Asif leaves for UK to attend hearing at Southwark Crown Court

Updated: May 17, 2011, 18:23 PM IST

Karachi: Tainted Pakistan pacer Mohammed Asif left for United Kingdom on Tuesday to attend the hearing of the criminal charges brought against him, Salman Butt and Mohammed Aamer by the United Kingdom Crown Prosecution Service at a Southwark crown court, in London on May 20th.

Asif briefly told the media before leaving that he was committed to contesting the charges against him in the case and prove his innocence.

The ICC banned the three players for their involvement in spot-fixing during their Test match against England at Lord`s last year.

The trio appealed against the verdict with the international Court for Arbitration Sports (CAS) in Geneva but were later also charged by the Crown Prosecution Services special crime division with conspiracy to commit fraud and cheating.

The three alongwith their agent, Mazhar Majeed , a British businessman, appeared before a magistrate in Westminister in March but were bailed to reappear at the Southwark Crown Court on May 20 go face the charges.

They will now stand trial on charges of conspiracy and cheating.

The charges came out of events arising from the fourth Test at Lord`s last year, when the three players were alleged to have conspired to bowl no-balls at specific times at the behest of Majeed.

The alleged conspiracy was first revealed in the News of the World, which published footage of Majeed receiving USD 150,000 from undercover reporter Mazher Mahmood.

The three players and Majeed are charged with conspiracy to accept corrupt payments, an offence under the 1906 Gambling Act in U.K. and conspiracy to assist others to cheat at gambling.

The offences carry sentences of up to seven years imprisonment.

While Asif left for London, Aamer said he was still waiting for his visa.

"I am waiting for the visa. As soon as I get it, I will leave for London to appear myself in court," the left-arm pace bowler said.

Pakistan`s former captain Salman Butt, however, will not travel to London on the advice of his lawyer, Yasin Patel.

Sources close to Butt said Patel had advised him he was not required to appear for the May 20th hearing and he (Patel) would represent him.

PTI