| Vincent |
Anti-corruption forces are investigating the most detailed evidence yet of widespread fixing across the cricketing world. The Daily Telegraph can reveal that Lou Vincent, the former New Zealand batsman, has provided officials from the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit with a treasure trove of information about matches, which were targeted for spot-fixing and the names of players who were involved.
Domestic matches played by English counties and matches of the now defunct Indian Cricket League are among those about which Vincent has provided detailed evidence. New Zealand Cricket (NZC) have confirmed they are investigating corruption claims made by Vincent and declined to comment when asked if current Test captain Brendon McCullum was approached by fixers.
David White, the chairman of NZ Cricket, told a press conference on Friday that matches involving Vincent’s domestic team, the Auckland Aces, are being probed by anti-corruption officers.
“We can confirm the following: No games played in New Zealand are being investigated by the ICC; no current Black Caps are being investigated,” White said.
“No matches involving New Zealand national teams are being investigated, however, we have been informed by the ICC that some Auckland Aces matches in the Champions League T20 in South Africa in 2012 are being investigated.”
It has also been revealed that one current international captain had been asked to fix and turned down the offer, reporting the approach to anti-corruption authorities immediately. White declined to comment when asked if McCullum was the player in question. “Sorry I cannot say anymore as it could jeopardise further investigations.”
One of the matches Auckland played in the Champions League T20 in 2012 was against Hampshire although it is not known at this stage which games are under suspicion. Vincent is understood to have also provided details of fixes, or attempted fixes, in England, Hong Kong, India and South Africa.
Vincent is being investigated along with Chris Cairns and Daryl Tuffey, former teammates for New Zealand as well as for the Chandigarh Lions in the Indian Cricket League. Cairns successfully sued Lalit Modi for libel in 2012 over allegations of fixing in the ICL. Modi had to pay more than £2 million in costs and damages.
Several of his allegations are believed to involve matches played in the ICL, where he said players were offered bribes of money and prostitutes by shadowy figures involved in the tournament. He has also provided names and dates of meetings with fixers which are being cross-referenced by the ICC.
Earlier this year Cairns’ barrister, Andrew Fitch-Holland, was arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice in relation to the Modi libel trial. He was interviewed again by Scotland Yard detectives on Wednesday and bailed to appear again in August or September.
Cairns has also been interviewed by the Metropolitan Police and told the New Zealand Herald: “I’m waiting to conclude the interview I started with the Met over six weeks ago here in New Zealand.
“Obviously the time it’s taken to conclude this is frustrating but I continue to cooperate fully with the relevant authorities. Regarding Lou Vincent’s comments and the position of Andrew Fitch-Holland, I maintain my stance that I do not comment on other people's situations in this matter.”
He has also informed them of the details of an approach by another corrupt player to a current international captain, who turned down the offer and reported it to anti-corruption officials.
Investigators from the ICC’s anti-corruption unit are working with detectives employed by cricket boards around the world to piece together a complex case which they believe will emerge as the biggest fixing scandal since the Hansie Cronje affair 14 years ago, and possibly even more significant than that.
Vincent has agreed a plea bargain in the hope of avoiding a criminal prosecution for his involvement in and knowledge of spot-fixing in five or more countries over a four-year period between 2008-2012. He revealed in December he would cooperate with detectives and confessed to an ICC tribunal investigating fixing in Bangladesh earlier this year that he had been approached by an illegal bookmaker.
It is understood the ICC’s anti-corruption police are close to charging a former Pakistan international cricketer based on evidence provided by Vincent.
The investigation crosses several international jurisdictions and is expected to take another 12-18 months to complete with anti-corruption officers determined to use the information and land convictions. His evidence has laid bare the threat of corruption to Twenty20 competitions in England and elsewhere which interest fixers in Asia when they are screened live on television in India.
Vincent became a roving Twenty20 specialist playing in England, India, Zimbabwe, South Africa and New Zealand when his international career ended in 2007 after 23 Tests and 103 ODIs.