Chair of English soccer club caught up in Pakistan cricket scandal found dead of gunshot wound

Monday, October 4, 2010

Chair of soccer club in cricket scandal found dead

LONDON — David Le Cluse, the chairman of an English semiprofessional soccer club caught up in Pakistan’s cricket fixing scandal, has been found dead. He was 44.

The Croydon Athletic chairman is believed to have suffered a gunshot wound to the head in a garage near his home on Saturday, the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

“The circumstances of his death are being treated as unexplained. Inquiries are ongoing,” the statement added.

The Times newspaper on Monday reported Le Cluse’s death as an apparent suicide.

Le Cluse was appointed chairman of Croydon last November by club owner Mazhar Majeed, who was arrested in August on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud bookmakers following allegations that members of the Pakistan cricket team were involved in match fixing during their recent tour of England.

Majeed is alleged to have taken 150,000 pounds ($240,000) from British tabloid the News of the World in return for information about three Pakistan players — Salman Butt, Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif — ensuring that no-balls were deliberately bowled during the fourth test at Lord’s in August.

The newspaper also reported Majeed’s claims that he laundered millions of pounds through Croydon Athletic, quoting him as saying that was the “only reason” he bought the club in 2008.

Le Cluse confirmed last month that investigators from the British tax office had approached the club to look into the claims.

“He (Le Cluse) was very upset at the allegations and the club getting involved,” Croydon’s former manager, Tim O’Shea, told The Times.

Croydon released a statement saying the club was “deeply shocked and saddened by the sudden tragic death” of Le Cluse, a father of two.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with David’s wife and children, and we would ask everyone to respect their privacy at this devastating time for them,” the club statement said.

An autopsy examination is planned.

Majeed was released on bail after being questioned by police following the fixing allegations.

The three Pakistan players under investigation were charged and provisionally suspended under the International Cricket Council’s anti-corruption code. They all deny any wrongdoing.

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