “enjoyed the luxuries of life”, Butt replied “Yes”.

However the 27-year-old added that he saw watches as a good investment and that he would later sell them for profit. Butt said that he would also loan money to friends, and gave substantial amounts to his family, especially as his sisters prepared for their weddings.

Mr Jafferjee next asked why he had “cleared” out £115,000 from one of his bank accounts in Pakistan on September 3 – the day he arranged to be interviewed by police in London.

Butt answered that he had given the money to his mother so that she had easy access to it, because he was not sure when he would be allowed to return to Pakistan.

Mr Jafferjee suggested that he had transferred the money to hide it from investigators.

Butt said angrily: “That is a very bad presumption.  You know nothing about the Muslim culture.”

Focusing on his accounts, the prosecutor asked why the former captain why he had transferred £13,000 into Majeed’s bank during the Pakistan tour of England – given that the agent was a wealthy person who drove an Aston Martin.

Butt said that his “good friend” had said he needed the money urgently because his diabetic wife had gone into hospital.

“It’s the first time that he ever asked me for a favour like this. I knew that he’s a well-off person and so I had no problem transferring it, so I did it,” Butt said.

Mr Jafferjee replied: “You are lying to the court, Mr Butt.”

The cricketer retorted: “That’s what you think, and I cannot stop you thinking”.

Jafferjee said that the sponsorship contracts that the player had with Majeed were “not worth the paper they were written on” and suggested that the money he received from the agent was only from fixing.

“Your relationship was far more deep and corrupt – that’s where you are getting your money from,” the prosecutor said.

The court heard that Butt was promised more money for apparently cutting a ribbon to open an ice cream parlour for Majeed, than he did from a sponsorship contract the agent had arranged with Adidas.

The cross examination had earlier  focused on the police raid on Butt’s hotel room, in which £2,500 of “bung” money from the News of the World was found inside his suitcase. He admitted he was given the money by his agent but claimed that he thought it was for opening the ice cream shop in Tooting.

Jurors have been told that when police raided the hotel room, Butt said to officers that his wife had the keys to the suitcase, which contained all his money.

However Butt was forced to admit he had accessed the bag after his wife had flown home, to put inside the £2,500 given to him during the Lord’s Test.

Mr Jafferjee said that he was deliberately “stalling” the officers because he feared what they would find in the suitcase.

Mr Butt replied: “You can say what you like. I think a person is more concerned with what he is, than what is with him.”

Butt was also questioned about evidence from Pakistan’s security chief, Major Najun, who said that the former captain and Majeed were seen together at almost every team hotel.

The court heard that the brother of the “fixer”, Azhar Majeed, also a players’ agent, was found after midnight in a hotel room with players including Butt and Kamran Akmal before the Oval Test – breaking the rules of the players’ code of conduct.

Mr Jafferjee suggested that “Azhar is also up to match fixing”.

Butt said that he was only chatting with Azhar briefly, and questioned the Major’s evidence, saying “I don’t know what time it was”.

Mr Jafferjee said: “Spell it out Mr Butt, are you saying the Major is making it up?”

Butt replied: “Maybe”.

The dramatic day in court finished with Butt being asked about his contact with Majeed in the months running up to the Lord’s Test match. It was alleged a series of texts and calls between the pair prove they were in the conspiracy together.

Butt said that the fixing texts were “dressed up as jokes” and he ignored them.

Asked about messages which show Majeed was trying to fix the deliberate fall of Pakistan wickets during a crucial match against Sri Lanka at the T20 World Cup in the West Indies, Butt said: “He might have been taking a chance, but I’m not interested in what he wants, so I didn’t get back to him.”

Butt later confronted Majeed about the messages and said that the agent had replied he was just “testing” him to check if he was corrupt.

Mr Jafferjee accused Butt of lying to the jury again. The cross examination will continue tomorrow.

Follow RDJ Edwards in court on Twitter – @Cricketer_RDJ

View all previous trial articles

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