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How Vincent fell into the trap

Wellington: Banned for life for match-fixing, disgraced New Zealand cricketer Lou Vincent revealed how an “Indian bookie”, posing as a sports equipment sponsor, laid ‘honey trap’ for him during the now-defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) back in 2008.

In interviews to New Zealand radio channels, Vincent revealed how he was taken aback to find that his “hero” was involved in fixing and how he was unable to refuse him from taking part in the ‘big fix’.

“I looked at ICL as a great way to get away from New Zealand, take the family and live overseas. And it was good money,” Vincent said.

“Then the phone rings… Happens all the time when you are in India. On other end of the phone was an Indian guy, who wanted me to use his (sports) gear… His batting equipment and I said ‘yeah I will be interested’.”

Vincent then revealed how different he felt as he walked into the hotel room of this so-called bat manufacturer from the ones he had visited on earlier tours.

“It has happened before on other tours as well, where you walk into the room and see all the equipment spread across and you pick up bits and pieces. You then negotiate a deal and come out saying ‘thank you’.

“But here, I walk into the room and see there was nothing there. A young gentleman was sitting and a lady, whom I thought at that point was his wife, at the end of the bed,” the former right-hander said.

When the radio jockey asked him if the lady was the gentleman’s wife, Vincent replied: “No, she wasn’t… She was the ‘honey trap’. It took me about half an hour to realise that. As I was speaking to him, I asked him where’s the gear and he said that it was at the concierge (hotel lobby).

“Then, when I tried to go to the bathroom, he put his foot on the door and said that that she (lady in question) is a ‘gift to you from our company’. That’s when the penny drops. This looks a bit dodgy. I declined,” Vincent stated.

“Then (the man) he drops in a big wad of cash, about 15 grands in US dollars and says that’s the down payment for sponsorship for you. Our business and sponsorship is for life. That’s when I realised that I got to get out of the situation and leave the money with him,” the 35-year-old Vincent said.

“The only way to leave the money was to put it in the safe with my coat in his room. Then I walked down to meet my agent, who had come over from New Zealand, helping set up ICL. I explained what has happened and I believe from there, the tournament directors were notified.”

Vincent said that his immediate reaction was to share his experience with his “hero” as he knocked on his door.

“I told him that this is what has happened. I have just been approached and I told him that I have reported the matter to my agent and all has been taken care of. There was an eerie silence.

“He (the hero) took a deep breath and I can’t forget the face... He then said, ‘That’s a good cover as you are working for me’. And that’s how my life changed,” said Vincent.

Vincent said that he doesn’t hate his ‘hero’ any more. “No, I don’t (hate). I have learnt to forgive. That is a powerful tool actually to deal with pain and stress… To be able to accept that bad things can happen and you need to accept, forgive and move on.” (PTI)