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NZ cricketers in fixing investigation

WELLINGTON (AP):  New Zealand Cricket has acknowledged up to three of the country s former cricketers are being investigated by the International Cricket Council s anti-corruption unit for possible involvement in match or spot fixing.

The New Zealand Herald newspaper reported Thursday that members of the ICC s anti-corruption and security unit have been in New Zealand over the past four months investigating the participation of New Zealanders in fixing “in more than one country.” The newspaper said the findings of the investigation would likely result “in the biggest sports scandal in New Zealand s history.”

In a statement, the ICC confirmed an investigation is underway.

“Following the publication of an article in a leading New Zealand newspaper earlier today, in which it is alleged that a small number of former New Zealand cricketers had engaged in fixing activity in historic cricket matches and were being investigated by the ICC s anti-corruption and security unit, the ICC confirms that it has indeed been working closely over the past few months with its colleagues in the domestic anti-corruption units of member boards to investigate these and related matters.

“The ICC and all of its members maintain a zero-tolerance attitude toward corruption in the sport and the ACSU will continue to collaborate with relevant individuals in order to complete its investigation process.”

The ICC said as the investigation remains ongoing and nobody has been charged with any offense, no further comment will be made by either the ICC and NZC.

NZC chief executive David White said his organization was aware the ICC “is investigating some former New Zealand cricketers.”

He said only a “small number” of players were involved.

“It s a difficult situation,” White said. “Unfortunately, we are not in a position to comment further and all inquiries have to be directed to the ICC.”

The Herald report said the ICC investigation was focused on “historic matches involving international stars.” It said the probe “has concentrated on cricket at a domestic or franchise level” and it was not known whether it would reveal any attempt to fix international matches.

The newspaper said none of the New Zealand players involved was still playing professionally.

The New Zealand government last week announced measures to combat drug taking, match fixing and the involvement of organized crime in sport, including the introduction of new laws which will make fixing a criminal offense. Those laws have yet to be enacted.

Former New Zealand test allrounder Jacob Oram, who played for several season in the Indian Premier League, said he is surprised New Zealanders are under investigation.

“In a way it s disappointing to think that if it does come out as correct that New Zealand is involved and potentially heavily involved in it…that s disappointing for New Zealand s reputation around the world,” he told LiveSport Radio.

“I just hope it s not…one of our greats or three of our greats and then everything you thought you know, your world would just get turned upside down.”

During an undercover investigation last year by Britain s Sunday Times, leading Indian bookmaker Vicky Seth told a reporter he had contact with New Zealand players.

“At the moment we ve got connections with New Zealanders,” Seth said.

He named two players whom he claimed to have met in Delhi in 2010 but the names have not been published.

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