8 Oct 2015

Cairns offered McCullum money to fix, court hears

12:03 pm on 8 October 2015

The prosecution has opened its case in Chris Cairns' perjury trial at Southwark Crown Court in London, telling the court he approached the New Zealand captain Brendon McCullum to fix games for up to $US180,000 a time.

Chris Cairns and Brendon McCullum

Chris Cairns and Brendon McCullum Photo: AFP

The former New Zealand allrounder is on trial accused of lying under oath during his successful 2012 libel case against the former chairman of the Indian Premier League, Lalit Modi, who accused him online of match-fixing.

Lead prosecutor Sasha Wass QC said McCullum found it difficult at first to say no to a proposal by Cairns when they met in 2008, because Cairns had been such an idol of his.

At the time McCullum played for Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Cricket League - the same competition as Cairns.

McCullum looked up to Cairns, she said, and tried to emulate Cairns and the two were friends.

She told the court in 2008 Cairns asked to meet McCullum in a Kolkata hotel.

At that meeting Cairns explained spread betting to McCullum who did not know what it was, so Cairns took out a piece of paper and explained it to him.

She said Cairns told McCullum that "everyone's doing it" and he told McCullum he could get him between $US70,000 and $US180,00 per game, and explained how to get the money back to New Zealand without raising suspicions.

Ms Vass told the court Cairns told McCullum he had an associate in Dubai and that he bought property there and held it for several years then sold it, so the money was clean.

Ms Wass said this was effectively money laundering

She said McCullum found it difficult to say no there and then because Cairns was such an idol, and he was shocked at the proposal. Later in a phone call McCullum told Cairns he would not be getting involved.

McCullum did not lodge an official complaint until 2011, which she said he regretted, but he was troubled about the approach and told several cricket colleagues about it.

Ms Wass told the jury Cairns approached another New Zealand player, Lou Vincent, to fix for $50,000 a game.

Vincent "lost Cairns $250,000"

Lou Vincent in action for the Auckland Aces in 2011.

Lou Vincent in action for the Auckland Aces in 2011. Photo: AFP

While McCullum declined Cairns' approach, Vincent did not have the same strength of character, the court heard.

Ms Wass said the New Zealand batsmen was depressed after being dropped from the national team and was abusing cannabis and alcohol.

In 2008, Vincent signed with the Chandigarh Lions and was approached by an Indian man to fix in exchange for money and sex.

He told his agent Leanne McGoldrick about the approach, who said she would report it to an official.

The court heard that Vincent also told Cairns, who said reporting it would provide "good cover" and that Vincent was now working for him.

The prosecution said Cairns told Vincent four players in the Lions were fixing, they were: Vincent, Cairns, Daryl Tuffey and Dinesh Mongia.

The prosecution outlined four games it says Cairns fixed. One of them, ICL India v ICL world team on 15 April 2008, was also peculiar to the New Zealand cricketer and crown witness Chris Harris.

On that day the prosecution said Vincent spoilt the chance to fix the match when he remained on the pitch until he was stumped.

The court heard Cairns was not happy about this and threatened to hit Vincent with a cricket bat. The prosecution said Vincent rang his estranged wife Eleanor Riley, another Crown witness, in tears saying he had lost Cairns $US250,000.

Ms Wass also played the jury a Skype call between Vincent and barrister Andrew Fitch-Holland, who is also on trial.

Mr Fitch-Holland, along with Cairns, is facing a charge of perverting the course of justice by trying to procure a false statement from Vincent in support of Cairns in the 2012 libel case.

In the call Mr Fitch-Holland, who Ms Wass described as a cricket groupie, asked Vincent to write a letter saying he had not seen any wrongdoing.

Over Skype, Mr Fitch-Holland told Vincent: "...between you and I we all know some what is being said is clearly true."

Vincent replied that it was a, "big ask from me to sort of like you say in a legal document to say something that isn't true." Vincent said he had not seen any "return" on his involvement and felt like he was "being used again."

Vincent never provided the statement and last year admitted match fixing, receiving a life ban from cricket.

The trial resumes on October 12, when the first witness will be called.