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Pakistan trio charged

ICC tribunal to announce decision over sanctions on Saturday

Amir (left), Butt (centre) and Asif (right): will face court

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The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have charged Pakistan cricketers Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir with conspiracy to cheat bookmakers over the match-fixing scandal.

The trio will face court over their actions during the fourth Test against England at Lord's last August.

All three players were questioned by Scotland Yard detectives over claims made in the News of the World newspaper that they had accepted cash to deliberately bowl no-balls.

Agent Mazhar Majeed, accused of accepting £150,000 to fix the actions of players, was also charged with conspiracy to cheat bookmakers.

Statement

The CPS said all four men have also been charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments.

Simon Clements, of the CPS, said: "These charges relate to allegations that Mr Majeed accepted money from a third party to arrange for the players to bowl 'no balls' on August 26 and 27, 2010, during Pakistan's Fourth Test at Lord's Cricket Ground in London.

"Mr Majeed has been summonsed to appear for a first hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on 17 March.

"Summonses for the same court date have been issued for the three players and they have been asked to return to this country voluntarily, as they agreed to do in September last year. Their extradition will be sought should they fail to return.

"The Crown Prosecution Service has been working closely with the Metropolitan Police Service since the allegations of match-fixing became public on August 29 2010.

"We received a full file of evidence on December 7 2010, and we are satisfied there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest to prosecute.

"I would remind everyone that these men are entitled to a fair trial and should be regarded as innocent of these charges unless it is proven otherwise in court.

"The International Cricket Council tribunal is due to announce its decision tomorrow, but criminal proceedings are active now.

"It is extremely important that nothing should be reported which could prejudice the trial."

Suspension

A fourth player, Wahab Riaz, was also interviewed under caution but it is understood prosecutors did not consider bringing charges against him.

Butt, Asif and Amir were already suspended by the International Cricket Council (ICC) and also the Pakistan Cricket Board but denied any wrongdoing.

A three-man ICC tribunal, which met for six days at the start of the year, will announce their decision on whether the players will face sanctions on Saturday.

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 contrary to Section 42 of the Gambling Act 2005. It carries a maximum sentence of two years' imprisonment and an unlimited fine.