Evidence leak shock for ICC

THE International Cricket Council (ICC) will investigate how evidence given to a match-fixing probe had been leaked to the media and take action against anyone employed by them if involved, chief executive Dave Richardson said yesterday.

The latest match-fixing scandal broke last December when New Zealand media reported three former international cricketers had been linked to an investigation by the ICC's Anti-Corruption Security Unit (ACSU) into alleged match-fixing.

Last week, British newspapers published excerpts of confidential statements from former New Zealand batsman Lou Vincent, who had said he was co-operating with the ACSU, and current captain Brendon McCullum.

Richardson said the ICC deeply regretted the leaks and re-iterated McCullum was not under investigation.

"We are taking all steps available to us to urgently investigate how certain information in the form of statements has come to find its way into the media," he said.

"Of course, we recognise this is a deeply concerning development for the stakeholders in the fight against corruption in the sport of cricket, and we wish to emphasise Brendon McCullum is not under investigation."

New Zealand Cricket said earlier this week they were disappointed McCullum's statements had been made public and would ask the world governing body to investigate.

Richardson told Radio New Zealand yesterday the investigation into the leaks had already been launched but said it was premature to suggest they had come from within the ICC.

"This is an investigation that crosses three or four jurisdictions and involves liaison with other stakeholders, law enforcement agencies, and players who have been interviewed," Richardson said.

"It is premature to say where the leak came from and whether anyone involved in the ACSU was involved."

The statements by Vincent and McCullum detailed being approached by a former international player about the possibility of match-fixing. The excerpts of McCullum's statements identified the former international as "Player X".

The New Zealand Herald newspaper then identified "Player X" as former New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns, who has consistently denied being involved in any match-fixing.

"I am aware former cricketer Lou Vincent and current New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum have made a range of allegations against a cricketer dubbed Player X," Cairns said.

"It is well known the ICC/ACSU has been investigating allegations of corruption and my name has been linked by others to these allegations. I am being asked whether I am Player X.

"These allegations against me are a complete lie."

Cairns, who won a defamation case against India cricket administrator Lalit Modi for making similar accusations on Twitter in 2010, said he had not had the chance to respond to the allegations.

"Important to remember only one side of the story has been leaked ... important to get the full picture," Cairns wrote on his Twitter page.

Former Black Cap Daryl Tuffey also issued a statement through his lawyers denying any involvement in the match-fixing scandal and expressing his commitment to cooperate with the investigators.

"He [Tuffey] has been asked by the media to comment on allegations he was involved in or financially benefited from match-fixing or spot-betting.

"These allegations are regarded by Mr Tuffey as the most serious kind and are unequivocally denied by him," the statement said. – Reuters