Counter claims against Taylor

THE “businessman” who tried to blackmail former Zimbabwe cricket team captain Brendan Taylor into spot-fixing by threatening to release a video of the ex-batsman snorting cocaine, has claimed that the 35-year-old owed him US$40 000.

Taylor shocked the world when he released a statement announcing that he faced a lengthy International Cricket Council (ICC) ban for a late disclosure following an approach by bookies who gave him a “deposit” of US$15 000 to spot-fix matches.

He said he was promised US$20 000 if he executed the plan.

Taylor revealed that he had been taking drugs, particularly cocaine, which he was recorded snorting following a meeting in India, after being invited by a “businessman” to discuss a T-20 tournament in Zimbabwe.

The right-handed former batsman said he would be checking into a rehabilitation centre next month as he struggles to recover from substance abuse.

Taylor admitted to taking US$15 000, but did not say anything about returning the money, insisting that he never fixed any matches.

The Times of India quoted a “reliable source” in an article it ran yesterday where the counter allegations were brought to the fore.

“There are allegations from both sides. While Taylor has alleged that he was offered US$15 000 by the ‘businessman’ to be a part of spot-fixing deals, the other party has alleged that Taylor took US$40 000 from him to be a part of the launch of a T20 tournament in Zimbabwe, and never returned the money,” the Times of India quoted the source.

“During their inquiry on this issue, the ICC sent its anti-corruption officer to India after these allegations surfaced from both Taylor and the ‘businessman’. He met the concerned parties during the inquiry that time.”

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)’s Anti-Corruption Unit confirmed that it was aware of the ICC investigations, which took place over a long period.

“This is not a new matter. It’s an old incident, about which we are aware of. The ICC has been inquiring into this,” BCCI Anti-Corruption Unit chief Shabir Hussein Shekhadam Khandwawala told Times of India, who is said to have refused to give more details on the matter.

Taylor revealed that during his visit to India in 2019, he had drinks with the “businessman” and he was pressured into snorting cocaine, but was secretly recorded.

“We had drinks and during the course of the evening, they openly offered me cocaine, which they themselves engaged in, and I foolishly took the bait,” he said.

“It took me four months to report this offence and interaction to the ICC. I acknowledge this was too long of a time, but I thought I could protect everyone and, in particular, my family. I approached the ICC on my own terms and I hoped that if I explained my predicament, my genuine fear for our safety and wellbeing, that they would understand the delay.

“Unfortunately, they did not, but I cannot feign ignorance in this regard. I have attended many anti-corruption seminars over the years and we know that time is of the essence when making reports.”

He insists that he has “never been involved in any form of match-fixing. I may be many things but I am not a cheat. My love for the beautiful game of cricket far outweighs and surpasses any threats which could be thrown my way.”

Newsday.

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