Fashanu 'received pounds 800,000 in betting syndicate deals'

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The Independent Online
The television presenter and former Premier League footballer John Fashanu received up to pounds 800,000 in deals with the alleged representative of a Far Eastern betting syndicate, a court heard yesterday.

Christopher Vincent, a former business partner of the goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar, told Winchester Crown Court that Fashanu's payments were discussed after Grobbelaar had collected pounds 40,000 in an elephant-skin briefcase from the former striker for allegedly fixing a match between Liverpool and Newcastle.

Mr Vincent told the court: "When we were leaving ... Grobbelaar told me Fashanu had made somewhere between pounds 400,000 and pounds 800,000 doing business with 'the short man' ".

Giving evidence on the fourth day of the trial in which Fashanu, Grobbelaar and the former Wimbledon goalkeeper, Hans Segers, are accused of fixing matches, on which the syndicate betted, Mr Vincent said it was Fashanu who had introduced Grobbelaar to the Indonesian outfit.

"Mr Grobbelaar told me that he had been introduced to some men from the Far East by John Fashanu. They were prepared to pay him pounds 1,500-pounds 2,000 a week for predicting the outcome of football games."

Later, Grobbelaar told his fellow Zimbabwean that this had changed to fixing games - by ensuring Liverpool lost.

"I asked him how that was possible. He said he had been Liverpool's goalkeeper for 14 years and if he was standing a yard or a foot off his line, no one would know," said Mr Vincent.

Grobbelaar had told him he was unhappy about how much his club, Liverpool, paid him compared with new players such as Paul Stewart, and was particularly unhappy at his treatment by Liverpool's then manager, Graeme Souness.

Mr Vincent said apart from the pounds 40,000 paid to him at a north London address where Fashanu was present, he had been with the goalkeeper when he received payments of pounds 1,000, pounds 750 and pounds 500 from a man he knew as "the short man" - whom the prosecution say is the fourth defendant, Heng Lim, allegedly the Indonesian syndicate's UK representative.

On the first of these meetings, Grobbelaar and Mr Vincent had waited in the foyer of the Hilton Hotel at Manchester Airport when the short man came in and Grobbelaar said: "That's my man". Later, Mr Vincent said Grobbelaar had received pounds 1,000 in a brown envelope handed over in the gents toilet.

The court heard that Grob-belaar and Mr Vincent had become close friends after the goalkeeper invested pounds 65,000 in a safari and golf-trip companies but had fallen out when the safari company collapsed in summer, 1994.

Mr Vincent said that he then contacted the Sun newspaper, which arranged for him to meet Grobbelaar in a series of videotaped interviews with Mr Vincent, offering him the chance of a new match-fixing syndicate.

Grobbelaar, 38, Fashanu, 33, and Malaysian-born Lim, 31, all deny giving or receiving money in a corrupt conspiracy to influence the outcome of a foot- ball match or as a reward for doing so.

Fashanu, Lim and 34-year-old Segers deny a similar charge. Grobbelaar denies a separate charge of receiving pounds 2,000 as an inducement for influencing a football match.

Mr Vincent is at present in custody in connection with a charge on a separate matter.

The case continues.

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