Match-fixing scandal rocks Bangladesh before World T20

Lou Vincent celebrates their win during the HRV Cup Twenty20 match between the Auckland Aces and the Central Stags at Eden Park on January 15, 2013 in Auckland, New Zealand. (GETTY)

Bangladesh has been rocked by match-fixing scandal ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 next month after three international cricketers pleaded guilty.

A special tribunal convicted one of the owners of the Dhaka Gladiators Wednesday of match-fixing in the tainted Bangladesh Premier League, officials said.

Shihab Jishan Chowdhury, managing director of the reigning BPL champions, was found guilty of one charge of "being a party to an effort to fix the Chittagong match", the tribunal said.

New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent, Sri Lankan Kaushal Lokuarachchi and former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful all admitted guilt over their roles in the scandal.

"Vincent, Lokuarachchi and Ashraful have already pleaded guilty," Shakil Kasem, a member of Bangladesh Cricket Board's three-member Anti-Corruption Tribunal told AFP.

"We're going to review their guilty pleas, deliberate on that and come up with sanctions within two weeks."

Kasem added the sentence against Chowdhury will also be delivered in two weeks.

Vincent confirmed Thursday that he failed to tell authorities when a bookmaker approached him about fixing a match in Bangladesh, but said that was the extent of any wrongdoing.

Thirty-five-year old batsman Vincent played for the Khulna Royals in the BPL. He represented the Kiwis in 23 Tests and 109 one-day internationals.

Lokuarachchi, 31, played four Tests and 21 one-dayers for Sri Lanka.

Nine people were named in the scandal, including seven who have been charged with match-fixing offences, and two others charged with failing to comply with their obligation to report corruption.

Ashraful was allegedly involved in fixing a match between the Dhaka Gladiators and the Chittagong Kings.

Local media have reported that the batsman was paid about one million taka ($12,800) to lose the match on February 2.

Ashraful, who became the country's youngest Test centurion in 2001 at the age of 17, was also allegedly involved in fixing another match 10 days later against the Barisal Burners, which his team lost by seven wickets, local reports have said.

Vincent said he had pleaded guilty to breaching the International Cricket Council's (ICC) anti-corruption code by not reporting the approach while playing in the scandal-tainted Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) last year.

"I confirm I rejected this approach at the time. There is no allegation or suggestion that anything untoward occurred beyond the approach itself," Vincent said in a statement.

The 35-year-old, who played in 23 Tests and 102 one-day internationals for New Zealand, added: "I have no involvement in any of the matches, or matters involving the other parties which were the subject of recent hearings and investigation in Bangladesh."

In a joint statement, the International Cricket Council (ICC) and the Bangladesh Cricket Board (BCB) said they "are surprised and obviously disappointed with the outcome".

"Both organisations await the Tribunal's detailed written determination setting out the reasons for the outcome, which will be provided shortly, and will consider it carefully before determining the next steps, including whether to appeal any aspect(s) of the judgement."

New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White declined to speculate on what sanction he could face but said authorities took any infringement linked to corruption seriously.

"We're concerned that a former New Zealand player has been linked to the ICC's Bangladesh Premier League investigation," he told Radio Sport.

"Of course, we're a strong advocate of the ICC's anti-corruption protocols and we treat this matter very seriously."

White confirmed that the Bangladesh probe was not related to another ICC match-fixing investigation that also involves Vincent and former Black Caps bowler Daryl Tuffey.

Details of that inquiry are scant but former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns is reportedly one of the players under scrutiny.

Vincent and Tuffey had both confirmed they are cooperating with investigators but Cairns has said he remains in the dark and expressed frustration the ICC has not presented any evidence to which he can respond.

Vincent's statement on Thursday confirmed the probe was continuing.

"I am also continuing to cooperate withe the ICC in respect of other inquiries they are making, which restricts my ability to comment any further," he said.

Six people, including ex-Bangladesh cricketer Mohammad Rafique, were cleared of all charges.

Apart from Rafique, two Bangladeshi cricketers - paceman Mahbubul Alam and left-arm spinner Mosharraf Hossain - as well as English county Kent's all-rounder Darren Stevens, Dhaka Gladiators co-owner Salim Chowdhury, and the club's Indian CEO Gaurav Rawat were acquitted of all charges.

"The Provisional Suspension imposed upon each of Mosharraf Hossain Rubel and Mahbubul Alam Robin is lifted with immediate effect," the tribunal said.

"The Tribunal expects to give its full reasons for the aforesaid determination within a few days, hopefully within the next two weeks."



 

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