Fashanu 'in touch with betting ring'

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The Independent Online
The former professional footballer John Fashanu was in constant contact with a man accused of representing a Far Eastern syndicate betting on fixed football matches and shared a common interest in the game but was more concerned with business, a court was told yesterday.

Glynn Mason, an employee of Mr Fashanu, told Winchester Crown Court that the presenter of television's Gladiators concentrated most on his growing media and business career and had negotiated a contract with his club, Wimbledon, in which he did not have to train and received a fee for turning up at matches.

Mr Mason said Mr Fashanu and fellow defendant Heng Lim, known as Richard, often discussed football, adding: "Mr Fashanu isn't the best person to ask. Sometimes he wouldn't know who he was playing when he went to a match." Mr Fashanu had three businesses. One, Fash Enterprises, was for his television and newspaper work and appearances he made, another was a construction firm and the third, Blue Orchid, had been set up to promote football in Africa. The companies operated from Warm Seas House, Wellington Road, London, near Lord's cricket ground, and Mr Fashanu had a flat in the same block, he said.

In 1992-93 Mr Fashanu had a contract with a South African broadcasting company to predict the results of forthcoming English league matches, said Mr Mason. There would be a phone link to South Africa, a photograph of Mr Fashanu on screen, and Mr Fashanu would predict the results of games.

Questioned by Desmond de Silva QC for one of the defendants, Hans Segers, the former Wimbledon goalkeeper, Mr Mason said he had got to know a number of the players in a team known for their antics as the Crazy Gang - of which Mr Segers was a prominent member. The goalkeeper would sometimes act as a alibi for Mr Fashanu in his "romantic odyssey through life" and there would be telephone calls, sometimes late at night, so Mr Segers "could do his bit".

The prosecution claims the "pattern" of phone calls between the pair help show their involvement in alleged betting on thrown matches.

Mr Fashanu, 34, Mr Lim, 31, and Bruce Grobbelaar, 39, deny giving or receiving money in a conspiracy to throw matches. Mr Lim, Mr Fashanu and Mr Segers, 35, deny a similar charge. Mr Grobbelaar, now with Plymouth Argyle, denies another charge of accepting pounds 2,000 as an inducement or reward or throw a match.

The case continues.