UK court finds Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif guilty, sentencing begins today

Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were convicted of fixing parts of a test match by a British court on Tuesday.

Updated: November 02, 2011 11:23 IST
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London: Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif were convicted of fixing parts of a test match by a British court on Tuesday.

A jury at London's Southwark Crown Court found former captain Butt guilty of both counts of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments as part of a betting scam. The sentences will be pronounced by the judge, Justice Cooke, on Wednesday and Thursday; both players will remain on bail until then.

Asif was found guilty of a single count of conspiracy to cheat and was charged with having accepted cash.

The 12 jurors were unanimous in their decision that both players were guilty of conspiracy to cheat, but could only reach a 10-2 verdict on the charge that Butt took money to do so.

Judge Jeremy Cooke ordered the jury, which had already spent a total 16 hours discussing its verdicts, to retire again to continue its efforts to reach at least a 10-2 majority decision on the second charge against Asif.

The 27-year-old Butt could face seven years in jail when the pair are sentenced later this week. The lesser charge of conspiracy to cheat carries a possible punishment of two years in prison.

Butt and Asif conspired with sports agent Mazhar Majeed to ensure the delivery of three intentional no-balls during the match against England in August 2010.

Butt, Asif and bowler Mohammad Amir have already received lengthy suspensions by an International Cricket Council anti-corruption tribunal in Doha for fixing parts of the Lord's test.

Butt was banned for 10 years, five of which are suspended, Amir was banned for five years and Asif was given a seven-year ban, with two suspended.

Cooke previously told the jurors to accept that Amir was involved.

The jury initially retired at midday Thursday but reported to Cooke on Monday that it was unable to reach a unanimous decision.

The allegations originally surfaced after Majeed was recorded by an undercover reporter working for the now-defunct News of the World tabloid saying that the three Pakistan players had accepted money to fix betting markets.

Majeed was secretly filmed accepting 150,000 pounds ($242,000) in cash from the journalist.

Butt said he had ignored the requests from Majeed, his agent, and the 28-year-old Asif — who reached No. 2 in the ICC's test bowling rankings the month before the Lord's test — said he had only bowled the no-ball at precisely the time Majeed said it would be delivered because Butt had told him to run faster moments before bowling.

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