Chris Cairns has revealed that former New Zealand captains Stephen Fleming and Daniel Vettori have given statements to the International Cricket Council about his alleged role in match fixing.
Cairns, who described the allegations against him as ‘absurd, bizarre and scary,’ held a news conference in Auckland on Friday on his return to New Zealand from London, where he was interviewed by the Metropolitan Police and investigators from the England and Wales Cricket Board and the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit.
Reading from a prepared statement, Cairns said he had been told Fleming, Vettori and fast bowler Kyle Mills had joined former test batsman Lou Vincent and current New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum in making statements to the ICC.
Vincent has been charged with 12 counts of match-fixing relating to matches in England. In his evidence to ACSU investigators, which was leaked to British newspapers, he said he was involved in spot fixing in five countries and answered to a former star player, identified initially as Player X.
Cairns has denied any involvement in match fixing, but said he believes he is that player.
McCullum, in evidence which was also leaked to the British media, said he was twice approached in 2008 and encouraged to become involved in match fixing. Cairns said he believes evidence provided to the ICC by Fleming, Vettori and Mills relates to McCullum’s claim.
“Based on the information I was provided in London, I now understand that there were two past players and one current New Zealand player who Mr. McCullum said he spoke to about the alleged approach,” Cairns said. “These three ex or current New Zealand players have made no direct accusation against me.”
Cairns identified the players as Fleming, Vettori and Kyle Mills, the brother of New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association head Heath Mills.
“Two of these men made statements supporting Mr. McCullum’s claim that he spoke to them. The third man told investigators his memory was foggy and he could not make a statement in support of Mr. McCullum,” Cairns told the news conference. “It is also significant that none of those players seem to have spoken to anyone at the ICC or any other organization about my alleged conversation with Mr. McCullum until this year, 2014.”
Cairns said during his meeting with investigators he had been provided with details of the statements made by McCullum, Vincent and other players. He questioned why McCullum took almost three years to tell investigators – on Feb. 17, 2011 – he was approached by Cairns in India and England in 2008.
Cairns took legal action in Britain in March 2013 against former Indian cricket official Lalit Modi, who had accused him of match fixing, and said all allegations in that case were ‘shown to be false.’
“It is extraordinary that Mr. McCullum told the ACSU is February, 2011 that three years previously I approached him to match fix, yet neither he nor the ACSU anti-corruption officer that took his statement … to the ICC or informed Mr. Modi or anyone else of this startling revelation,” Cairns said.
Cairns said he was questioned by officers of the Metropolitan Police about his successful 2012 libel action action Modi. He believes the officers are investigating whether he may have perjured himself during that trial.
Cairns said he befriended Vincent in 2008 when they played for the Chandigarh Lions in the unsanctioned Indian Cricket League.
“In 2008 he (Vincent) had a lot of problems that he has admitted to,” Cairns said. “I endeavored to become a friend to him in these difficult times.
“He has betrayed the friendship I offered him and now seeks to portray himself as a whistleblower. He is nothing of the sort.”
Cairns said Vincent had been caught cheating and now “seeks to mitigate his sins by blaming others.”
“The allegations he and his ex-wife make against me are despicable lies,” he said. “As a result of my trip to London I also understand no (other) person has made any allegation which Mr. Vincent and his ex-wife have made against me.
“I find this situation truly absurd, bizarre and scary. I now wait to see what happens next – I am hopeful that proper process will be followed and that I will be cleared of these allegations.”
Cairns reiterated his belief he was the victim of a conspiracy.
“Over the last few years I have felt the influence of nameless, faceless people casting aspersions about me throughout the world of cricket and perhaps beyond,” he said. “There are dark forces at play. The just-concluded trip to England has not persuaded me to think any differently.”
New Zealand Cricket chief executive David White said he could not respond to Cairns’ comments.
“Many of the points made are, or may be, matters of evidence, and it would be wholly inappropriate to discuss them ahead of relevant hearings and investigations,” he said.