London: Mazhar Majeed, the man at the centre of ‘spot-fixing’ controversy that has engulfed world cricket, is known to many members of the Pakistan team as a UK-based agent and has spent the past decade building up an image as a successful businessman, a report said.
Majeed was well known in south London as the owner of his local football club as well as a property developer who invited politicians and sports stars to his events.
He and his young family live in a 1.8 million pound home, where neighbours said he would host barbecues for hundreds of guests.
But hidden among his company directorships are thousands of pounds in unpaid bills and a string of firms that have closed down, the Daily Telegraph reported.
35-year-old Majeed attended Coulsdon High school and studied business at Middlesex University before forming Bluesky Developments with a friend, Faisal Hameed, in 1999.
They began by renovating derelict houses in south London.
By 2007, the developers were being commended by council officers and business leaders in Croydon, on the outskirts of London, for their developments and were raising money for charities.
Later that year Bluesky hosted a fund-raising event attended by leading cricketers such as the former Pakistan captain Inzamam ul-Haq.
The following year it sponsored a charity cricket match attended by the former England spinner Phil Tufnell.
According to local newspaper reports, Bluesky was even then the sponsor of Salman Butt, now the Pakistani captain.
But Bluesky began to lose money in the recession and was wound down. Companies House records show it has five county court judgments for unpaid bills totalling 74,163 pounds against it.
By 2008, Majeed had moved into the world of football, becoming the “co-owner” of Croydon Athletic.
Earlier this summer, the non-league club’s former chairman, Dean Fisher, was jailed for defrauding the company, although Croydon Athletic denied it was funded by his ill-gotten gains.
Companies House files show that Majeed has been a registered director of 28 different companies although most are no longer running.
One of them, Valesco Ltd, is in receivership while another, Able Trading Ltd, has been liquidated.
He is listed as a director of a group of 20 financial vehicles called Capital Investments, of which only two are currently solvent.
Hours after a newspaper ‘News of the World’ published allegations that Majeed had received 150,000 pounds in cash for agreeing that Pakistani bowlers would deliver three no-balls in the Lord’s Test, police and tax officials raided his six-bedroom property in Croydon.
Along with his brother Azhar, Mazhar claimed to represent the interests of a number of Pakistan’s top cricketers in the UK.
Majeed was arrested by Scotland Yard last night on suspicion of a conspiracy to defraud bookmakers. He has been released on bail.
Majeed was caught on camera by the tabloid claiming to have bribed Pakistan’s bowlers to bowl no-balls at previously agreed moments during the Test.
He claimed to the tabloid to have up to seven players from the side working for him, though so far only four have been named.
‘Cricinfo claimed that the brothers have known many members in the team since at least 2006, the last time Pakistan toured England.
Over a number of years Azhar and Mazhar have handled various sponsorship and marketing contracts for the players in the UK.
How familiar the brothers are with the players is also evident from the UK-based Pakpassion.net, a popular fan website that regularly carries out interviews with Pakistan’s top cricketers.
In a number of interviews with players such as Salman Butt and Saeed Ajmal, Azhar and Mazhar were thanked for setting up the interaction.
For a while, between 2008 and 2009, the website had a regular section called “The Agents Views”, in which Azhar would update readers on the activities of a number of players.