Salman Butt, the former Pakistan captain, arranged for $181,000 (£115,000) to be transferred from his account to one in his mother's name on the day he was interviewed by police in this country over allegations of spot-fixing, a court heard yesterday.
Butt yesterday endured a gruelling day of cross examination at Southwark Crown Court, his second in the witness box, in which he twice denied accusations of lying to the jury, was accused of "being corrupted by the love of money at the expense of the game" and of a row in a hotel corridor after midnight with Pakistan's security officer over the presence of a former agent in one of the players' rooms days before last year's third Test against England at the Oval.
Butt and his team-mate Mohammad Asif are charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments and conspiracy to cheat, which carry maximum sentences of seven and two years' imprisonment respectively, for allegedly spot-fixing – deliberately bowling no-balls at pre-arranged moments – during the fourth Test against England at Lord's last year. Both deny the charges.
Butt and Asif voluntarily attended an interview with detectives investigating allegations that had become public following a News of the World story, published the previous Sunday, claiming that Butt, Asif and Mohammad Amir, who opened the bowling with Asif, had delivered three no-balls at pre-arranged times at the request of Mazhar Majeed, their agent, in return for cash.
Aftab Jafferjee, QC for the prosecution, yesterday told the court that on 3 September, 2010, the day of the interview, Butt had moved the entirety of a dollar account in Pakistan to his mother's account. Asked why, Butt said it was because he did not know how long he would be in Britain for and to provide "ease of access" to the money for his mother while he was away. Butt said it was coincidence that it happened on the day of the police interview. "It might have happened on the day of the interview, but it was not aimed to happen on the day of the interview," said Butt.
Later in his cross-examination Mr Jafferjee asked Butt about an incident in a London hotel shortly before the Oval Test against England. Azhar Majeed, a former agent and brother of Mazhar, who the prosecution allege has also been involved in seeking to fix games, was discovered by Major Khwaja Najam Javed, Pakistan's security officer, in Wahab Riaz's room after midnight. According to the team's regulations for the tour, players were not allowed to have anyone in their room after 10pm. Butt and Kamran Akmal, the vice-captain and another client of Mazhar's, were also in the room. Butt said Javed, who he had earlier referred to as "Major 007", was pushing Azhar and asked Javed to come into the corridor to try and resolve the matter.
Butt, during earlier questioning by Mr Jafferjee, admitted that after Majeed had sent him a series of texts during the World Twenty20 Cup in the Caribbean in April, 2010 he had become "slightly suspicious of [Majeed]". After Butt's explanation of the texts before Pakistan's game against South Africa that referred to events happening in the seventh and eighth overs, Mr Jafferjee said to him: "You are lying to the jury." Butt replied: "That's what you think." Mr Jafferjee repeated his statement and Butt gave the same reply.
Earlier Butt had described how he had "misjudged" Majeed, who he had thought of as a "good friend". "I thought I knew him well," said Butt. "I misjudged him. I took his world and trusted him. I never thought there would be another side to him."
During cross-examination by Alexander Milne, QC for Asif, Butt was asked whether he had said in Punjabi to Asif before one of the alleged deliberate no-balls in the Lord's Test, "Run faster, fucker, you're running too slow." Butt replied that was the first he had heard of it.
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