Revealed: My life with a match-fixer, by Lou Vincent's ex-wife

New Zealander's former spouse has comprehensively outlined to ICC investigators all the tension, fear and money runs to a Birmingham laundrette involved in crooked cricket
Click to follow
The Independent Online

The fear and agony experienced by a match-fixer's family has been laid bare. In her gripping testimony to the International Cricket Council, Eleanor Riley, the former wife of the self-confessed fixer, Lou Vincent, told of chilling incidents which she said occurred during their time together.

In a 10-page account given to the ICC anti-corruption unit, Riley paints a picture of how grim and uncertain life can become once a player becomes involved. "I was scared when he was away because of the sort of people he was dealing with and with that sort of money," her statement says.

When she told Vincent of her fears, "he would just laugh and tell me not to be worried but I was locking the doors every night.

"It's a very dark world and with so much money involved I was really worried. Lou would also bring little gifts back for the children, like clothing or necklaces, and whoever it was he was talking and doing their fixing for would give him these."

Elly, as she is known, met Vincent in 2004 and the pair married in July 2006. After having two children they separated in 2009 and were divorced two years ago. According to her statement to investigators last October, which was leaked in New Zealand today, Vincent first became involved in match-fixing when he went to play in the Indian Cricket League in 2008.

The ICL, the first of the big-money Twenty20 leagues, lasted only two seasons before it was brushed aside by the Indian Premier League.

Riley's statement says that Vincent was initially approached by his team captain, a fellow New Zealander, Chris Cairns, to help fix matches. Cairns, who has consistently denied all allegations against him and who has won one libel action against the Indian former administrator, Lalit Modi, over a tweet, again forcefully denied any involvement. He said dark forces were at work and that allegations against him were a complete lie.

But whoever was doing what, it is clear that Elly Vincent, as she then was, was caught up in a grotesque sequence of events which were not of her making. She recalls two specific incidents when she believes she saw money which had come from match-fixing.

"Lou would do something, like say he had to go to Birmingham to sort something about his visa as he had to go back to India to play, and the next thing that I knew he'd come back and tell me that he'd gone to a launderette in Birmingham to collect the money. That was one occasion."

The next time it happened, she says, she was with Vincent. It seems to have brought home to her what being a match-fixer involved and what the repercussions could be.

"I was in the car with him when he drove to Birmingham to pick up some money," the account says. "I remember that when Lou parked the car and got out I just sat in the car and put the hoodie over my head because I was so worried and scared.

"On this occasion Lou went into a launderette so I believe this was probably the same place that he had gone to before. I can't remember where the launderette was. Lou came out with a black ruck bag and the cash was in that."

Specific amounts of money are mentioned only fleetingly but Riley details an occasion when she says Vincent claimed to have been owed $250,000 by Cairns, "but Chris was never going to pay him. Lou said that Chris was going to pay him $50,000 a game for the fixing but I don't know whether that was right or not."

Riley, who has remarried, claims that Vincent displayed his own fears occasionally. According to her statement, when he was at Sussex in 2011 he approached a player about fixing and was rebuffed. She was visiting with their children at the time and recalls: "Lou came to me in a panic about it as the player had turned him down and had said that he was going to report it to the management. Lou said they would start an investigation and he didn't know what to do."

Her last awareness of Vincent's alleged schemes seems to have been in 2012 when the couple was already divorced. She claims Vincent phoned her and asked her to pick up some money for him, £9,000 to £10,000. "He told me he's sold the bus that he had been using to travel round the UK and the guy who bought it had some money to give me. I said to Lou that I thought he intended to keep the bus and Lou replied 'Elly you know what I mean' and immediately I realised the money was related to match-fixing."

She refused to go to the pick-up point although she received text messages from the man Vincent wanted her to meet, known as Bawa. He called her after texting but she said she could not speak to him.

The statement says: "I was angry that I'd been asked to do this because you don't know who you're dealing with. I've got children and I don't want to be driving to dodgy car parks to pick up cash."

Other players are named in the document. She alleges that one was deeply involved and that another rebuffed Vincent immediately. She says that Vincent continued match-fixing activities on his own after Cairns left the scene at the demise of the ICL.

Vincent, like other alleged fixers who believe they have a short, underpaid shelf-life, wanted more than the game had given him, according to his ex-wife. Riley's statement says: "I can say that Lou felt New Zealand cricket had let him down. He felt that he didn't owe them anything. He said that New Zealand had picked him, dropped him, picked him, dropped him, paid him shit money and so now this was his chance in the years he had left to make as much cash as he could."

Timeline: How cricket's latest scandal unfolded

Thursday It is revealed that former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent informed the ICC details of matches targeted for spot-fixing and players involved.

Friday Englishman said to be among 12 players identified by ICC on suspicion of match-fixing. T20 match between Lancashire and Durham from 2008 and two Sussex games under suspicion.

Monday NZ captain Brendon McCullum reveals approaches to fix matches to the ICC, including offers of up to £100,000.

Tuesday The former New Zealand international Chris Cairns denies he was the player who made approaches to Vincent and McCullum.