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Thatscricket - News - More woes likely to come Cronje's way

Published: Sunday, June 10, 2001, 23:53 [IST]
 
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Johannesburg: Disgraced former South African cricket captain Hansie Cronje could be in trouble with tax authorities who have been keeping a close watch on the proceedings of the King Commission of Inquiry.He might also find himself facing extradition to India, if the South African police decide to charge him for his self-confessed role in match-fixing.The chairperson of the Commission, Judge Edwin King, on Friday handed over his final report to Sports Minister Ngconde Balfour. One of the most awaited last aspects of the Commission, which has already issued two interim reports with recommendations, is the issue of indemnity from prosecution for Cronje.He was promised this indemnity if he came clean at the Commission and told all that he knew about match-fixing in cricket. The South African government established the Commission after Cronje admitted accepting money and gifts from Indian and South African bookmakers.Judge King has refused to say anything about his final recommendations amid speculation that they include the denial of the indemnity to Cronje. TheLondon 'Sunday Times' reported this, prompting Shamila Batohi, leader of evidence at the King Commission, to dub the report "absolute blatant untruth".'The Times' had quoted Batohi as saying that Cronje would be denied indemnity. Batohi denied this.The indemnity is a serious issue for Cronje, who is fighting a battle in the High Court to rescind a decision by the United Cricket Board of South Africa (UCBSA) late last year to ban him for life.The South African Revenue Services, which handles all tax issues, as well as the Finance Ministry have been keeping a close watch on the issue. Cronje's' admissions at the Commission included having kept a large amount of foreign currency undeclared in his home and money he did not declare as income.Both are offences in South African law. If the indemnity from criminal prosecution is not granted, Cronje could be facing huge bills for unpaid taxes as well as possible criminal prosecution for the offences.However, there appears to be some uncertainty about the extent of the indemnity. Some experts say it only covers criminal prosecution on the possible bribery and corruption charges related to match-fixing and that the financial irregularities are separate issues.Others say that there could be total exemption from all charges. The only one who knows for sure is Judge King, and he is not saying anything. King said the report would first go to the State President, who would make it available to the UCBSA and release it publicly. The process is expected to take a few weeks.IANS

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