UPDATE 1-Cricket-Others involved in fixing, says agent

LONDON Wed Nov 2, 2011 11:39pm IST

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LONDON Nov 2 (Reuters) - Sports agent Mazhar Majeed pleaded guilty to spot fixing charges and told a British criminal court that a fourth unnamed Pakistan cricketer was involved with former captain Salman Butt in corrupting the sport, the Press Association reported on Wednesday.

Majeed pleaded guilty to conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to making corrupt payments at a pre-trial hearing in September but his admission could not be revealed before Wednesday due to UK reporting restriction laws.

Majeed, who now faces sentencing along with three Pakistani cricketers, said through his lawyer that Butt first approached him to get involved in fixing back in 2009 and then took him to lunch with the fourth unidentified player in March 2010 to corrupt the sport further.

Butt, 27, and fast bowler Mohammad Asif, 28, were found guilty on Tuesday of taking bribes to deliver pre-arranged no balls during the fourth test against England at Lord's in August 2010.

Butt and Asif are facing up to seven years in jail or large fines.

Majeed also told the court that out of the 150,000 pounds ($240,000) he received from the now defunct paper News of the World, which exposed the corruption scandal through a sting operation, he gave 65,000 pounds to Asif, 10,000 pounds to Butt and 2,500 pounds to the third convicted player, Mohammad Amir.

The judge was informed that Asif was given the bulk of the money to keep him loyal and stop him from approaching another group of fixers.

Pace bowler Amir, 19, admitted his part in the scam before the trial at Southwark Crown Court started and on Wednesday offered a heartfelt apology during the sentence hearing, which was adjourned until Thursday.

"I want to apologise to all in Pakistan and all others to whom cricket is important...The best day of my life was when selected by Pakistan. I was given my shirt the night before. I stood for hours wearing it in front of the mirror," he said.

"I would have worn it all night but I didn't want to ruin it. I want to apologise for not pleading guilty before. I wish I had had the courage to do it earlier. I did the wrong thing. I was trapped, because of my stupidity. I panicked."

The trio have already been banned from playing by the International Cricket Council for a minimum of five years. ($1 = 0.626 British Pounds) (Writing by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Ed Osmond. To comment on this story: sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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