English prosecutor to announce Pakistan decision

London, Feb 4 (AFP) The three Pakistan players at thecentre of spot-fixing allegations that could end their cricketcareers are set to discover today if they will be prosecutedby English legal authorities.

Salman Butt, who was Pakistan''s Test captain, and seamersMohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer have been accused ofconspiring in the bowling of deliberate no-balls on lastyear''s tour of England -- claims they all deny.

The trio could be banned for life when an InternationalCricket Council (ICC) tribunal announces its conclusions inDoha on Saturday.

But a day earlier they will find out if they face legalaction in England following a separate investigation byLondon''s Metropolitan Police.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said yesterday anannouncement would be made at 1100GMT on Friday.

A CPS spokeswoman later told AFP there was no connectionbetween the timing of their announcement and the ICC hearingin Doha on Saturday, saying: "We make decisions when we areready to make them."

Last year, Britain''s News of the World tabloid conducteda newspaper ''sting operation'' which it said proved thePakistan trio''s willingness to be involved in the deliberatebowling of no-balls during the Lord''s Test against England.

This, the paper said, was evidence of a spot-betting scamwhere money can be gambled on specific incidents in a matchwithout the need to ''fix'' the result.

All the Pakistan trio were interviewed by police. So toowas players'' agent Mazhar Majeed, whom the News of the Worldalleged accepted 150,000 pounds to set up the deal. Majeed wasalso arrested.

A fifth man, player Wahab Riaz, was also interviewedunder caution but it is not known why he will not be includedin Friday''s announcement.

While the ICC, which heard evidence from Butt, Asif andAamer during a hearing in Doha last month, has to considerwhether its rules were broken and what, if any, punishmentshould follow if they were, the CPS must decide whether theplayers have a case to answer under English law.

Butt, Asif and Aamer are all currently provisionallysuspended by the ICC. (AFP) PM

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