Fleming links match-fixing to Indian bookie

Published: Sunday, November 7, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Wellington:New Zealand cricket captain Stephen Fleming claims he was offered 200,000 pounds (370,200 US dollars) during the 1999 World Cup to join a match-fixing syndicate which hinted at links to prominent sportsmen.

He details the incident in his new book "Balance Of Power", reviewed on Sunday by the New Zealand Press Association.

Fleming says he was approached in the bar of the team's hotel in the English city of Leicester during the 1999 World Cup by a man later identified as sports promoter Aushim Khetrapal, an associate of notorious Indian bookmaker Sanjeev Chawla.

"He said 'If you want to know where the real money is, it's in the syndicate that's going on around the world right now, speculating on the likelihood of certain results or occurrences'," Fleming writes.

Khetrapal, according to Fleming, said top sportsmen were involved, including those in English soccer and in tennis.

Fleming said Khetrapal claimed there were people all over the world whom he could call at certain times and offered him the chance to join the syndicate.

"He'd pay me 200,000 pounds straight up, then another 100,000 pounds in a year's time," Fleming wrote.

"I remember looking at the numbers he'd written down and saying, 'Look, I don't think we should be talking about this. I don't really want to be part of this at all'."

Fleming said he informed the team management of the approach and later gave a statement to Scotland Yard detectives.

Six months later England all-rounder Chris Lewis went public with similar claims. Khetrapal denied the allegation that he offered 300,000 pounds to Lewis to persuade England players to throw a Test against New Zealand.

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