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FeaturesMelting potPicture special: the ice cream parlour that WON’T clear Salman Butt’s name

Picture special: the ice cream parlour that WON’T clear Salman Butt’s name

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By Nick Harris

19 December 2010

Salman Butt, Pakistan’s suspended cricket captain, told Sky Sports News last week that some of the £29,000 cash found in his hotel room amid spot-fixing allegations at the Lord’s Test was from opening an ice-cream parlour called Afters, located in Tooting Bec, south London. That claim was widely reported, but when I went to parlour last week to check out the story, there were some clear anomalies.

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  • Afters’ manager, Naveed Mustaghpar, 35, told me that the grand opening never actually happened. Butt made no reference of any kind in his Sky interview that suggested the opening didn’t actually happen.
  • Mustaghpar said it had been planned for the last Sunday in August and that the whole Pakistan team were due to come along, but after the spot-fixing scandal broke on the Saturday night, he cancelled the event.
  • Mustaghpar said he had paid the money in cash in advance in any case, to the ‘fixer’ in the spot fix scandal, Mazhar Majeed, although he couldn’t remember clearly when he’d withdrawn £5,000 in cash, or why he’d provided it in advance, and said he hadn’t asked for a refund because Majeed was also an old friend.
  • Initially Mustaghpar said Majeed had no formal involvement in Afters, but after a check at Companies House showed Majeed had in fact been a director, Mustaghpar agreed Majeed had been a director.
  • If Salman Butt had explained to the Met Police that some of the cash (£2,500 of it, he says) had come from opening of the parlour (which didn’t happen), it might be reasonable to think the police had asked Mustaghpar to corroborate that story. “They haven’t been in touch with me at all,” the parlour owner told me.
  • The Met Police declined to comment in any detail although I was told: “Just because he says the police haven’t spoken to him doesn’t mean the police haven’t spoken to him.” Does this mean the police have spoken to him? “We’re not going to comment on an active investigation,” said the Met.
  • Mustaghpar said he’d approached Majeed to provide the players for the opening because the parlour is located in a neighbourhood with a large population from the sub-Continent.
  • He said he’d advertised the opening with a big banner which had been thrown away in a location he couldn’t recall. He said adverts had been placed about the opening on Sunrise local radio although the station has not yet been able to confirm this.

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Butt was suspended after reports that an alleged fixer, his Croydon-based agent Majeed, accepted £150,000 in return for arranging three no-balls in the Test, bowled by Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif – also now suspended – in a match when Butt was Pakistan’s captain.

Three further players – understood to be Shoaib Malik, Kamran Akmal and Danish Kaneria – are also being probed by Pakistan for alleged fixing in the past.

Butt says the cash in his room came from daily expenses (£11,000 in total), captain’s extras (£4,500), the opening of the Afters parlour in Tooting (£2,500) and from bat sponsorship (the balance).

Notes linked by dye markings to the cash Majeed accepted for fixing the no balls were paid by Majeed for opening the parlour, he says.

Afters (main counter below right) has a branded Harley Davidson in the window (below left). It doesn’t work because its engine has been removed.

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2013-05-28 11:34:43