The tip off which triggered the spot-fixing scandal came from within the Pakistan team camp, it can be revealed.
Mazher Mahmood, the News of the World journalist who exposed the fixing racket, said that his anonymous source was a former member of the Pakistan cricket management team.
The reporter said in court he would never reveal the identity of his informant.
Mahmood, known as the Fake Sheikh, received the tip off in January 2010 – and took eight months to plan his sting on Mazhar Majeed and the ring of corrupt cricketers.
It is understood that the ICC received a tip off at the same time, and sources said the anti-corruption unit were still investigating the case when the tabloid sting emerged.
The Metropolitan Police had also received a tip off during last summer, but equally had not launched a full investigation by the time the tabloid broke the story.
Mahmood, known as the Fake Sheikh, admitted that he received a download of text messages from Majeed’s Blackberry phone – which provided damning evidence he was trying to rig games.
At the trial, Mahmood was accused of using illegal phone hacking to gain the information. He vehemently denied the claim and said that the material was downloaded in a legal manner by someone with authorisation to do so.
The case will be seen as a triumph for Mahmood, who has been the subject of several collapsed trials, and a final hurrah for the now defunct and disgraced News of the World.
In his opening speech, Aftab Jafferjee, QC, prosecuting, praised the publication.
“It was due to the efforts of a journalist with the News of the World that this pernicious and criminal activity was exposed,” he said. “Whatever views one might hold about that publication in light of relatively recent developments, this trial and the role of investigative journalism in this case … was to expose matters of national and international concern.
“Were this investigation not to have been permitted, this activity of fixing would almost certainly have continued – unabated and unaccountable – and beyond the reach of the law.”
The court heard that more than £100,000 of the News of the World money used in the sting had never been recovered.
However when the prosecution raised the issue of recovering the cash through a confiscation order, the judge, Mr Justice Cooke, said “there are better causes”.
Follow RDJ Edwards in court on Twitter – @Cricketer_RDJ