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Nov 2, 2011

Salman Butt and Asif has found the duo guilty

In a development that is likely to have ramifications for far and long for cricket, the jury that heard the spot-fixing trial on Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif has found guilty. The now defunct News of the World tabloid had carried out the sting that implicated Asif, Butt and Mohammad Aamer a little over a year ago.

After the verdicts it was revealed that young bowler Mohammad Aamer pleaded guilty to the same charges two weeks before former captain Butt and paceman Asif went on trial at Southwark Crown Court in London.

Salman Butt was found guilty of cheating and of accepting money and Mohammad Asif has been found guilty of conspiracy to cheat. Butt now faces up to seven years in jail, while Asif could face upto 2 years in prison.

Prosecutors said Butt, Asif and Aamer conspired with British agent Mazher Majeed to bowl the no-balls as part of a plot that revealed "rampant corruption" at the heart of international cricket. Butt, 27, and Asif, 28, were each convicted of conspiracy to obtain or accept corrupt payments, and conspiracy to cheat at gambling. They had denied the charges.

The decision is a landmark one in many ways, not least because this is the first time that cricketers have been convicted by a court of law for on-field corruption. The jury didn't return an unanimous verdict on all counts, but reached a majority one on most counts after deliberating for more than 16 hours. According to television reports, the jury was also of the opinion that 'Salman Butt had lied throughout the trial'.

Butt was found guilty by a majority of 10-2 on the count of accepting corrupt payments. Both Butt and Asif were found guilty of a conspiracy to cheat by unanimous margins.

The International Cricket Council has already banned Butt for 10 years with five suspended, Asif for seven years with two suspended, and Aamer, 19, for five years straight after finding them guilty of corruption in February.

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