Indian businessman Lalit Modi drops $3.3m civil case against Chris Cairns

Former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns leaves Southwark Crown Court in London after being cleared by a London ...
PHILIP BROWN/REUTERS

Former New Zealand cricket captain Chris Cairns leaves Southwark Crown Court in London after being cleared by a London court on November 30 of perjury and perverting the course of justice.

Indian businessman Lalit Modi has discontinued his civil action against former New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns, his lawyer says.

"He's decided to bring the civil matter to a close and draw a line under it," Rajesh Vyakarnam said.

The legal action had proved costly for Modi, who lost in court to Cairns in 2012 after the player sued him over a tweet which alleged he had been involved in match-fixing in the Indian Cricket League.

Cairns has always strongly rejected any involvement in fixing.

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Modi ran up substantial costs in his 2012 legal battle with Cairns, which took place in London. His own legal costs were 900,000 pounds ($NZ2.002 million).

As a result of his loss in court, Modi paid $NZ3.12m to Cairns --including $NZ200,000 in damages, Cairns' legal fees and his lawyer's success fee, plus an insurance premium Cairns had taken out.

Cairns declined to comment on the developments.

Former Indian Premier League boss Lalit Modi has dropped a planned civil case against former Black Cap Chris Cairns.
MIKE HUTCHINGS/REUTERS

Former Indian Premier League boss Lalit Modi has dropped a planned civil case against former Black Cap Chris Cairns.

Speaking on behalf of Black Caps captain Brendon McCullum, who Modi needed as a witness in the civil action, lawyer Garth Gallaway said: "He [McCullum] gave evidence when he was asked to by the crown and the Modi trial has nothing to do with him. Brendon won't be making any comment."

In the Southwark Crown Court trial which began on October 5, Cairns was accused of lying under oath in his 2012 libel trial win against Modi.

Modi paid for a lawyer to sit through almost two months of evidence, at the end of which Cairns and his former legal adviser Andrew Fitch-Holland walked free.

Both were charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, for trying to get self-confessed match-fixer Lou Vincent to provide a false statement to the Modi hearing.

Modi had in 2010 tweeted Cairns had been excluded from the Indian Premier League (IPL) auction due to his "past record of match fixing".

Cairns, who had no record of match-fixing, took legal action. Central to allegations he faced in Southwark Crown Court was his statement in the Modi case he "never, ever cheated at cricket" and nor would he "contemplate doing such a thing".

The jury at Southwark Crown Court took 10 hours and 17 minutes of deliberation to reach their verdicts.

Cairns said the British legal system had vindicated him.

"I've been put through the mill and come out the other side, so I'm just a very happy man."

Modi had cast a shadow over Cairns, even as he was acquitted, making outright celebration premature.

It had been thought Modi was was likely try to claw back more that $1 million in costs and damages he was made to pay after the 2012 trial, as a civil action did not require such as high level of proof as the "beyond reasonable doubt" of the perjury trial.

Modi immediately responded to the verdict.

"I am aware of the verdict at Southwark Crown Court. As you know, I am limited in what I can say as I am restricted by the injunction put in place following the 2012 libel trial," he said.

 "I will consider how this affects my own civil claim against Mr Cairns in due course."

Cairns told media he would think about Modi "next week".

Irrespective of the news the Modi hurdle had now been cleared, Cairns had already accepted his reputation had been ruined and felt he could not work in cricket again.

At his peak around 2001 he had been one of the world's best all-rounders and high-regarded in New Zealand cricket circles.

"Reputationally, I'm completely scorched, burnt completely, but it hasn't stopped me and it won't stop me. I'll keep going forward."

Trial evidence at times caused sensation, with prostitutes given as enticements to cheat, blackmail allegations, lies, drinking, threats of violence, broken marriages, unpaid debts, and surreptitiously recorded Skype conversations.

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