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Pakistan trio given court date for conspiracy trial

Mohammad Amir (left), Salman Butt (right) and Mohammad Asif (behind)
Mohammad Amir (left), Salman Butt (right) and Mohammad Asif (behind) all deny the charges against them

Former Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif have been committed for trial at Southwark Crown Court on conspiracy charges.

The trio appeared at Westminster Magistrates Court on Thursday and were given unconditional bail ahead of the hearing on 20 May.

The players are accused of cheating and conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments, charges they deny.

A fourth man, Mazhar Majeed, was bailed on condition he surrender his passport.

The charges relate to an alleged plot to deliberately bowl no balls in the fourth Test between England and Pakistan at Lord's last August.

District Judge Howard Riddle said: "There is no doubt the allegations are very serious and I know you recognize that."

All three players have already been banned by the International Cricket Council over the affair - Butt for 10 years, with five of them suspended, Mohammad Asif for seven years, and Amir five years - suspensions which they are in the process of challenging at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Although foreign nationals, the trio are entitled to apply for means-tested legal aid to pay towards the costs of their defence as they are facing charges brought by an English court.

BBC Sport understands one of them already has, and that the other two are considering following suit.

They were banned after the News of the World newspaper reported no balls were bowled at specific points in England's innings after a payment was made to a businessman.

Information on when no balls would occur in an innings could be exploited by gamblers betting on specialist markets offered by some bookmakers.

Accepting corrupt payments is an offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 and carries a maximum sentence of seven years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

Cheating is an offence under the Gambling Act 2005 and carries a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment and an unlimited fine.



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see also
Pakistan cricketers to fight bans
01 Mar 11 |  Pakistan
ICC opposes Butt TV pundit role
16 Feb 11 |  Pakistan
Pakistan board backs players' ban
07 Feb 11 |  Pakistan
Butt disappointed by cricket ban
06 Feb 11 |  Pakistan
Long bans for Pakistan cricketers
05 Feb 11 |  Pakistan
Butt 'baffled by agent accuracy'
06 Jan 11 |  Cricket


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