London: Mired in a spot-fixing scam, the Pakistani trio of Salman Butt, Mohammed Aamir and Mohammed Asif have told the investigators that they took money from alleged bookie Mazhar Majeed but denied any wrongdoing.
The suspended trio, being grilled by Scotland Yard here, claimed the money they took from Majeed was on account of sponsorship contracts they had signed with different commercial organisations.
They insisted that they did not know that Majeed, working as an agent for them, was also a bookmaker.
“The players also showed their written contracts for these sponsorship deals to the police,” Pakistan legal advisor Tafazzul Rizvi told Geo TV.
“The players have contested the allegation and also volunteered themselves for police investigations,” he said.
According to reports, 50,000 pounds were recovered from the hotel room of Butt.
The three players were suspended by the ICC after a British tabloid claimed that they were involved in spot-fixing.
Rizvi also confirmed that the investigating authorities had found some currency from a player’s room during the search of the team hotel in London last weekend.
“But just having currency does not mean the player is involved in criminal or illegal activities,” he contended.
“They were not aware of their agent’s illegal activities. They only had a relationship of player-agent with him. They have constantly proclaimed their innocence of the charges against them,” Rizvi added.
Rizvi, who was sent to London by the PCB to deal with the allegations against the players, said that until any concrete evidence was brought against the trio they were innocent.
“You can’t make any player a criminal just because his agent is involved in illegal activities.”
Rizvi also said that any financial dealings between the players and Majeed were the result of sponsorship and endorsement deals which were normal in such a relationship.
“The money transferred to the players by Mazhar related to sponsorship and endorsement deals. The PCB has given the players the right to appoint their own agents,” he said.
The players had also gone to the Kilburn police station for questioning by investigating authorities on Friday on their own and were available for more inquiries, he said.
The lawyer said that there was nothing unusual in exchange of messages between the players and their agent and the media had been misreporting facts in the case and this had caused great mental stress to the players and their families.
\He stated there was not truth in reports that the players had been charged or their passports seized or they couldn’t move around freely.