Chris Cairns' early exit from a lucrative Indian playing contract is set to come under the spotlight after he confirmed last night that British and New Zealand police had joined an International Cricket Council (ICC) investigation into allegations of match-fixing.
After a tumultuous day following the arrest in England of his close friend and lawyer Andrew Fitch-Holland, Cairns said the ICC had been in contact with him. He had also been approached by "representatives from the New Zealand and British police, working together".
Cairns told Fairfax Media that he was shocked at news that London-based Fitch-Holland had been charged, on Wednesday, by metropolitan police with perverting the course of justice in relation to a High Court civil case.
Cairns said he couldn't comment further on that subject.
The circumstances of Cairns' exit from the now defunct Indian Cricket League (ICL) in 2008 was the focus of a highly publicised British high court libel case in 2012 with Cairns winning damages against Indian cricket powerbroker Lalit Modi.
Modi had levelled match fixing accusations against the former Black Caps allrounder on Twitter and through a cricketing website.
Fitch-Holland appeared in the court case and confirmed Cairns' version of events that he was sacked by the ICL Chandigarh Lions team not for match-fixing, but because he failed to disclose an injury.
Cairns captained the Chandigarh Lions, which included former Black Caps team-mates Lou Vincent and Daryl Tuffey. The trio was first linked by international media reports to an ICC match-fixing investigation late last year. Soon after, Vincent and Tuffey publicly said they were co-operating with investigators while Cairns complained he was being "kept in the dark".
However, Cairns confirmed that he has now been approached "at last" and would co-operate with ICC anti-corruption investigators. He said he would take the same approach with British and New Zealand police, adding he expected to be interviewed in the next few days.
He again protested his innocence. "I have nothing to hide. I simply wish to see a fair process that will enable me to clear my name and get on with my life."
During the case, evidence was submitted regarding an important international telephone conversation between Cairns and Fitch-Holland on the night the ICL terminated his playing contract.
Cairns had phoned Fitch-Holland from India seeking advice during a meeting with ICL officials.
Justice Bean's judgment says Fitch-Holland's evidence was that Cairns did not mention any accusations of match-fixing had been made against him during the meeting and had said ICL officials had terminated his contract because he had hidden the true state of his fitness. Cairns had an ankle injury at the time which had been aggravated by a 1000km charity walk.
"He said he thought he was being made an example of, and he wanted my view," Fitch-Holland is recorded as saying in the judgment. "At no stage during the telephone call did Mr Cairns mention or refer to match fixing".
Justice Bean's judgment said he accepted Fitch-Holland's "evidence about the conversation with Mr Cairns immediately after the Shangri-La Hotel meeting".
Justice Bean also noted that Cairns did not raise match-fixing allegations in a discussion the same night with his wife Melanie on why his contract had been terminated.
"Like Mr Fitch-Holland, Mrs Cairns told me that on the night of the Shangri-La Hotel meeting the claimant [Cairns] said that he had been dismissed because of his injury".
Tuffey also provided evidence on Cairns' behalf in the high court case. He provided a witness statement saying he had no reason to suspect that Cairns or any of his Lions team mates were involved in "match fixing or cheating of any kind".
New Zealand Cricket declined to comment yesterday, but would do so when it had received more information.
- Fairfax Media
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