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McCullum shocked at Cairns approach to fix for money

October 15, 2015 6:05 pm

New Zealand cricket captain Brendon McCullum has told the jury in Chris Cairns’ perjury trial he was shocked when his teen idol first approached him about match fixing and thought he was joking.

McCullum said Cairns, who is on trial accused of lying under oath about match fixing during another court case, propositioned him twice in 2008, offering him up to $US180,000 a game.

He told the court the pair met in Cairns’ Kolkata hotel room, where Cairns pulled out a piece of paper and explained spot fixing, which McCullum said he did not understand at the time.

McCullum said he quickly became aware Cairns was not joking about rigging games when he said everyone else was doing it, and that McCullum was the sort of player and personality who could take it on.

The court heard that Cairns told McCullum he could not ask fellow cricketers Daniel Vettori and Jacob Oram to fix because, “they didn’t have the balls.”

McCullum said Cairns told him he had a team working for him, which included Lou Vincent and Daryl Tuffey.

The court heard McCullum asked Cairns how he got the fixing money back to New Zealand, and Cairns said he had a person in Dubai who could help him buy, then sell property, and take the proceeds home.

He told the jury he wished he had told Cairns ‘no’ straight away, but could not comprehend the risky position he had put him in.

McCullum said about a week after the meeting in the hotel, Cairns called him and asked him if he had changed his mind to which McCullum answered ‘no.’

The court heard Cairns then propositioned McCullum a second time in Worcester, England, where McCullum was playing a game in June 2008.

McCullum told the court Cairns asked to get breakfast with him.

When asked by prosecutor Sasah Wass QC how he felt about having breakfast with Cairns, McCullum replied: “Its sounds strange, but I was OK with it, I still trusted Chris Cairns….he was never aggressive ….I felt I could say no and it would be fine.”

The court heard Cairns once again asked McCullum if he had changed his mind and McCullum’s answer again was ‘no.’

Under international cricket rules, players must report approaches to match fix to officials. McCullum told the court he told Daniel Vettori, Shane Bond and his agent Leanne McGoldrick, however it was not until February 2011 that he made an official complaint to the ICC’s anti-corruption unit.

When prosecutor Sasha Wass asked why it took him nearly three years to make an official report, McCullum replied: “I didn’t want it to be true…I didn’t want to rat on him. I thought if I kept it to myself no one would know about it anymore and it wouldn’t do any damage.”

McCullum said the trigger for making an official report was an anti-corruption training day given by the ACSU’s John Rhodes.

The court heard that during that training Rhodes told players those who did not report dishonest approaches were also liable. McCullum said he looked at Vettori, who he had told, and thought “I need to report this.”