Atapattu refutes cash claims

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The Independent Online

Marvan Atapattu has denied that the money found in his Kandy hotel room after the second of three Tests against England belonged to him.

Atapattu, the Sri Lanka one-day captain, chose to make public the denial after a local newspaper implied that the discovery of 1.1m rupees (£7,000) could be related to match-fixing. A member of the Earl's Regency hotel staff found the money after the Sri Lanka squad had checked out of the hotel a week ago yesterday, and informed the management.

Atapattu was made aware of the investigation into who the money belongs to by Thilanga Sumathipala, the president of Sri Lanka Cricket, on Saturday.

"I knew nothing about it, it could have got there by any means but I have not got a clue how," Atapattu said. "That sum of money belongs to someone who stayed there before or after me, it could be anyone's. I would not have that amount of money lying around."

The Sri Lanka team manager, Ajit Jayasekera, said the Sri Lankan cricket broad had encouraged the country's CID to find out exactly how the money had got into the room.

"There were several people who occupied that room afterwards and there were, of course, people there before the Sri Lanka team arrived," he said. "When I heard about this I was as concerned as the manager and so was the Sri Lankan cricket board so we wanted to come out and clear the air."

Atapattu did not bat in Sri Lanka's innings in the third Test here after receiving four stitches in a hand injury he sustained while fielding.