Cairns denies being ‘Player X’ in fixing probe
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Chris Cairns says current New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum has lied if he named him to anti-corruption authorities as the former star player who attempted to lure McCullum into match-fixing.
The retired allrounder issued a statement saying he believes he is the figure identified only as “Player X” who was named by McCullum and former New Zealand test batsman Lou Vincent as a ringleader of fixing activities.
McCullum’s testimony to the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption unit was leaked on Sunday to a British newspaper. The Daily Mail said McCullum told investigators he was twice approached in 2008 by a player he considered a friend and hero and invited to become involved in fixing.
“I believe it is being alleged that I am that player,” said Cairns, a high-profile former New Zealand international. “It is well known that the ICC ACSU (anti-corruption security unit) has been investigating allegations of corruption and my name has been linked by others to these allegations. I am being asked whether I am Player X. ... These allegations against me are a complete lie.”
Detail of Vincent’s evidence to anti-corruption investigators has also been widely published by British newspapers. Vincent is reported to have been involved in spot-fixing in matches in five countries, including England county matches and the Champions Trophy Twenty20 tournament. He is also reported to have told investigators he was taking instructions from a former international star player.
Cairns said he had repeatedly asked the ACSU to provide him with copies of Vincent and McCullum’s statements so that he could respond.
“They decline to do so but seem happy to leak information to the media which they deny to me,” he said. “As for Lou Vincent, he appears to have confessed to match-fixing in respect of games played in numerous countries around the world, most of which I have had no connection to.
“He is in a desperate position. He faces potential prosecution and in trying to negotiate a plea bargain he appears to be willing to falsely accuse me of wrongdoing.”
Cairns said he had “no understanding” why McCullum would have said the things he was alleged to have told investigators.
“To be clear, I have never approached Brendon or anyone else about match fixing or any other improper activity,” Cairns said. “I am doing everything I can to get to the bottom of these allegations.”
Cairns said he had not yet been interviewed by ICC investigators. However, he has been interviewed by officers of the London Metropolitan Police who traveled to New Zealand as part of a separate investigation.
He said he was not aware of the nature of that inquiry. Cairns’ London-based lawyer, Andrew Fitch-Holland, was arrested in March by officers from the Met on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.
“I ask that people reserve judgment until all the facts are brought to light,” Cairns said. “I have nothing to hide.
“I have been to court to demonstrate conclusively that I am not a match-fixer before. I will have no hesitation in doing so again.”
Cairns said there were “dark forces at play” in the latest round of fixing allegations.
“These forces have long arms, deep pockets and great influence,” he said. “I acknowledge that recently I have upset some powerful people in the world of cricket, including raising my own concerns about the health of the game.
“I believe I am paying the price for that now.”
New Zealand Cricket acted quickly on Monday to demonstrate its support for McCullum after details of his testimony were published. In a statement, NZC said it was dismayed that McCullum’s evidence had been leaked to the media and stressed that the national team captain was not guilty of any wrongdoing.
“He is not under investigation and his testimony has been applauded by the ICC,” chief executive David White said. “He was approached and he rebuffed those approaches and he reported it to the ICC. We believe he’s done the right thing and we’ve got 100 percent confidence in our captain and in his role in tackling corruption.”
In a second statement issued on Tuesday, Cairns said he would prove his innocence.
“I totally reject the allegations against me and I will prove this,” he said. “However, I think it is very dangerous to try to do this through the media and court of public opinion, where it is impossible to present all the information and facts
“I am therefore committed to concluding my interview with the Met Police as soon as possible and will work through the proper channels to, once again, prove my innocence.”
Cairns said he wanted the public to know that the ICC had not yet interviewed him and “what is circulating in the public domain is barely one side of the story.”