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(Updates with guilty verdict on bribery charge in first paragraph.)
Nov. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Two Pakistan cricket players were found guilty of conspiring to take bribes and cheat in a match against England last year at Lord’s ground in London.
Former captain Salman Butt conspired with fast bowler Mohammad Asif to bowl poorly in the match to affect gambling outcomes, the jury decided today after a three-week trial in London.
The crime was uncovered in a secret recording by a journalist at the now-defunct News of the World tabloid, who offered Butt’s agent, Mazhar Majeed, a 140,000-pound ($223,000) bribe. Majeed accepted the money so Butt would arrange for Asif and another player, Mohammad Amir, to bowl “no balls” on Aug. 26 and 27 last year during the fourth Test, prosecutors alleged.
Amir bowled two no balls and Asif bowled one at exactly the moments specified in the recording. Amir pleaded guilty before the trial of Butt and Asif began.
“It’s fair to say we wouldn’t be here today without investigative journalism,” Matthew Horne, detective chief superintendent for the Metropolitan Police, said after the verdict.
Butt’s lawyer, Ali Bajwa, said during the trial that the former captain “didn’t know anything of a conspiracy to bowl no balls” in the game against England. “He was not, and never would have allowed himself to become, a party to it,” he said.
Butt testified that playing for Pakistan was “the greatest honor of my life.” He said he earned a total of around 800,000 pounds in sponsorship and match fees between 2007 and 2010.
Bajwa and Asif’s lawyer, Robert Brown, declined to comment following the verdicts.
--With assistance from Christopher Scinta in London. Editors: Christopher Scinta, Anthony Aarons
To contact the reporters on this story: Lindsay Fortado in London at firstname.lastname@example.org; Tariq Panja in London at email@example.com
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