Danish Kaneria found guilty over spot-fixing charges

 

Danish Kaneria has been found guilty of "cajoling and pressurising"
Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield to become involved in spot-fixing.

The England and Wales Cricket Board disciplinary panel found the Pakistani guilty on two charges, one of inducing and encouraging Westfield not to perform on his merits during a Pro 40 match for Essex against Durham in 2009, and one of bringing the game into disrepute. Westfield pleaded guilty to a charge of receiving a reward which could bring him or the game of cricket into disrepute.

The former Essex duo are expected to be sanctioned by the ECB later today.

Westfield was jailed for four months earlier this year after pleading guilty to spot-fixing at the Old Bailey in January.

A statement from the ECB read: "The ECB disciplinary panel today announced that Danish Kaneria has been found guilty of two charges under the ECB's regulations following a contested hearing which commenced in London on Monday, June 18.

"Mervyn Westfield was also charged with one offence under the ECB's regulations to which he pleaded guilty.

"The panel will now consider the appropriate sanction against both players and a decision is expected to be announced later today."

The ECB's disciplinary panel concluded that Kaneria acted as a recruiter for Anu Bhatt, who is described in the ECB's summary as "an Indian businessman who, prior to November 2007, had come to the notice of the Anti-Corruption & Security Unit (ACSU) of the International Cricket Council as allegedly being heavily involved in illegal betting".

They concluded that Kaneria approached "a number of potential targets" at Essex and that he introduced Bhatt to Westfield with the intention that Westfield should be recruited into spot-fixing.

The panel said Kaneria put pressure on Westfield, "well knowing that he was young and vulnerable", to get involved.

Kaneria had contested the two ECB charges and the 31-year-old was initially arrested in connection with the criminal case by Essex police but was later released without charge and denies any wrongdoing.

The Old Bailey judge in the Westfield case felt Kaneria had played a role.

In sentencing Westfield in February, Judge Anthony Morris said in his written judgment: "I accept such an approach was made to you (Westfield) by Kaneria. He had been warned in 2008 by the ICC over his connections with a bookmaker, who was involved in illegal betting markets. In addition, he had made similar approaches to other Essex players who had laughed them off as a joke."

The guilty verdicts come just a day after former Pakistan captain Salman Butt was released from a Canterbury prison after serving seven months of a 30-month sentence for his role in spot-fixing during the 2009 tour of England.

Butt was sent to jail along with Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, who have also both since been released after serving half their sentences, after they agreed to bowl no-balls to demand during a Test match at Lord's.

PA

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