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10K To 15K Pounds Cash Found From Salman Butt's Hotel Room

Scotland Yard probing the Pakistan match-rigging scandal have found between £10,000 and £15,000 in cash in team captain Salman Butt's hotel room, News of the World reports. Sources confirmed that the seized banknotes WERE part
PTI September 05, 2010 9:01 IST
Scotland Yard probing the Pakistan match-rigging scandal have found between £10,000 and £15,000 in cash in team captain Salman Butt's hotel room, News of the World reports.

Sources confirmed that the seized banknotes WERE part of the £150,000 handed to cricket fixer Mazhar Majeed by a News of the World undercover team last week.

Smaller amounts were recovered from the rooms of Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif - who between them bowled three pre-arranged no-balls ordered by Majeed in the Lord's Test against England.

Cops are also trying to track down Swiss bank accounts Majeed claimed he opened for players to hide match-rigging money in our explosive revelations last Sunday.

The report said, ICC is  investigating a FOURTH player over match-fixing claims. The first three are already facing 23 charges from the ICC.

In the wake of NOTW exposé which rocked the sport, police armed with warrants swooped on the Pakistan team's hotel - the Marriot in Swiss Cottage, North London - and searched the rooms of Butt, Amir and Asif.

Officers even examined the changing room at Lord's used by the Pakistan team.

A source close to the investigation told NOTW: "Not all the money has been recovered. The cash seized is not a life-changing sum. It is more like pocket money for the players. Work is now going on to find out where the rest of the money has gone."

Police also searched the mansion of businessman and player's agent Majeed in Croydon, south London, after he told NOTW undercover team he has rigged past Test Match results and set up spot-fixes - arranging specific incidents in a game like no-balls and maiden overs that crooked betting syndicates can put money on.

Butt, Amir and Asif were all questioned at length by police under caution on Friday.

Detectives described the interviews as "very helpful" - but none have admitted involvement in the scam. Officers from Scotland Yard's Economic Specialist Crime team are looking closely at 35-year-old Majeed's claims that he secreted thousands of pounds in secret offshore accounts and laundered money through his football club, Croydon Athletic FC.

On tape during NOTW investigation he told the chief undercover man what happened to the ill-gotten gains he and his players raked in, saying: "You know I've got them even English bank accounts. I've opened them all Swiss bank accounts as well."

He said he had opened an account for Butt at the Clydesdale bank. Detectives are determined to hand the Crown Prosecution Service a file "as soon as possible".

The NOTW source said: "It is in no one's interest to drag this investigation out. The evidence already collected is substantial. There is work still being carried out but the criminal investigation is not expected to go on for months."

During a press conference at Lord's this week, ICC anti-corruption chief Sir Ronnie Flanagan said: "The conclusion that we have come to is that there is a really arguable case to answer." Now it has emerged that officials on the anti-corruption unit have already been probing one Pakistan player's background after information received in Dubai around a month ago. The supplied name was NOT that of Butt, Amir or Asif.

Meanwhile lawyers for the suspended players are insisting that the discovery of the cash in their hotel rooms "doesn't prove any wrongdoing". Pakistan Cricket Board legal adviser Taffazul Rizvi said: "Majeed is their marketing agent and the money recovered from players could be paid on sponsorship deals. It doesn't prove a crime."

But Pakistan's one-day captain Shahid Afridi apologised for the scandal engulfing his team. "I want to say sorry to all cricket lovers and all the cricketing nations," Afridi said as he prepared for today's Twenty20 clash against England in Cardiff.

"I know the people are very upset and it is very disappointing but we all love cricket."

Fixer Majeed, 35, was arrested last Saturday and bailed on Sunday after police received our damning dossier of evidence. On Sunday HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) also arrested Majeed, his wife Sheliza Manji and a 49-year-old man believed to be his brother on suspicion of money laundering.

They have been questioned and bailed pending further inquiries.