London: Chris Cairns, the retired New Zealand international, was questioned about his work for a diamond trading company and the large sums of money he received from them prior to the third edition of the Indian Cricket League (ICL), on the second day of Cairns' libel action against former Indian Premier League (IPL) commissioner Lalit Modi.
Cairns is suing Modi over a 2010 tweet which claimed the former allrounder was involved in match-fixing during his time in the ICL as captain of Chandigarh Lions. Cairns had his contract terminated after three games of the third edition of the ICL, with his failure to disclose an injury the official reason given.
Modi's defence claims this was a cover-up, to obscure corruption allegations that had been made against Cairns. He has denied this but faced further question from Ronald Thwaites QC, representing Modi, about his financial situation in 2008, prior to the start of the third edition of the ICL in October.
Bank statements submitted to the court show that Cairns received two separate payments, totalling 600,000 Emirati Dirham (AED) ($160,000), into an account in Dubai, where he had set up home with his new wife. The payments, which were made in August and September of 2008, were for Cairns' involvement with Vijay Dimon - he had a verbal agreement to do promotional and sales work for the India-based diamond trader, which also has offices in Dubai and Antwerp.
Thwaites suggested that the transactions were bound to invite scrutiny and questioned the nature of Cairns' involvement with the diamond trade.
"You have drawn suspicion upon yourself," Thwaites said. "You must be aware that to take large payments immediately before a tournament in a country where match-fixing is rife invites suspicion?"
The initial payment, of more than 350,000 Emirati Dirham ($95,000), was for relocation costs, Cairns said, the rest being for appearances at dinners and events. A third payment, bringing the total Cairns received to 900,000 AED ($250,000), was made to the account in 2009, after which his association with Vijay Dimon continued only on an "occasional basis".
However, Thwaites said that the absence of a formal contract with Vijay Dimon "deepens the suspicion you bring upon yourself".
It was also revealed that after Cairns' departure from the ICL - but before Modi's January 2010 tweet - former Australia wicketkeeper Rod Marsh refused to sign a bat to be auctioned for charity that already bore Cairns' signature, as he did not want to be associated with the allrounder. Cairns accepted this but said he "had it out" with Marsh and that they had resolved their disagreement.
Cairns has previously admitted to being made aware of match-fixing allegations during a meeting with ICL officials. He said that the reason for his contract being terminated, however, was due an ankle injury. Following the October 26 meeting, Cairns said he called his lawyer and asked him to "shut down" the rumours about alleged corruption that had begun to circulate.