COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO CRICKET MATCH FIXING AND RELATED MATTERS
HELD ON: 23-06-2000
AT THE CENTRE OF THE BOOK
MS BATOHI: The next witness is Mr Aronstam, Mr Commissioner. He will be lead by his counsel or attorney, I'm not sure who.
COMMISSION ADJOURNS FOR A SHORT WHILE
MARLON ARONSTAM: (sworn states)
COMMISSIONER: Carry on.
MR MANCA: Mr Commissioner I just noticed that Mr Dickerson wasn't here and I do think it's important, with respect that he is here to hear this evidence. As I interjected he walked in, but he admits that he wasn't here.
EXAMINATION BY MR BLUMBERG: Mr Commissioner, before I start leading Mr Aronstam, I want to place on record that I have - we have prepared a statement, copies of which have been circulated. A copy has been given to Mr Bacon for - the original, Sir, before - which I ask leave to hand in, Sir. I propose getting Mr Aronstam to read out his statement. But prior to reading out his statement, I would like to place on record a few facts leading up to the making of the statement, Sir.
Sir, I would like to place on record that Mr Aronstam was contacted on Wednesday the 14th of June by members of the investigation team who requested an interview with him. They advised him to contact an attorney to arrange a meeting, and intimated they would be prepared to travel to Johannesburg to interview him. Mr Aronstam contacted us who were in Cape Town on behalf of Mr Hamid, and as both we were busy in Cape Town, suggested that we would arrange the meeting in Cape Town and that Mr Aronstam should come to Cape Town, which he did.
On Thursday afternoon we had an extensive meeting with Messrs Boto and Dawes of the investigation team, and a long session of questioning and answers were given, Sir. We then returned to Johannesburg and undertook to supply a statement to the investigating team. We consulted briefly, both on Saturday and Sunday, we were restricted because of Mr Aronstam's business by race meetings, obviously so, and eventually when we returned on Monday evening, we waited for a draft statement. As the Commission was due to have started on the Monday, we only returned for the Tuesday, Sir.
A draft statement was prepared by my counsel Mr Woods in Johannesburg, and sent up by telefax to us. This statement was in fact only signed, Sir, at - a further meeting, Sir, was held with Ms Batohi and the investigating team, where a draft copy of the statement was handed to them, Sir.
At no stage, and we made it clear at that meeting to the investigation team, that this was a full and comprehensive version of the questions and answers that were given at the initial interview, Sir. And I would be amplifying on these issues as I lead Mr Aronstam through his evidence. Thank you, Sir.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you. Well, please proceed then Mr Blumberg.
MR BLUMBERG: Mr Aronstam, before we actually start reading this particular statement, I think it would be appropriate to possibly set out your insight into the gambling on sport ...(intervention)
MS BATOHI: I'm not sure if the witness has been sworn in.
MR BLUMBERG: Sorry, may I continue? Proceed to give us insight into sports betting, particularly with regard to cricket, as to where the big money is, the major markets are and the type of betting, particularly with regard to international cricket.
MR ARONSTAM: Commissioner, sports betting is relatively small compared to the rest of the world. Sports betting in cricket is more similar to trading stocks, shares, derivatives, based on the open market, especially in the sub-continent. Sport betting in the U.K. has been going for many years, and is very big, but it's the type of betting where you actually are gambling. Cricket in the sub-continent is not a gamble. You base it in exact same way, a person wants to buy, sell a Rand/Dollar. That's how they trade in a game of cricket.
South Africa plays a very, very small role in sports betting. Spread betting is very minimal. You cannot go and get a big bet on a spread with any firm in anywhere in the world, be it South Africa or the U.K. I remember I was over in the U.K. a while ago with friends of mine, they had information that Pakistan - that the spin bowler for Pakistan who often opens the batting, Shaheed Afride (?), he would not feature much in the U.K. in the World Cup. They tried to get a big bet for the first 15 overs, that he was given 10 Pounds per run short. In the U.K. that's a very small bet.
You cannot get anywhere in the world big betting on spreads, so it's been a fallacy throughout this whole Commission that you could go and pull coups and win a lot of money on spread markets. It's impossible, if anybody thinks they can do it, let them prove it.
In South Africa the spread firms will take an average of between maybe - between R50 to R300 per run, maximum. And it's only if they have position both ways. So one guy is on the one phone going high, and one's going low. Niel Andrews did give you guys an in-depth version of spread betting, so I'm not going to go into that in detail. But you cannot get a big bet.
I started a company called National Sporting Index, they won't take a big bet either. If somebody has to come in and wants to place a big bet, they are suspicious. Something is wrong. A guy might know something. So there's no way that anybody will accept a big bet and people can win a lot of money. The only place you can win a lot of money on cricket is in the sub-continent. Where it's traded like you're buying and selling currencies, future options, et cetera.
The market moves ball-by-ball. For example, if the opening betting on a one-day match, if the prices started off as people - I don't know if everybody understands the terms here, but if the match started at 5 to 10, meaning that you put place R10 to win R5 on the favourite, converse you'd be able to lay back 55 in 100 the opposition. So what they're saying to you is they're prepared to give you 5 to 10, or take 5.5 from you. Same as if you're going to buy and sell the Rand/Dollar, they'll quote you 7, 701. You can either go low at 7 or high at 701 at the moment. Exact same scenario. That is where the big money is.
In India there is no spread-betting. There's line betting. Line betting is maybe 1% of the outcome to win a match. There is no betting in India on a batsman's market. That's a fallacy. Anybody who's told this Commission you can get a big bet in India on a batsman to be in our out, 20 runs for Gibbs, doesn't exist. That's absolute nonsense.
So the only way you can really make money on cricket is to buy and sell the market. So when you're coming in, the probability is when - in this transcript, even though it's not recorded, et cetera - when they say, 'Will Gibbs go out?', the reason they're asking 'Will Gibbs go out?', is 'cause he could possibly back in that instance, as it was discussed, he could back India, knowing that if Gibbs is going to go out, he would be able to buy and sell, very quickly, and make a profit. So just before Gibbs is going to go out, you'd say Gibbs could be on 18, he'd then back India. And as Gibbs wicket falls, the price of South Africa will increase drastically because a wicket has fallen. Should Gibbs have continued batting aggressively, the price of South Africa would have shortened drastically.
So there is - so that is where the money is made in cricket. The markets in South Africa are irrelevant. They're not even worth - they're not worth speaking about. You've got four bookmakers here. If the company I was with wouldn't accept a bet, well then, you'll get really Mickey Mouse bets. I shouldn't use the word terminology 'Mickey', very small bets. So ...(intervention)
MR BLUMBERG: Mr Aronstam, just explain the difference between spread betting and line betting.
MR ARONSTAM: In India they have what they call a line bet. A line bet is based on - in a One-day match. Sometimes in the One-day games there's not much action while the first team are batting, so it can get a bit boring for the guys that are following the game. So they will set, after the first five overs of seeing how the wicket is playing, they'll set a line, call it 250. You can bet higher or lower of th figure of 250, and the price changes all the time. It could open up in the beginning, call it 9 to 10 in the pair. For those of you who don't know what 9 to 10 in the pair means, you're placing R10 to win 9, on either side. If you're going to go high and the team starts to go very quickly and scoring well, obviously the price of high will go down, and the price of under will go up. And there is often a big swing in a match, but even in that market it is very small. It is just done basically by people there to keep people interested while the game - when nothing's really happening.
So that is the only type of runs market bet that you will get in India. There is no spreads.
MR BLUMBERG: Fine. Now will you please now proceed to read your statement there before you?
MR ARONSTAM: "I the undersigned, Marlon Aronstam, an
adult male, aged 35 years, state as follows:
For approximately the last 18 years I have been involved in the betting industry, which is mostly related to horse racing, up and until the time sports betting became legal in the Republic of South Africa.
I was previously one of the founder members of National Sporting Index, which is a company listed on the venture capital board of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. I was one of the traders as well as advisors on betting, both in respect of horse racing as well as various other sports.
I left the said business at the end of March 2000. At the time of the fifth test between England and South Africa in particular, because of adverse weather conditions, the final test was heading for a draw. Utilising my knowledge of cricket and remembering some of the four day games in South Africa, for example, Northern Transvaal and Natal, as well as certain English county games, I realised that perhaps there was a possibility of the test match still being concluded."
MR BLUMBERG: Could I just interpose there? Now, with that thought in mind, that obviously at that stage you didn't think there would be a possible result in the test match. Is that correct?
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MR BLUMBERG: It was impossible to get a result. Now what benefits would the recommencement of the test match and a possible result be to you personally in a financial way?
MR ARONSTAM: Sorry, I didn't hear you properly.
COMMISSIONER: Sorry, Mr Blumberg. You - ja, then it'll come through more clearly. You looked as if you were hearing and listening intelligently. (laughs) Repeat the question, please.
MR BLUMBERG: What I would like you to explain to the Commissioner is what benefit you personally would have financially by getting a result in that particular game.
MR ARONSTAM: I - when I had the idea in mind I thought I could make a lot of money. I thought that if they would be able to go and construct and get the game on the ground, I'd be able to back South Africa, and back England, at high prices, the next day I'd be able to back the draw, and I'd back all three results, and I'd make money.
MR BLUMBERG: Would you please explain how that works?
COMMISSIONER: Slowly, please. (general laughter)
MR ARONSTAM: Well, because of my knowledge in betting, I knew that I'd probably be able to back at approximately - I hadn't even worked it out yet, but I thought I might be able to get 20 to 1 about South Africa, possibly 20 to 1 about England. If the match started the next morning, the draw would still be the favourite, which it was, but I'd be able to back the draw, possibly at say even money, and if you back 20 to 1, and 20 to 1 and even money, you'd probably be looking for about 40% profit in return, probably even 45% profit in return of your investments in the way you structured your book.
MR BLUMBERG: Right, then you had another motive as well for getting this game started. What was that?
MR ARONSTAM: I had met ...(intervention)
MR BLUMBERG: Proceed with your statement.
MR ARONSTAM: I had met certain members of the Balmy- Army, which is, for people who don't know, is a travelling group of English supporters, at a bar in Johannesburg. And some of them that came out here had been out here before, and the last time they'd been to Pretoria and there was no cricket. And we were talking and they were angry. They said, 'Geez, every time I come to South Africa, I come to watch cricket and it's washed out.' And I was saying, I said, 'Geez, it's not all over. There's still a chance of getting a result. There's still a chance of having a game.'
And I said, 'I remember a game between Northern Transvaal and Natal, I was staying in a hotel in Durban', and I remember in the lift the night before saying to one of the players, 'You just going through the motions again.' The guy said, 'No. We're going to get a result. Tomorrow they're going to declare, the other team's going to declare and we need a result, either way. A draw doesn't help either team.' And that was in back of my mind.
I said, 'If only I could get hold of Hansie Cronjé, there's a possibility that he's prepared to make a result.' And, I'm not a shy person in life, I decided, 'Let's try and get hold of the Captain himself, and tell him that he had' - that - the truth is that the United Cricket Board, I think they should have thought about the suggestion, that they'd had a meeting from, I gather, the day before and they should have come up with the idea that this is a good way to solve the game of cricket. Cricket in general, the test matches in South Africa produces very poor crowds, as opposed to other countries. And test cricket in South Africa, in my opinion, is a dying sport anyway, which is sad.
So I went ahead and I obtained Hansie's number, and pursued the matter to contact Hansie. I phoned Hansie on his cellphone, I told him that my name was Marlon Aronstam and that I had a good suggestion for him to consider. This phone call never lasted more than, I'd say, two-and-half to three minutes.
I asked him why it was not possible to declare as South Africa were batting, the English could then declare, and he could consider setting them a target in approximately 250 runs and how ever many overs he thought would be necessary and at what rate. He liked my idea, asked me for my cell number and said he would call me back in the morning. I gave him my mobile number, being 083 263 3481. During the course of the conversation, I said to him that if he can arrange for the test match to be concluded on the basis of my suggestion, I would consider arranging the amount of approximately R200 000 for a charity of his choice. My idea was to raise money for the United Cricket Board Development Fund.
Approximately 10 to 15 minutes after I had spoken to Mr Hansie Cronjé, I phoned him back and I asked him whether it would not be possible for me to see him that evening. He told me that he was staying at the Sandton Sun, and he gave me his room number. We made an arrangement to meet at approximately 9:30-pm. He called me back at a later stage and asked me whether or not we could make it approximately 10-pm, as he had other arrangements.
I went to the Sandton Sun hotel, went up to MR CRONJE's room, introduced myself and he invited me in. We thereafter discussed my idea for the declaration with the English test side, and after debating it, we also started discussing various aspects of cricket in general, including some of the test matches that had played.
I'm very sure that in MR CRONJE's testimony when he brought up the issue of New Zealand at Eden Garden, I think I - that came up because of me. I brought that up to him, I said to him that night, 'Hansie, this was you. You were such a positive Captain in that series. You didn't have to go around making a declaration against New Zealand. You set the most attacking field possible, and that's the only reason how you beat New Zealand.'
And he was amazed at how I came up with all this thing, and he probably thought to himself that over the last few years he had been negative, as was pertained in the Press.
I ventured my opinion to him that from the cricketing public point of view, as well as my own opinion, it appeared that his recent image as the Captain of the national side was not good. That he was playing negative cricket. His recent own form was not good. The South African run-rate had become very slow and I was of the opinion that in several of the test matches his attitude had been very negative.
He listened to what I had to say, and then we discussed the final test against England at Centurion. I said to him that if my suggestion for the declaration was taken up, it would not make any difference as South Africa had already won the series and whether it was a win or lose situation, the whole image as a cricketing Captain would be enhanced."
I left out the word 'draw', win, lose or draw. And for that matter you can add in the word 'tie' as well, 'cause that was also really part of the result.
We also discussed that it was obviously dependant on a full day of cricket being played, especially in view of the inclement weather conditions that had been over Gauteng for some time.
I further discussed with MR CRONJE that if the declarations took place, it would be for the very first time in test match history that it had ever been done. I'm not sure whether MR CRONJE was aware that it had never been done before. I myself was also aware that the ICC had recently amended their rules to allow for declaration in test matches without either side facing a ball.
In the past, from what I've been told, you had to go out and bat, at least face a ball, that would incur wasting 10 minutes per innings. So the ICC actually had changed the rules to allow for this type of declaration, and it seemed strange that it had never happened in 100 years of cricket.
I asked MR CRONJE why he had not discussed the matter with Nasser Hussein, the English Captain, and he said he was too late.
I never asked him to phone, to call Nasser Hussein to the room. I asked him to make a phone call to him to ask him would he be interested, and he said he would talk about it in the morning.
I replied that he should put the idea about the declaration to Nasser Hussein, and if Nasser Hussein declined to accept the declaration then it would be seen as him being the very negative person, Captain. Our conversation thereafter turned to various other aspects of cricket in general, and I reminded him about one of the earlier games that I had followed between New Zealand and South Africa a few years before. I pointed out to him that he had set New Zealand a reasonable target, which he had done, and I pointed out to him that his captaincy and attitude at that stage was very positive, and that his field placings were good and that they allowed for runs to be conceded. However, wickets also fell.
New Zealand had taken up the challenge which was set to them and were bowled out. I told him that in fact this was one of the most unbelievable games of cricket that he had ever played in. I further said to him that as there was no betting on the game because of the status that had now been reached, I wouldn't be in a position to make any donation to charity."
The betting around the world - I had made some phone calls and the betting was suspended. There was no betting. In fact, you'll find out later when you cross-question me, the betting in the U.K. was suspended and never, ever even reopened on the last day.
I believe the figure that I had mentioned was approximately R200 000. The matter was never discussed any further.
I then got up to leave the room, and as I was leaving MR CRONJE said to me how was it possible for him to make any money out of cricket. I replied saying, 'The ball is in your court.'"
MR BLUMBERG: Mr Aronstam, will you just stop there, please. Did you at this stage make any mention of a gift to MR CRONJE?
MR ARONSTAM: Never.
MR BLUMBERG: Was there any discussion or suggestion from MR CRONJE about One-day internationals?
MR ARONSTAM: MR CRONJE started discussing with me the possibilities of making money in cricket, and started mentioning that the possibility exists in way of throwing a match. And I was shocked. I said in my statement to the Prosecutor, Shamila, I said, 'It's easy for me to come here today and tell people that the South African Captain had known me for less than one hour, and was telling me that he could throw a game of cricket.' I said, 'Who's going to believe me?'
I found out today, there's a - on the Internet there's a - they're trying to get percentages of who believes Marlon, who believes Hansie. And the percentages are coming very close. So - ...(intervention)
COMMISSIONER: Keep talking, Mr Aronstam. (general laughter)
MR ARONSTAM: So what I'm saying is, people you can believe it or not, I was shocked. And I told - I can still remember telling friends - a couple of friends of mine. I've always told people in the past, 'I've heard that the South African team could be involved in throwing of matches', and they used to say to me, 'You're crazy. Don't be stupid.' I said, 'Well, that's the rumour that I've heard.'
And that night, when I came out from the hotel and I phoned certain friends of mine, I said to them, 'Don't tell me I'm crazy. I've just left the Captain of South African cricket's room, and the man basically told me he's prepared to throw a match.' I even had dinner with my counsel one night, he also told me I was crazy. He said, 'How is it possible?' He says, 'You talk nonsense.' I'm Jewish and I went for Shabat dinner, and I told him the story. He said, 'Marlon, you talk nonsense.' A week ago he apologised.
So I was shocked. The only thing I did say to Hansie is, 'You could make money out of supplying me pitch reports.' And in view of my position in cricket, for me, pitch reports are more important then anything, especially if they come from who I regard as one of the best players in the world, and the best judges of world cricket, Hansie Cronjé. So - .
MR BLUMBERG: Proceed to paragraph 24.
MR BLUMBERG: "I then got up to leave the room, and as I
was leaving MR CRONJE said to me how was it possible for him to make any money out of cricket. I replied saying, 'The ball is in your court. Pitch reports are worth money.'"
Implying that I'm prepared to pay for pitch reports.
MR BLUMBERG: What is the import of the pitch report as far as you are concerned? How does that assist you in your betting scenario?
MR ARONSTAM: Well, when you're betting on a One-day game of cricket, as I said to you, One-day cricket is not about - in the U.K. they'll quote you a price of 4 to 10 - 6 to 10, 11 to 10. Very difficult to trade cricket in the U.K. and make a profit out of it. But if you have access to overseas other markets, and you bet - they're trading the market in a very good way where you can buy and sell quickly, to get a very good guide of where the game's going to, either the spread et cetera, it's very good to know the pitch report. Certain pitches will show to you that they're going - the score's going to be very high. But in the first 15 overs, it looks like it's going to be a very high score, but the minute the ball gets a bit older, the score starts coming backwards, the team will reel them in. But it's only because of the first 15 overs and the ball's hard that they can actually score runs. Certain pitches you'll be able - are very good batting wickets and people score many runs. So if you have the information of a pitch report from the Captain himself, it will really help you if you want to trade a game of cricket and set the odds. So for my money, the most important thing for me is a pitch report. I've got no desire to know from the Captain who's going to win or lose the game. I want to know the pitch report.
MR BLUMBERG: Mr Aronstam, would you regard Hansie Cronjé, on particularly South African pitches as probably the expert on pitches?
MR ARONSTAM: Well, Hansie's so knowledgeable it's frightening. The people, the public, don't even really understand what a good Captain Hansie was. He won games for us where no other Captain would ever have won them.
Half the reports that are given on the pitch reports, they're good, but to get a report from a man who's played for the last 10 years on all these pitches around the country, with him making a decision, as far as I'm concerned that's worth more than any TV commentators report, who's going out there, doesn't know the pitch well, just goes and looks at it, he looks at it at a glance and makes his report. A man like Hansie knows the pitch, as far as I'm concerned, even though he said in his statement here he doesn't supply such good pitch reports, I use the - the way he give me a pitch report, I use it to my advantage and I use my own brains to decide on his report.
Sometimes I might think he might have made a mistake, but in general his pitch reports were good.
MR BLUMBERG: Right. Will you proceed now what happened after you left the hotel?
MR ARONSTAM: "I did not hear from MR CRONJE the next
morning, so at approximately 9:15-am I called him. He told me he was very sorry, he had tried his best, but Nasser Hussein the England Captain was not interested in the suggestion of the declaration.
At a later stage that morning, I received a phone call from a friend of mine that he was at the Centurion ground and there in fact was a game of cricket on between England and South Africa. I thereafter got up, got into my motor vehicle together with another friend of mine and travelled to Centurion in order to watch the game.
While travelling to the ground, my cellphone made a strange noise, and I suddenly saw that I had what I now know to be an SMS message from Hansie, with the words to the effect, 'Be patient. I'll try and get the game.'
I watched the game, which turned out to be one of the most exciting games in test match history, eventually won by England."
I think it's very relevant, even though it's not in my statement, that the actual betting on this game - there was no betting in London, there was no betting in India. London kept the betting closed the whole day. I phoned a company called Victor Chandler to ask then are they betting. The answer was no, no staff were at the company to bet on it. It was a shock around the world that this match had actually - the declaration had happened, so there was no staff in most places in the world to bet. The majority of the - of friends of mine, the associates that I do have in India, told me all the bookmakers had disappeared on holiday as they never expected any match. The only place that really started opening up betting was South Africa, I would say about an hour after the match had started, in a very small way.
So rumours have circulated around the country that the company that I was working for stood to lose 3, 4, R5-m on the draw. Well, people like to spread rumours. It's the most nonsense story out. From day one of this test match, the day before it started to rain, the morning of the test match it was raining and I think the players only got on the field on day one maybe at 3:30, 4 o'clock in the afternoon.
So while there was no - there was basically no betting on this match the whole first day. The second day was washed out totally, the third day was washed out and the fourth day was washed out. So when people come and say, 'Ooh, geez, you stood to lose 3, R4-m on the draw and this is what you've done this for', it's a total fallacy. The company that I did work for at the time have submitted the field sheet to the Gauteng Horse Racing Gambling Board, a copy of the disk. I'm happy to - anybody to challenge all the bets struck there.
This must have been the lowest ever amount of bets ever struck on a cricket match. I would say if there - up until the lunchtime on the fifth day, but prior that if there were a handful of bets, it was a lot. People say that you could have got big bets on with bookmakers. Bookmakers are not going to go and take bets on a game where they can see the weather. We contact the weather bureau every hour for a weather report. We check to make sure that we're not going to get caught by people that might think that they know the weather more than us.
I have in my phone a list of every single weather bureau around the world, which I check to find out the information regarding test matches and how the weather will play a role in the test. I even recall going over to England, in the match between England and New Zealand at the Oval, where certain people said, what, am I going over to England to watch the weather? I said, 'Yes'. And they were surprised. The weather forecast was it was going to rain solidly for the whole test. I said I don't totally believe it always rains - it will rain in London on and off but I am sure there is still a chance of getting a game. I arrived there to watch the weather in England myself. Everybody who lived in London said it's going to rain for the next five days. There wasn't a drop of rain from the morning of the start of the game till the end of the game.
So it's not that, you can't just take certain matches for granted on rain. And I went over hopefully also to get a pitch report. I arrived at the Oval the day before to watch the cricket, get the weather report and check the pitch. I went, I found the - I walked into the Oval, I got hold of the Groundsman, I spoke to the Groundsman and he told me the pitch report. He told me this was a very good wicket for losing of wickets. He said, 'This will not be a five day game. This game will end within four days.' He was spot on. Funnily enough, the groundsman who told me was not the Head Groundsman, he was an ex-South African living in London. So that's just to emphasise how important pitch reports are.
MR BLUMBERG: Were you prepared to pay Hansie any money for these pitch reports?
MR ARONSTAM: Sorry, once again, I forgot to turn the - .
MR BLUMBERG: Were you prepared to pay Hansie Cronjé money for these pitch reports?
MR ARONSTAM: I was definitely prepared to pay Hansie Cronjé for pitch reports.
MR BLUMBERG: And did you in fact pay him?
MR ARONSTAM: I paid Hansie Cronjé R50 000 for pitch reports.
MR BLUMBERG: And was that made clear to Hansie Cronjé, that that was the money - the object of giving him that money?
MR ARONSTAM: That was made clear to Hansie Cronjé, the R50 000 is for pitch reports and further information that he could supply, possibly if he's out the country, if he'd even tell me what the weather was like. But you definitely need, if you're involved in cricket, the more information you can get about the pitch and the weather is very important.
You could be - there was a game - I'll give you some other instance. There was a game in Sri Lanka, Australia were playing Sri Lanka in a place called Gally,(?) and I remember calling the hotel, 1 o'clock in the morning from South Africa, 3 o'clock in the morning, 9 o'clock South African time, and the answer was, 'No problem, they'll get a full day's play.' They walked on the field, and as they walked on the field the heavens opened and not another ball was bowled.
So if you do have somebody that might be able to assist you in other countries with the pitch report and with the weather conditions, it's a very big help. And that is the reason I paid Hansie Cronjé R50 000.
MR BLUMBERG: Did you receive any gratuity from Hansie for giving him advice, or the suggestion of the declaration?
MR ARONSTAM: Sorry, I didn't understand properly.
MR BLUMBERG: Did you receive anything from Hansie in return for your so-called advice regarding this particular declaration? At Centurion, for yourself, did he give you anything? Did you ask him for anything?
MR ARONSTAM: I never got nothing from Hansie, no.
MR BLUMBERG: Except the jersey.
MR ARONSTAM: Oh, yeah, sorry. Sorry, I forgot. Sorry. I asked Hansie would it be possible to get - as what happened was, the next day in the newspaper exactly what I thought. Every single newspaper said Hansie is the hero, Hansie this, Hansie, that. And deep down I said, 'You know what? He's getting all the credit, but at the end of the day it should be my credit, because this is all my idea.' And I said to him, 'Would it be possible to get your jersey, signed by all the players and given to me as a souvenir?'
So the night that I went back - the first time that I went and I only gave Hansie the 30 000 was because I couldn't get enough cash at the bank that day. Normally in today's times because of the way we live, bank's don't just keep that type of cash on hand. So I gave him the first 30 000, I went back the next night with another 20, and there it was. My shirt was signed, autographed by all the players, and I said, 'At least I've got a souvenir of the ...(intervention)
COMMISSIONER: The most expensive cricket shirt in Christendom, I should think. We'll take the adjournment now.
COMMISSION ADJOURNS AT 13H02
ON RESUMPTION AT 14H05
MARLON ARONSTAM: (s.u.o.)
COMMISSIONER: Mr Blumberg.
EXAMINATION BY MR BLUMBERG: (cont)
Thank you, Mr Commissioner.
Mr Aronstam, will you please continue reading from your statement, I think you're up to paragraph 30.
"I phoned Hansie Cronjé that evening and we discussed the game. He was of the opinion that if Paul Adams had not broken his fingers, South Africa would have won. He was also of the opinion that aside from Paul Adams, if towards the end he had given away a single and put the new bats on the strike, they might have been able to get the final wickets, but at that stage every run counted. We all know that Allan Mullally is not that good with the bat.
It turned out in the press that the declaration Hansie Cronjé had made, including the fact that he was declared man of the match, that he was indeed a cricketing hero and he had restored his image in the game of cricket.
I phoned MR CRONJE the following day and he thanked me for my idea and said that basically he owed it all to me. I asked MR CRONJE if it was possible for me to come and see him at the hotel and he agreed. I went to the hotel and I gave him an amount of R30 000 in cash and told him I would bring him another R20 000, and that this money was for the one-day test series in which I requested him to provide me with pitch reports. I also requested him for his cricket jersey to be signed by all the players, which he arranged for me.
The next day I met him again at the hotel, where I gave him the balance of the R20 000 in cash and he handed me the jersey signed by all the South African players. We also discussed the upcoming triangular series in South Africa, and I discussed with MR CRONJE the system of having a pinch hit(?) in the side. I told him that Australia had been very successful in using Adam Gilchrist, and due to the fact that they were going to be playing Australia very shortly, they need to come up with some idea of how to beat the Australians.
I was indeed very surprised when in one of the one-day games, the game after we'd just discussed this, a wicket fell and out came Mark Boucher to bat. And one of my friends called me, he said "Marlon, are the new South African coach?" This did not work at this particular game, but we still discussed it with each other over the telephone that it was worth a try and South Africa still got a good score.
For the rest of the one-day series I'd received regular SMS electronic reports on my cellphone from Hansie Cronjé, about the pitch."
MR BLUMBERG: Mr Aronstam, now with regard to the amount of money, the R50 000 you had paid to him, would you have paid him the R50 000 if there had been no declaration at Centurion?
MR ARONSTAM: Definitely. With the information that I believed I could get from Hansie Cronjé, it was worth every cent.
MR BLUMBERG: Fine, carry on please.
"I further phoned MR CRONJE and asked him, when he was in Johannesburg again for the last one-day game at the Wonderers, whether it would be possible for me to bring my son to have breakfast with him at the hotel. I met him together with my young son for breakfast and I gave him a further amount of R3 000 in cash, together with a ladies black leather jacket for his wife, which was mainly due to the fact that he had given me some very good and well judged pitch reports in the one-day series.
Particularly noticeable was a pitch report in Port Elizabeth, where he told me that it's a very dry wicket and will take turn and a good score will anything over 220. At one stage 250 looked on the cards, but as the wicket got a bit older and drier, the ball was very difficult to get away. The pitch report was superb."
MR BLUMBERG: Did you benefit financially as a result of this good information?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes, I made money that - I made money on the game and that's where I decided, in nature of the pitch report, he deserves an extra bonus.
MR BLUMBERG: Carry on.
"That was the last time I had any physical contact with MR CRONJE.
I thereafter had further telephonic contact with MR CRONJE, and this included prior to the test series in India. We discussed various tactics in cricket and he mentioned the uphill battle that faced South Africa as nobody had beaten India on home soil for approximately the last 20 years, if my memory is correct.
We also discussed why South Africa did not win the series in 1996. We discussed in detail why they didn't win, because in 1996 the South African team, the bowling attack was much weaker than in the year 2000, and I was adamant to him that South Africa will win the test series."
If you compare the team of 2000 to 1996, much, much stronger I - in 1996 certain players even went home injured. And no disrespect to Clive Eksteen(?), he's not as good as Paul Adams when it comes to taking wickets. And I was so confident, I said to him "Hansie, I'm telling you, you guys are gonna win the test series." And we discussed every single night, at the end of the test match night we would discuss the day's play and I'd keep reassuring him that they're gonna win the test series and our relationship became really a very good relationship."
MR BLUMBERG: Yes, carry on.
"We thereafter discussed that one of the most important factors was that everybody believed that the wickets in India played to spin bowling, whereas in fact, the pace attack that South Africa had would in fact be one of the key factors in order to ensure success. I proved to him it's a fallacy that spin bowling only gets wickets and that you can win with seam bowling.
I spoke to MR CRONJE in India. This was normally not very late at night, as he liked to have an early night while on tour. Or he might have been hiding. Maybe he didn't want to take calls after a certain time, because every time I used to try and call him after half past ten, the answer was "MR CRONJE is not taking anymore calls." I tried to call him in the evening and the answer was "MR CRONJE's gone to sleep."
I recall that in regard to one of the games in India, we discussed the pitch report when I asked him to verify by physical examination, which he thereafter did.
I also wish to state further that when I left the message for MR CRONJE in India, with the operator at the hotel, I would never use my own name, I used to use the name of Anthony."
MR BLUMBERG: Mr Aronstam, why did you choose to use a false name when leaving a message for MR CRONJE?
MR ARONSTAM: The reason I used another name is because - because MR CRONJE was supplying me with information, I thought it had nothing to do with anybody else regarding that I got the information and if it got out to other bookmakers that I was getting information, well then I definitely wouldn't be able to get a bet, and the information to me was most important. When you want to do something it's better to have the edge. And in view of that, in case somebody else had saw the message that Marlon is in contact, that would have spread around very quickly that Marlon is in contact with the South African captain. So I said to him "If you ever get a message from me, I'm going to leave it as Anthony and you'll know that I called."
MR BLUMBERG: Please carry on.
"After South Africa won the series in India, I asked a friend of mine in India to send a basket of fruit to Hansie Cronjé and congratulated him for winning the series.
In one of my telephonic conversations with MR CRONJE, I told him that at the time that they were playing in India, I myself was going to India on business as I was looking for software for gambling purposes, and he said to me that I should consider coming to Cochin for the one day. He intimated to me that South Africa might lose the first one-day in Cochin, but they would still win the series in any event, as this was only the first one-day match.
Prior to the match in Cochin, about a week before he told me that if I'm only coming to India for cricket, that definitely he would not lose the game in Cochin. He said that's definitely not on the cards. And I told him I'm not only coming to India for cricket, I'm coming on other business and I'm still coming to Bombay to look at software.
I phoned him after the Cochin game however, he was very indifferent to me on the phone and I did not speak to him again. The next telephonic contact that I had with Mr Hansie Cronjé, was a few days after this matter became public. When we spoke and I gave him my new telephone number, being - I'm not going to repeat it because when I last repeated the number, since then everyone's being phoning that number on air. So I don't want to repeat it in front of the public.
He also gave me a new mobile number ..." ...(intervention)
COMMISSIONER: We'll keep it secret, Mr Aronstam, all 55 of us.
MR ARONSTAM: Well it's on air and my wife's been receiving a lot of phone calls since it went over the air.
"He also gave a new mobile number to call him, which I think is: 082-something-something-something. We thereafter kept in telephonic contact and we used the names Boet and Boetie with each other."
MR BLUMBERG: Why did you use that Boet and Boetie?
MR ARONSTAM: Well it came to a stage where once all this knowledge became common practice etcetera, Hansie was very nervous of what had transpired and we didn't know what could happen, people could be tapping phones etcetera, etcetera, and he asked me to - we'd get to a situation - I was going to go Bloemfontein to meet MR CRONJE, Hansie, and discuss this matter in-depth and that we'd have our ducks together to answer to any questions and we then came that we'll use the codename Boet and Boetie on each other's cellphone in case they might be being tapped.
MR BLUMBERG: Did you every go to meet MR CRONJE anywhere?
MR ARONSTAM: No, I never went. We just spoke about - I was going to meet him in Bloemfontein, something happened that I didn't go. Then I was going to meet him in Maritzburg. I got a phone call from a guy saying "I have a message from Boet for you, the meeting in Maritzburg is off." We were not gonna meet and we never met.
MR BLUMBERG: Do you have any idea what he was doing in Maritzburg?
MR ARONSTAM: He was writing exams. Hansie's been studying and he told me he has to go down to write some exams, so I went down - I didn't go down, he told me, because I was going to make arrangements to go down and meet and the message was "He will contact you shortly."
MR BLUMBERG: Please continue.
"During one of our telephonic conversations he asked me why I had a new mobile number and he also questioned me about NSI. It was obvious from the questions that he asked me, that he had a private investigator checking on me as well as on my phone numbers. He found out that I had some shares registered in NSI, and that was the first time that basically the word NSI had ever come into existence. I explained to him that I used to work for NSI previously.
I wish to state further that in all my discussions with Mr Hansie Cronjé, relating to cricket and cricket related matters, it was all done by myself and at no stage did it have anything to do with National Sporting Index.
I'll further give evidence to the Commission - I have further given evidence to the Commission relating to cricket matches and have explained the difference between what is commonly known as spread betting and line betting.
I've also explained to the Commission different things about fixed odds betting and have given evidence to the Commission that there is betting up until the last ball of any match, that it's exciting up until the last ball.
Betting took place on that fifth test in Pretoria, up until basically the very last ball. There's never ever been a more - since I think Allan Donald was given LWB out, I think in a test in Durban, if my memory serves me - I'm not sure that my information's correct, Donald was given out in the last half an hour of a test match and we all know that he wasn't out, that this was probably the most exciting test since that day.
And in the match in Pretoria all four results were always alive. Even in the last ten minutes of the game, the draw was well in the betting. Had South Africa decided probably to bowl very negatively, then it probably would have been a draw, but knowing Hansie's favour, he probably didn't want a draw, he wanted to go for the win. All they had to do was get into Mullally, and that would have probably been the end.
I further explained in regards to a question of betting in cricket, the amount of skill and knowledge that is required, which is in the same vein as trading on the stock exchange.
I will further explain to the Commission the particular role of bookmaker and what the position is if a an exceptionally large bet is placed on a particular game or outcome."
MR BLUMBERG: You have already told the Commission that, haven't you? The effect of a big bet and what ...(intervention)
MR ARONSTAM: Not quite. If, for example - we know now that the world cup bid for South Africa - for the world cup bid is coming out now, in the next few days we'll know which country is going to win the bid, if everybody goes back to recall when the Olympic bid was on, around the world people the day before it was announced which country had won the Olympic bid, when Cape Town was vying for the Olympics, a lot of money was being tried to put onto Greece, onto Athens. Nobody could get that money on, somebody had already leaked the information out and the money could not be placed on Athens. Around the world everyone was saying "What price Athens, what price Athens?" But in South Africa there was money on South Africa. And if you phone up a bookmaking firm in London and you ask them what price is South Africa, they guys say "Do you want to waste your money, everybody around the world knows already that Athens have won the bid the day before."
So no bookmaker's going to go and take a big bet on something out of the ordinary. If you're a client of any bookmaker and your normal size bet is a R1 000 and suddenly you ask for a bet of R100 000 on any event, the bookmaker will not give you the bet. He won't give you the bet, he will know that you know something. If your normal size bet is R100 000 and you ask for R100 000, he will give it to you, but when you start playing out of the ordinary, the bookmaker knows that you have information and he's not there to lose his money.
"I wish to state further that I never ever gave Mr Hansie Cronjé a gift for what happened at the fifth test at Centurion between South Africa and England. The money that I provided to him was for pitch reports and for any information he could give me regarding possibly the weather. I ..."
MR BLUMBERG: Mr Aronstam, I think that's sufficient regarding your statement. Just one or two questions. There has been reference in this hearing to a certain Mr R, now you have met people in the gambling world, do you know of Mr R? Who he is.
MR ARONSTAM: Yes, I do.
MR BLUMBERG: Without mentioning who Mr R is, would you describe what he is actually in the gambling world?
MR ARONSTAM: Mr R is not a bookmaker, Mr R is a commission agent. Mr R does not - what Mr R tries to do, he's basically more, he's a professional gambler. Mr R runs around the world, seeing pitch reports, meeting various people around the world and his credentials are superb, but he's definitely not a bookmaker.
MR BLUMBERG: When you talk of a commission agent, how does a commission agent operate in betting?
MR ARONSTAM: Mr R, what he tries to do is place money for people. If a person would like to get a big bet on or something, they'll try and use Mr R to move the money. So he doesn't make a book. If somebody would like to have, for example, 5 000 of a currency on a bet, they'll ask Mr R to get it on and he will try and make a certain percentage by obtaining a better price somewhere else in the world. But he's definitely - he's not there to take the risk and lose the money. He doesn't make a book.
MR BLUMBERG: Dr Bacher referred to Mr R, do you think this is the same man? And how do you know?
MR ARONSTAM: The person referred by Mr Bacher as Mr R, is definitely the same man. I know him personally. After the test match that Dr Bacher referred around in Newlands, I met him in Johannesburg. We have become very good friends ever since. I was at the time on day going to fetch him to take him to a test match in Johannesburg, I had put him up to stay at the Don Hotel across the road from the Wanderers, I was dressed casually in short pants and a T-shirt, I fetched him from the Don apartment and there he was dressed beautifully in his suit, tie and jacket. I said "What are you doing?" He said "No, I'm going with Dr - I've been invited by Dr Bacher to the box at the Wanderers."
He had told me the story that Dr Bacher allowed him to see the pitch at Newlands and he had become - he told me he'd become very friendly with Dr Bacher and one of his best friends was Robin Jackman - not Robin, the oldish one, not Robin Jackman, the other guy - Jack Bannister. I know him very well.
MR BLUMBERG: Thank you. Is there anything else you want to add to what you've said?
MR ARONSTAM: The only thing I can say is I wish this mess never ever arose.
MR BLUMBERG: Thank you. Thank you, Mr Commissioner.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR BLUMBERG
COMMISSIONER: I think you've consulted with Mr Aronstam, it may be appropriate if you question him now.
MR DICKERSON: Mr Commissioner, I had mentioned to Ms Batohi, I have a problem with availability on Monday, and I'd indicated, I understood she had no objection that for that reason I would prefer to cross-examine first, in the hope that I will complete whatever questions I have.
COMMISSIONER: I'm aware of that.
MS BATOHI: Yes Mr Commissioner, I have no problem with that at all, but there's just one or two things that Mr Aronstam hasn't mentioned that I think Mr Dickerson might be interested in hearing before he cross-examines him. But it's entirely up to you, I have no problem going after you.
MR DICKERSON: Mr Commissioner, my difficulty is, if it can't be dealt with today by me, Mr Aronstam may have to be recalled. I don't know what these aspects are.
MS BATOHI: I think I'd take about five minutes.
COMMISSIONER: Right carry on.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MS BATOHI: Thank you.
Mr Aronstam just quickly, there's one or two things I just want to lead you on, ask you about. Your first meeting with MR CRONJE on that - your first meeting with him at the hotel, you said that there was talk about throwing matches. The triangular series between Zimbabwe, England and South Africa was coming up just after that, was there any talk about throwing any of the matches during that series?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes. What was spoken about - as I've said to Hansie, the ball was in his court and he mentioned that he could basically get players involved to lose a game and he said that the minute South Africa were guaranteed a place in the final, he would consider throwing a match. And that was when I was shocked. I was amazed, I couldn't believe that, what I was hearing.
MS BATOHI: Did he mention any particular match that he could possible throw in that event?
MR ARONSTAM: The game that he possibly mentioned was the last game between South Africa and England, had they been guaranteed a place in the final.
MS BATOHI: Did MR CRONJE say anything to you at any stage about him having any players in his pocket at that stage?
MR ARONSTAM: He mentioned to me that he had Bojé, Strydom and Gibbs. I can't swear to you if he mentioned anybody else, but those three were definitely mentioned.
MS BATOHI: And did he explain to you how he got them involved or why he'd got them involved?
MR ARONSTAM: No, he never explained how, where or what.
MS BATOHI: You also mentioned something - I withdraw that. You said that when you first met MR CRONJE you only mentioned a donation to charity and you didn't mention anything about a gift, why did you mention a charity? Can you just explain that.
MR ARONSTAM: Well I thought to myself if I'm just going phone up Hansie Cronjé, the South African captain, and tell him that out of the blue, why should he even listen to me, who am I, he doesn't know me from a bar of soap. So I thought to myself realistically that if there would be - I hadn't even done any research, if there was betting or no betting on the game at the time, so my idea was that if there was betting and there was a declaration, a sizeable amount could have been made at the time. So I thought to myself the best way is to offer a donation to charity and at least he'll listen to me. I then discovered there was no betting on the match. When I offered the donation I sincerely thought about giving a donation to charity if it was all going to work. When I discovered that there was no betting, I was relieved when I could get hold of him and tell him "Listen, there is no betting, I can't give the donation to charity."
MS BATOHI: Just one last point. You said that Hansie Cronjé at some stage - well at some stage you contacted him and he became very cool towards you, cold towards you, in your view, why do you think this happened?
MR ARONSTAM: Well at the time why it happened, I don't know, suddenly - we had spoken every night after test matches, everything was good between us and just suddenly ... When I did speak to him afterwards he told me the reason we lost contact was, something happened to his cellphone. So I don't know. I can't answer.
MS BATOHI: Thank you, Mr Commissioner, I have no further questions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MS BATOHI
COMMISSIONER: Mr Dickerson.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR DICKERSON: Thank you, Mr Commissioner.
Mr Aronstam, apart from betting on cricket, do you bet on other sports?
MR ARONSTAM: I bet on any sport.
MR DICKERSON: And the first approach you say you made to MR CRONJE, was on the fourth day of the Centurion test earlier this year.
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MR DICKERSON: It was a very practised approach, first you appeal to him on the basis that you were a cricket lover, not so?
MR ARONSTAM: Correct. Well I'll tell you one thing, you won't find too many people who love cricket more than me.
MR DICKERSON: Then you appeal to him on the basis of his personal concerns about his captaincy, you said that the public perceived him in a negative light and you used that as a tool to try and persuade him to do what you wanted him to do.
MR ARONSTAM: I don't agree with that comment of yours because what happened was, when I went to see him - you wouldn't have thought that we just met each other, suddenly we started talking and he - about cricket in general in the world, about a lot of other topics or cricket, and he said to me, he said "Your knowledge on cricket is very good." That came down ...(indistinct), we were just discussing cricket in general and those were topics that were discussed. It was no pre-dress rehearsal as to how when I went to see MR CRONJE, that just ...(indistinct) discussion, sitting in a room discussing cricket.
MR DICKERSON: The second leg of your appeal or your persuasive approach, Mr Aronstam, let's not beat around the bush, was to appeal to MR CRONJE's concerns about the public perception of his captaincy, is that not so?
MR ARONSTAM: I wouldn't say it's so, no. I wouldn't agree with you there. No.
MR DICKERSON: Well in fact, Mr Aronstam, is that not precisely what appears from the contents of your statement and from the propositions that were put to MR CRONJE by your attorney?
MR ARONSTAM: Well you see, a lot of things were discussed that night with MR CRONJE and he asked me, and I said to him, I said "At the moment your position is you're very negative in the whole world." We were discussing Hansie Cronjé as a captain for South Africa. So one of the things that started getting discussed was his nature as being the South African captain. And I told him afterwards, I said "Hansie, the reason you've been termed as negative is because you never do anything out of the ordinary anymore, you're not bold enough anymore." So I don't - whether you're saying that I went there pre-knowing what I'm going to say to him, definitely not, it just happened when I got there and that's how the conversation went.
MR DICKERSON: Mr Aronstam, there can be no doubt I suggest to you, that one of the legs on which you relied to persuade MR CRONJE to declare, on your own evidence, is that you appealed to him on the basis of what you said was the negative public perception of his captaincy. Is that or is that not correct?
MR ARONSTAM: I don't know.
MR DICKERSON: And the third leg of your persuasive attempt was your proposal that you would donate a very large sum of money to charity.
MR ARONSTAM: I think that was the first leg.
MR DICKERSON: And who was going to make that donation if it was made?
MR ARONSTAM: Me. Me.
MR DICKERSON: And if I understand your evidence, you were only intent upon doing so if you generated sufficient winnings from your own gambling endeavours, in order to fund that contribution.
MR ARONSTAM: Yes.
MR DICKERSON: That was very charitable. Did you convey that to MR CRONJE?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes, I did, that's why I had to phone him back and say "I need to come and see you." Because I knew that there's no more betting.
MR DICKERSON: You knew that after you had told MR CRONJE that you would make a donation to charity and you knew that after the declaration had been made the following day, but you did not tell that to MR CRONJE on the evening when you first met, did you?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes, I did tell him. I definitely told him. When I came up to his room for the second - when I came to him for the first time and I met him, I said "Hansie there is no betting, I cannot, the donation to charity cannot exist."
MR DICKERSON: You were present when MR CRONJE gave evidence, were you not?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes.
MR DICKERSON: And were you not also present and sitting in close proximity to your attorney, Mr Blumberg, when Mr Blumberg cross-examined MR CRONJE?
MR ARONSTAM: I was sitting behind him.
MR DICKERSON: You would have had no difficulty communicating with Mr Blumberg if you were impelled to correct anything which he said or if you felt that Mr Blumberg needed to be reminded of anything.
MR ARONSTAM: The honest answer is (a), I didn't concentrate all the time while I was sitting behind, at some stage I got very, I'd say a bit bored, but I was told by Mr Blumberg ...(indistinct) Mr Wits(?) not to say nothing. I was told "Just keep quiet."
MR DICKERSON: It's perhaps an appropriate ...
COMMISSIONER: It's a double negative.
MR DICKERSON: Let's just go back a step then Mr Aronstam, you said in your evidence that you were first consulted by the Commission on the 14th of June, is that correct?
MR ARONSTAM: If the 14th of June was a Wednesday - I was consulted on a Wednesday morning, if that was the 14th of June, yes.
MR DICKERSON: And I don't know if you're aware of this, that was two days after MR CRONJE had furnished the Commission with a statement in which your name was mentioned.
MR ARONSTAM: Yes, I'm aware of it.
MR DICKERSON: And when you were consulted by the Commission, I take it that was the first communication of any description which you had received from the Commission or any of its investigators or officers.
MR ARONSTAM: Yes.
MR DICKERSON: And when you were consulted by the Commission, were you shown a copy of MR CRONJE's draft statement?
MR ARONSTAM: No.
MR DICKERSON: Were you at any stage furnished with a copy of that statement?
MR ARONSTAM: I don't think so, no.
MR DICKERSON: Did you at no stage before the finalisation of your statement, see any statement either in draft form or otherwise from MR CRONJE?
MR ARONSTAM: I personally never saw MR CRONJE's statement.
MR DICKERSON: Do you know whether your legal representatives were in possession of such a copy?
MR ARONSTAM: I think they were, yes.
MR DICKERSON: Do you know where they obtained it from?
MR ARONSTAM: No.
MR DICKERSON: After you had first consulted the Commission on the 14th of June, you prepared in consultation with your representatives, a draft statement which was handed to the Commission. That is what I understood your evidence to be.
MR ARONSTAM: Yes.
MR DICKERSON: And that was done over the - or during or shortly after the most recent weekend.
MR ARONSTAM: Ja, it was done over the weekend, quite a rush job, that's why a few things that I've said I'm not exactly -because it was a very rushed statement.
MR DICKERSON: Do you have any difficulty in making that draft statement available to us?
MR ARONSTAM: You have the statement at the moment, don't you?
MR ARONSTAM: I don't have the draft statement. My question to you is, do you have any objection to that draft statement being made available to us?
MR ARONSTAM: No, with the greatest of pleasure.
MR DICKERSON: When MR CRONJE was cross-examined by Mr Blumberg, you had not yet signed the statement which you read out today, which I understand from your representatives was only signed on the night of the 21st of June, is that correct?
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MR DICKERSON: So this statement and whatever is contained in it, was finalised and executed after you had heard MR CRONJE's evidence-in-chief and after you had heard what MR CRONJE said in response to the cross-examination by Mr Blumberg.
MR ARONSTAM: No, definitely not, the statement was done on the Sunday morning, it started Saturday morning and Sunday morning it was drawn up. It then had to be typed and everything and changes had to be - certain little things had to be changed, and because - I don't know the reason, but we'd been in Cape Town and I think, they way I'm answering the question is that my counsel's representatives are in Johannesburg to do the typing and all that type of stuff. So the actual statement was drawn up, hand-written, on Saturday and Sunday morning and finalised, I would say Monday night, when Mr Wits arrived here in Cape Town and I think on Tuesday morning probably, it was all typed up and done properly from Johannesburg and a copy - sorry, Mr Wits only arrived on Tuesday night, and Mr Wits had to bring all the stuff. When he arrived on Tuesday night from Johannesburg, he brought the statement with him. But the actual statement was written up between Saturday and Sunday.
MR DICKERSON: Mr Aronstam, my question to you was more focused than that. What I'm trying to establish is this, you have said that your statement was signed on the evening of the 21st of June, that is last Wednesday evening, the day before yesterday.
MR ARONSTAM: I think - I think it was done Wednesday lunchtime.
MR DICKERSON: Well I understood you to say it was on Wednesday evening and I was informed by your legal representatives that ...(intervention)
MR ARONSTAM: I'm not sure, but at some stage while we were here on the Wednesday I signed the statement. I'm not sure.
MR BLUMBERG: With respect, Mr Commissioner, counsel is now venturing into a territory that he accused at a certain stage of privilege, with due respect, and I'd like to place this on record, Your Worship, I've had considerable difficulty that, Mr Commissioner, that the parties representing MR CRONJE seem to feel that we're not treating him equally as others. Your Worship, they actually had a signed copy of the statement before Ms Batohi had a signed copy of the statement and we distributed the statement simultaneously. But irrespective of that, I would submit with respect that the drafts, as they quite correctly pointed out yesterday, are privileged.
COMMISSIONER: What do you say to that Mr Dickerson?
MR DICKERSON: Mr Commissioner what I am trying to establish at the moment ...(intervention)
COMMISSIONER: No, no, no, just a moment, answer my question, what do you say to the submission that that's a privileged document?
MR DICKERSON: Well Mr Commissioner with respect this can't be a privileged document it's been read out and dealt with by the witness in giving evidence.
COMMISSIONER: That's the statement in its final form, not in its draft form.
MR DICKERSON: And as regards the draft, Mr Commissioner, the draft as the witness himself has said was made available to the Commission. And once documents of that nature are communicated to third parties any privilege which might otherwise have existed ceases to exist. So there can be no question of any privilege in any form which attaches to the draft.
COMMISSIONER: What is your response to that Mr Blumberg?
MR BLUMBERG: Commissioner I don't want to enter into a long argument about the privilege, if it's that important for counsel to see the draft statement with pleasure, it doesn't differ very much from the final statement. In fact there might be a few typographical errors and that type of thing.
COMMISSIONER: You can continue on it Mr Dickerson.
MR DICKERSON: Thank you Mr Commissioner. You see Mr Aronstam the point that I am trying to establish at this juncture is that this statement, the one you've read out, both according to your initial evidence and as I understood it from your legal representatives was signed by you on the evening of the 21st of June, is that or is that no correct?
MR ARONSTAM: It's not correct.
MR DICKERSON: Well then when was it signed?
MR ARONSTAM: I said to you it was signed at some time on Wednesday inside this hall.
MR DICKERSON: We will leave that for a moment. Did you during MR CRONJE's evidence-in-chief or before Mr Blumberg cross-examined MR CRONJE at any stage convey to your legal representatives that MR CRONJE's statement to the effect that you had promised him a gift was not correct?
MR ARONSTAM: I never ever promised MR CRONJE a gift.
MR DICKERSON: No Mr Aronstam that's not my question.
Did you, at any stage before Mr Blumberg cross-examined MR CRONJE convey to your legal representatives that MR CRONJE's statement to the effect that you had promised him a gift was, in your view, not correct?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes.
MR DICKERSON: How then do you explain that that was never put to MR CRONJE by Mr Blumberg who did not challenge that evidence?
MR ARONSTAM: I don't know.
MS BATOHI: Mr Commissioner just to put the record straight, it may not have been put by Mr Blumberg but I think I put that as a result of consultations.
MR DICKERSON: That is so Mr Commissioner and I will come in a moment to what transpired as a result of consultations with Ms Batohi.
So the upshot of it then Mr Aronstam is that you have no explanation for what, on the face of it, appears to be a very startling omission on the part of your legal representative to challenge MR CRONJE's evidence that you promised a gift?
MR ARONSTAM: I am not the advocate, the attorney, I don't do the cross-examining. I wouldn't know why it's not discussed.
MR DICKERSON: You have also said that you regarded MR CRONJE as a valuable source of information and that the pitch reports that he could give you were of great importance, was that some revelation that came to you on the night of the fourth day of the Centurion test for the first time?
MR ARONSTAM: Sorry I didn't - I don't understand your question a hundred percent.
MR DICKERSON: Is it testified here that you regarded MR CRONJE, regard MR CRONJE as the source of valuable information ...(intervention)
MR ARONSTAM: Yes.
MR DICKERSON: ...regarding pitches, weather conditions and the like, for which you are prepared to pay substantial sums of money?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes.
MR DICKERSON: What I am asking you is when this occurred to you for the first time, was it a revelation which first dawned on the night of the fourth day of the Centurion test?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes, that night when MR CRONJE said to me how he could make some extra money I said to him the ball is in your court. Pitch reports are very valuable.
MR DICKERSON: So you phoned MR CRONJE out of the blue, you indicate to him that you are a cricket lover, you point out advantages which are offered to his reputation as a captain if he declares. You offer something to charity and you then, all of which is in the context of you seeking to persuade him to do what you want which is to declare.
MR ARONSTAM: It's very different the way you are saying because you are not talking in order. You are not saying what happened in order of my going to visit MR CRONJE.
MR DICKERSON: Really Mr Aronstam does it make any difference whatsoever in what order you said you were a cricket-lover or that his captaincy would be ...(intervention)
MR ARONSTAM: Yes, yes it does make a difference.
MR DICKERSON: How much did you think you could make on a declaration?
MR ARONSTAM: Anywhere between 3 and 500,000 depending on the prices available if I could have got what I wanted to do on South Africa and England, depending on the availability, depending on the market, if there's a big betting market, anywhere, between 3, 4, 500,000.
MR DICKERSON: That's not to use your phrase in the "michael-mouse" league.
MR ARONSTAM: No that's in the A-league.
MR DICKERSON: So you had a very strong motivation from your side to induce MR CRONJE or to persuade him to declare?
MR ARONSTAM: Sure, I didn't go there that night and do it without any hindsight to make some money. I went there with the intention of making some money.
MR DICKERSON: And in order to make that money you deployed very persuasive and inducing device which you could think of to achieve that result so that you, as you put it, could make some money.
MR ARONSTAM: I went there with the intention of making some money and the benefits were to me was to make some money. The benefit would have been to MR CRONJE to increase his image and to see what happened afterwards. The image was created but I didn't make the money. (general laughter)
MR DICKERSON: And you recall the evidence of MR CRONJE that you had wanted to meet him at the hotel because you were uncomfortable talking on the telephone, why was that?
MR ARONSTAM: I had to, for me to go and start to explain to MR CRONJE that I can not get bets on the game now etc from a man who doesn't understand anything about betting, it's much easier to explain face-to-face than talk on the telephone. I have now committed myself to give a donation to charity and I know that it can't happen because I can't get the money on the game, I can't make any money so I have to go and tell him.
MR DICKERSON: Are you now suggesting that it was on the night of the fourth day of the test before he had agreed with the English captain that they would declare that you told him that you couldn't get bets on the game?
MR ARONSTAM: Guaranteed, that's exactly when I told him. When do you think I told him?
MR DICKERSON: I don't think anything Mr Aronstam I wasn't there, I am testing your evidence.
MR ARONSTAM: Between the first phone call to MR CRONJE and the time I saw him roughly plus or minus three hours developed. I made a phone call overseas. There was no betting. What must I do now? I have to tell MR CRONJE, "I need to see you". I don't tell him on the telephone there's no betting. I now go and see him in the hotel. I say to him, "impossible, there is no betting, I can't give the donation to charity". We never discussed it ever again. That was the last time it was ever discussed.
MR DICKERSON: You see what is also interesting Mr Aronstam is what was put by your attorney to MR CRONJE in that regard. You have been very astute in your evidence today to suggest that this donation to charity was conditional and depended on whether you made bets and you told MR CRONJE that, none of that was put to MR CRONJE by your attorney, Mr Blumberg. Do you have any explanation for that?
MR ARONSTAM: I don't know. Those things you have to ask the attorney.
MR DICKERSON: And your evidence now then, it seems to be, is that when you met with MR CRONJE that evening you had gone to meet with him for the specific purpose of telling him that you were not able to put bets on the game.
MR ARONSTAM: I went there to tell him that there's no betting on the game. That is one of the most important reasons. If afterwards I could possibly get valuable future information it would be very assistal.
MR DICKERSON: Must we now then understand that your intention when you went to see him that evening was now not to persuade him to declare the following day, but rather to suborn him, if I can put it that way, to giving ...(intervention)
MR ARONSTAM: No my ...(intervention)
MR DICKERSON: Mr Aronstam I do the courtesy of hearing out your answers would you kindly do the courtesy of hearing out my questions.
Must we understand then that the purpose of your visit that evening was not any longer to persuade him to declare the following day to enable you to make money, but rather to suborn him or secure him or persuade him to give you information in future in return for money?
MR ARONSTAM: No. I went there originally with one thing in mind, only, to discuss with MR CRONJE the declaration and to tell him that I cannot give the money to charity.
MR DICKERSON: But I understood you to say a moment ago that one of your purposes, at least one of them, was to get him to give you information in future.
MR ARONSTAM: That's what transpired after that.
MR DICKERSON: Alright Mr Aronstam. Now the R50,000 that you gave MR CRONJE which he said in his evidence he regarded as a gift from you but which you claim was for future information, was given by way of two payments, one of R30,000 and one of R20,000. The R30,000 was that given on the evening of the final day of the Centurion test?
MR ARONSTAM: No.
MR DICKERSON: When was it given?
MR ARONSTAM: It was given on the Wednesday night.
MR DICKERSON: Is that the night following the test?
MR ARONSTAM: The night following the completion of the test.
MR DICKERSON: And that's a fairly substantial sum of money Mr Aronstam, you suggest that that had nothing to do with anything relating to a gift or anything that had or hadn't been done in the Centurion test?
MR ARONSTAM: Well it all depends as to what you relate as a sizeable amount of money. I think that, according to the newspaper this morning, you guys are earning a lot of money sitting over here, and in my business R30,000 is not that much money. So if you take it into that respect what you guys are earning for a days work is that a lot of money? (general laughter)
MR DICKERSON: Mr Aronstam do you regard R30,000 as an insignificant amount of money?
MR ARONSTAM: Well if you the guy who works and you - let's give you a good example, if you a guy who works and you clean the streets maybe it is a lot of money. But if you are a guy in my position in the gambling world it's not a lot of money.
I, just off the record - (general laughter) - shouldn't say "off the record" sorry, but I spend a lot of money in my gambling life. I am involved in horse-racing in a big way. I own a lot of racehorses, and I own the racehorses in order to back to win money. So when you feed a racehorse it costs a lot of money to feed every month a racehorse, so you can say that I am paying for information by owning the racehorses because I want to back them. A horse costs about R3000 a month to feed. So in hindsight what I have paid MR CRONJE for information is not a lot of money. And if you ask me again if I'd pay it again, well I'll tell you it was worth it. The information, a pitch report is invaluable in the betting world.
MR DICKERSON: After Mr Blumberg had cross-examined MR CRONJE you, as I understand the evidence you gave at the commencement of your testimony today, consulted with Ms Batohi of the Commission, is that correct?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes.
MR DICKERSON: And on the basis of what you told her ...(intervention)
MR ARONSTAM: Sorry I just said "yes" to something which I didn't hear properly. (general laughter)
MR DICKERSON: After Mr Blumberg had cross-examined MR CRONJE, if I understood your evidence at the commencement of your testimony correctly you held a consultation, or consultations with Ms Batohi is that correct?
MR ARONSTAM: No that's not true, no.
MR BLUMBERG: Mr Commissioner to assist my learned friend we consulted with Ms Batohi on the Monday evening. MR CRONJE only testified on the Tuesday.
MR DICKERSON: I speak subject to correction, I was under the impression that after the furnishing of the draft statement there'd been a further consultation, but I may be incorrect.
To return then to what you told Ms Batohi, you seem to have suggested to her, not as strongly as you put it today, that MR CRONJE out of the blue said to you at the meeting on the evening of the fourth day of the Centurion test something about throwing a match.
MR ARONSTAM: Correct. When I met with Ms Batohi she asked me why in my statement did I not write it in detail. And the answer was because the previous week, on the Thursday, I met the gentlemen Graham and Vincent, and I told her the story about MR CRONJE offering, suggesting to me that they could throw a test, not a test a One-day match. And I said to Ms Batohi, it's not in the statement because who is going to believe me. You're talking about the South African captain, highly respected by the community. A person who I regard as a good friend offering me that night to throw the test. If I put this in the statement who is going to believe me. Exactly what you are saying now, who is going to believe me.
MR DICKERSON: In fact Mr Aronstam if I read your statement correctly, you haven't said that in your statement other than in the form of a very oblique statement that, and I'll read it to you:
"I then got up to leave the room and as I was leaving MR CRONJE said to me how was it possible for him to make any money out of cricket. I replied by saying 'the ball is in your court'".
Is that statement correct?
MR ARONSTAM: The statement of "the ball in your court" is one thousand percent correct.
MR DICKERSON: So this discussion of match-fixing to which you have referred occurred at this stage when you got up to leave the room?
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MR DICKERSON: And what MR CRONJE said to you is, "how is it possible for him to make money out of cricket?"
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MR DICKERSON: That's all he said.
MR ARONSTAM: No. As I said to you if I started telling everything, exactly what he said, no-one will believe me. The man suggested to me he can throw a One-day international as long as South Africa are in the final. And he even mentioned to me, I remember for definite sure, Gibbs, Strydom and Bojé. When the news broke out that MR CRONJE had been allegedly involved in match-fixing I was in Mauritius at the time, and a friend of mine called me on the phone, he said "Marlon have you heard what's happened?". I said "No". He said, "Hansie Cronjé, Nicky Bojé, Strydom and Williams had been implicated in match-fixing", and my answer was, "I am not surprised", because those were the exact same names that MR CRONJE had mentioned to me that night.
MR DICKERSON: Mr Aronstam on Wednesday of this week, the 21st of June, after you had no doubt followed the proceedings in this Commission ...(intervention)
MR ARONSTAM: In detail.
MR DICKERSON: ....and you had consulted with your legal representatives, with Ms Batohi after you had read MR CRONJE's statement and after you had heard, if not all then a substantial portion of his testimony, you signed this statement in which you make no mention of MR CRONJE offering to fix or throw a match.
MR ARONSTAM: That is correct. But I tell you what, if you go to the gentleman sitting across the road from me, when we met on Thursday and I bet you now that he has notes in front of him which were taken down at that meeting, he can give it as evidence to this court, to my statement to him last Thursday in note form that he had taken down, and at that meeting exactly what I am saying here today, I told Graham and Vincent in detail. Nothing has changed.
MR DICKERSON: I take it from what you say Mr Aronstam that you have no problem with the notes of your consultations with the Commission's investigators, from your side, being made available to us?
MR ARONSTAM: From my side I have no problem, as long as they are happy to give it to you I have no......
MR DICKERSON: Then something else. For the first time we heard out of your mouth today a statement which you attribute to MR CRONJE, it was never put to him either by Ms Batohi or by Mr Blumberg that he told you that Bojé, Strydom and Gibbs were to use, I think Ms Batohi's phrase, "in his pocket". Did you tell Ms Batohi that when you consulted with her?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes. I don't want to say - I am 99% sure I told Mrs Batohi that, I am not sure. I can't swear, but I think so.
MS BATOHI: Mr Commissioner I seem to recall that I did put this to MR CRONJE, that is my recollection. I haven't checked the transcript. My Junior is of the view that I definitely did, and so is Mr Fitzgerald.
MR FITZGERALD: With respect I am of the view that it wasn't put. That's my recollection, and Mr Whelan confirms that.
COMMISSIONER: I have certainly heard that expression during the course of today's sitting. I don't recall who put it to whom.
MS BATOHI: Perhaps we can look at the transcript at some stage.
MR DICKERSON: I might say Mr Commissioner that I have read that portion of MR CRONJE's cross-examination and a number of things were put, but that is certainly not one I can find.
Let me put it to you this way then Mr Aronstam, do you have any explanation for the fact that it may, if it wasn't put by Ms Batohi, do you have any explanation other than that you may not have told her?
MR ARONSTAM: I think I told her, but I can't swear to it, but there's no doubt in my mind that - I don't know, I can't say for sure, but I think I told her.
MR DICKERSON: Do you know a bookmaker or a gambler by the name of Sanjay?
MR ARONSTAM: Never met him, no idea who he is.
MR DICKERSON: Have you ever spoken telephonically with or to somebody by the name of Sanjay or Sanjeev?
MR ARONSTAM: Never, ever.
MR DICKERSON: Do you have, either in your personal capacity or through your involvement with NSI any contact with gambling bodies, individuals or syndicates on the sub-continent?
MR ARONSTAM: I have no contact with any syndicate.
MR DICKERSON: That's only a part of my question. Do you have any contact with gambling bodies or individuals in the sub-continent?
MR ARONSTAM: I have a lot of friends in the sub-continent, I don't know what you want to call them, but they are definitely not syndicates and they are not a - I don't know how you are asking a question, but they are not syndicates, they are not Mafia bosses, they are not Sanjays, they are straight honest people and they have come to visit me in South Africa in the past, and nicer people you wouldn't meet.
MR DICKERSON: Yes we will rely on your assurance. Now just to go back a step to what you say took place in your meeting on the fourth day. As you were about to leave MR CRONJE asked you how he could make money out of cricket, and according to your statement, your reply to that question was, "the ball is in your court", is that correct?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes.
MR DICKERSON: What was said after that and by whom?
MR ARONSTAM: MR CRONJE it was said to me, that he could basically throw a game of cricket as he could organise other players. The best way to make money and losing a game of cricket is to have other players on your side and he could organise a few of the players. And I was amazed. I could still picture this now, sitting in this chair over here that night. I still remember getting into my car, phoning friends of mine up, I have a nice car with a telephone inside, dialling people and I might have been in seventh heaven, (a) because there are certain friends of mine I have been discussing with the nature that I have been convinced for a long time that certain cricket matches are not played on merit, and I was of the opinion, I have been telling him that everybody says South Africa have never been involved, I used to say to him, I think South Africa are involved. And that night when I got out of the - in my car and I got - I said I told you so and he was shocked. I came home I told my wife, I said I don't believe this, I said you will never believe what the man told me. The man told me he can throw a game of cricket. And that's what transpired.
MR DICKERSON: You see your account of this is remarkable. What you have just us is MR CRONJE says to you, "how is it possible to make money out of cricket?". You reply by saying "the ball is in your court". And then MR CRONJE proceeds to tell you exactly how to make money out of cricket. Is that your explanation of what happened?
MR ARONSTAM: As I've said earlier, as I've said in my first meeting with the investigation team, nobody will believe me, but the problem is in reality that is exactly what happened. MR CRONJE was standing up, we were both standing together, he had a suite at Sandton Sun, it was like a couch, we stood up together and he mentioned within one minute, one to two minutes, he could throw a match as long as South Africa were through to the final, he could throw - I said to him well there's no point in throwing the match against Zimbabwe because there's no betting on that match. You won't make any money there. He said the match against England he could throw as long as South Africa were in the final. As sure as I am living here that is exactly what was discussed.
MR DICKERSON: Mr Aronstam you missed the thrust of my question. Your account of this is that MR CRONJE asks you how you can make money in cricket.
MR ARONSTAM: Sure.
MR DICKERSON: And then, without getting any answer from you he then proceeds to tell you how to make money out of cricket.
MR ARONSTAM: I said to him "the ball is in your court". My answer is, "the ball is in your court", and then he started to explain to me what he could do. He could lose a game. He said well the best way to make money is to lose a game.
MR DICKERSON: And that, according to you, was understood by you as an offer to throw a game.
MR ARONSTAM: Well if any layman is talking to somebody and one of the guys said the best way to lose a game, the best way to make money is to lose a game, what would it mean to you? I think to any person it would mean the man is prepared to throw a game. Especially when he says, as long as we've made the final I can lose the game. So I said "who have you got with you?". And he says, "I have Bojé, Gibbs, Strydom and ...". I have even - I have never told this to other people, whatever, he even makes like he got Strydom is new in the team, I said "why Strydom because Strydom is new in the team?". So it all makes sense.
MR DICKERSON: And having been told this, what you are now saying, what did you do about it?
MR ARONSTAM: I told a lot of my friends and they were shocked, they were all amazed. And then what happened was South Africa lost the game along the route and MR CRONJE - and then my comment was "Hansie, I said well that won't be working any more because you have to win these games to get to the final now". And that was the last that was ever discussed about throwing the game in Port Elizabeth, never ever mentioned again.
MR DICKERSON: I want to ask you something Mr Aronstam, have you been offered indemnity from prosecution?
MR ARONSTAM: I never asked for any indemnity as I have done nothing wrong.
MR DICKERSON: You feel it is quite appropriate and acceptable to approach a sporting figure and offer sums of money, which you may regard as insignificant but which I think you will agree most people regard as very significant, in return for information?
MR ARONSTAM: I think there is nothing wrong with getting information. If you say "information", at the moment around the world before One-day match or test match starts a pitch report is given by supposed experts for the matches. In horse racing you go to your trainer and you ask the trainer, what do you think about your racehorse? Is it wrong to ask a sportsman for information - I don't think so. Maybe that information should be given to everybody as common knowledge and it shouldn't come out that players shouldn't be allowed to talk to bookmakers. We are not here to corrupt games. We don't want games thrown. We don't want games challenged.
I have never ever brought this up to tell you but whenever a series of matches have been rigged payments have never taken place on those matches. In 1994 a series in South Africa between Pakistan and South Africa and Pakistan and Zimbabwe all betting transactions on those games taking place on the sub-continent, which was the basic - even at the time there was no betting in South Africa, all betting was not paid because of the fact that it was found out, in the test match between Zimbabwe and Pakistan, all the word had got out to the bookmakers in the industry that Pakistan had thrown all those games, all payments were suspended. And once again it happened again in 1999, before the start of the World Cup in Sharjah, Pakistan threw games against England. The betting world decided there is no payments to be made on the whole Sharjah tournament. So it doesn't help bookmakers to have matches rigged, because the big money, as I said to you, is offshore and there will not be payments made on the match. You can't keep a secret when you are trying to make business on a cricket game. It's going to leak out and there will not be any payments.
MR DICKERSON: ... prides himself on his knowledge of cricket and the rules of cricket Mr Aronstam. What would your impression have been of the UCB's view if they had known that you were paying any cricketer for information?
MR ARONSTAM: At the time I never thought about it.
MR DICKERSON: Well if you had thought about it Mr Aronstam.
MR ARONSTAM: I don't know.
MR DICKERSON: Come on Mr Aronstam you know the rules of cricket, you know what the ICC code of conduct has said, you know what the UCB's attitude is.
MR ARONSTAM: Well when you talk about well Dr Bacher's visit - Dr Bacher's been socialising with supposed bookmaking agents from India, what - he was being represented in the President box, a guy that's come out here from India to bet on games, Dr Bacher is actually allowing the man to walk on the pitch prior to the event. What's the difference.
MR DICKERSON: Mr Aronstam let's not try and deflect the question. You knew very well that neither the United Cricket Board nor any cricketing authority anywhere in the world would have felt anything other than outrage if they had known that a bookmaker was paying players for information.
MR ARONSTAM: The question is what do you classify as information?
MR DICKERSON: Don't hedge Mr Aronstam. You know ...(intervention)
MR ARONSTAM: I never asked the man to throw a match. I never asked for anything that was out of the ordinary regarding the information that I requested. The information that I am requesting is the same type of information that is portrayed before One-day international or before a test match on television by other experts in their field. Because I am getting it from somebody who I think is a better expert, what is wrong with it?
MR DICKERSON: I will come back to my question Mr Aronstam, you haven't answered it. You knew, did you not, at the time, that your conduct in paying money for the purpose as you have explained it, of obtaining information from a professional cricketer would not have been countenanced by any cricketing body or authority in the world?
MR ARONSTAM: Well I never thought about it at the time the way you are putting it across, but I didn't think there was anything wrong with it at the time otherwise I don't think I would have told a lot of my friends what I had done. I would have kept it a secret and I told a lot of friends of mine about what had happened. So at the time I definitely don't think - I didn't think there was anything wrong with it.
MR DICKERSON: Well Mr Aronstam let's have a look at what you did or didn't think. On your own evidence you made two attempts to meet with MR CRONJE, one in Bloemfontein and one in Maritzburg which he called off. Not so?
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MR DICKERSON: And the purpose of those meetings, which he called off, were, as you put it, to get your ducks in a row for purposes of explaining what you had been up to.
MR ARONSTAM: The question is, whose ducks did we have to get into a row? (general laughter)
MR DICKERSON: Mr Aronstam that's very clever but please answer my question. The purpose, to use your words, to use your words, the purpose of those meetings was to get "our ducks in a row".
MR ARONSTAM: Well basically I'll tell you exactly what transpired from this. When the news broke of the fact that MR CRONJE had been caught for supposed match-fixing allegations I was going to go and report what had happened, and instead we decided, myself and another learned friend, decided to contact Mr Sackstein and tell him exactly what had transpired between myself and MR CRONJE. Another learned friend went to visit Mr Sackstein and told him exactly what had happened between myself and MR CRONJE. He was shocked because he knew nothing about it.
I then came to a situation where I did not want to go and do anything that could hurt or harm Hansie Cronjé in any way. It hurts me more than anything else to sit here and have to go through - I respected Hansie as a champion, he was a hero, and to have to go and do and say things that hurt him, it's very difficult.
So because of what happened the arrangement was with Mr Sackstein that we will not go to any of the people involved and report what had happened without consulting Mr Sackstein and MR CRONJE first. And we left it at that waiting for MR CRONJE's answer.
Last Monday morning a phone call arrived from Mr Sackstein to another learned friend telling him we are - and I was the person who told Hansie that I think he will get amnesty, on the telephone I told him as it will become known that I did speak to Hansie in the last three, four weeks leading up to this event, probably every single day, that we are in trouble because he's going to tell exactly that I did visit him and I did pay him the sum of R50,000 and they had left out the leather jacket and the R3,000. My learned counsel, I think, actually told you guys that we had left the R3,000 and the leather jacket out. Because you people had left it out of your statements. And we never, I never had any intentions of trying to hide anything that had happened, but because of the fact that I had no intentions of trying to put Mr Hansie Cronjé into any trouble, or go forward with anything about this topic, I relied on him to lead where we must go to. So we never tried to hide anything. The minute I have ever been requested for anything I have given everything that has been asked for.
MR DICKERSON: Let me get something very straight from you Mr Aronstam, are you suggesting that you had a meeting with Mr Sackstein ...(intervention)
MR ARONSTAM: I am not suggesting I had a meeting, I am suggesting my learned counsel had a meeting. Another counsel which is not present here, another Mr Cameron.
MR DICKERSON: I understood you to say that you had had a meeting with Mr Sackstein, do you now say that that is not so?
MR ARONSTAM: I never said I had, I said my learned counsel had a meeting, another counsel that is not present. On the day of the game at the Wanderers, South Africa versus Australia at 12:30, 12 o'clock I instructed an attorney friend to phone Mr Sackstein's wife in Bloemfontein, get Mr Sackstein's number, phone him, she said she cannot pass the information of the telephone number on and that she will give him the message. He called us at the lunch break. And on the evening of the test - of the One-day match at the Wanderers South Africa versus Australia Mr Cameron went to visit Mr Sackstein at his house and told him ...(intervention)
MR DICKERSON: Mr Aronstam I don't want to get carried away with all sorts of things. You were not there, you don't know what was or wasn't said, do you?
MR ARONSTAM: I'll take it that my learned friend Mr Cameron told him everything, that I had given him the R50,000; that I'd given the leather jacket; that I'd given R3,000, yes.
MR DICKERSON: You weren't there, you don't know what was or wasn't said.
MR ARONSTAM: I'll take Mr Cameron's word as a very - he's an attorney, he's an astute person and he's well - that he told me that night - I waited for him at a Backgammon Club, he met me, something was wrong with his car, he borrowed my car, it was in Norwood, he went to visit Mr Sackstein at his son's house and he told me that he told Mr Sackstein everything from A to Z. And I know that Mr Cameron would not have - Mr Sackstein was - he told me that Mr Sackstein was shocked when he told him that another R53,000 had been paid across.
MR DICKERSON: Mr Aronstam that's all very well but what you were or weren't told by other people is nothing which falls within your knowledge and you cannot ...(intervention)
COMMISSIONER: This is not other people, this is his attorney Mr Dickerson.
MR DICKERSON: To come back to the question that I was addressing to you before you started pointing fingers at all sorts of other people, there were two meetings which were arranged, both of which were put off by MR CRONJE which, to use your words, were "so that we could get our ducks in a row". And I suggest to you that you knew, throughout, that your conduct, even if it was only in relation to paying money for information to a professional cricketer was not acceptable or proper.
MR ARONSTAM: I don't agree with you, no.
MR DICKERSON: You thought you had acted in a manner which was entirely above board and proper.
MR ARONSTAM: There is no law that says you cannot pay for information.
MR DICKERSON: There is, Mr Aronstam, a law which says that you may not pay or offer to anybody something which requires them to do or refrain from doing something which they are required or not required to do in terms of their employment.
MR ARONSTAM: I did not.....
MR DICKERSON: My question to you comes back to this, and it's the last time I am going to ask you, are you seriously telling this Commission that when you paid money to Hansie Cronjé you thought that what you were doing was proper and above board?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes.
MR DICKERSON: And Mr Aronstam, do you accept that on your own evidence you used, at the very least, three persuasive tacks to try and persuade MR CRONJE to make a declaration, firstly by appealing, and not necessarily in this order if you regard the order as important;
firstly by offering to make payment to a charity;
secondly by appealing to redeem his reputation as a captain, and
thirdly by professing yourself to be a cricket-lover?
MR ARONSTAM: I don't agree with you, no.
MR DICKERSON: Are you suggesting that you brought no persuasive or other pressure to bear on MR CRONJE?
MR ARONSTAM: I didn't put pressure on MR CRONJE to declare. I gave him a suggestion, which for the benefit of cricket was very good. When we got to start talking with each other in the room you wouldn't have thought that we had just met each other, and we started to discuss things. And when you start discussing and analysing things mutually amongst people you come to certain conclusions. So we came to a conclusion, yes we did discuss his image. Yes he did discuss for example that he hadn't declared in one of the previous test matches. So we discussed things, but that was - I never went there with three attacks in mind of giving him great suggestions thing - they did come up as topics, but they weren't three avenues of forcing the man to go and make a declaration, no.
MR DICKERSON: You see I don't want to belabour this point but I am now confronted with what appear to be very different accounts of what your motives and intentions were at different stages.
According to your statement the discussion about the declaration and your offer to make a donation to charity were made at MR CRONJE's hotel on the evening of the fourth day when you met him at about 10 p.m.
MR ARONSTAM: Incorrect.
MR DICKERSON: Well let me take you to your statement Mr Aronstam. Would you turn to page 3 of that statement, paragraph 9 you say -
"At approximately 10 to 15 minutes after I had spoken to MR CRONJE I phoned him back and asked him whether or not it would be possible for me to see him that evening. He told me he was staying at the Sandton Sun hotel. He gave me his room number. We made an arrangement to meet at approximately 9.30p.m. He called me back at a later stage and asked me whether we could make it at 10 p.m."
is that correct?
MR ARONSTAM: All that is correct except for one thing which you are mis-confusing, the charity donation was offered at about 7 o'clock in the evening, not at 10 o'clock in the evening.
MR DICKERSON: We will continue with your statement Mr Aronstam.
You then go on in paragraph 11 to record that you went to the hotel; you went up to MR CRONJE's room; you introduced yourself; you discussed the idea of the declaration for England and you debated it. You also discussed various aspects of cricket in general. Is that correct thus far?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes.
MR DICKERSON: You then went on to venture your opinion that from the cricketing public's point of view, as well as in your own opinion his recent image as a captain of the national side was not good, that he was playing negative cricket, his own form was not good and that his attitude generally had been negative. That took place at that meeting that night.
MR ARONSTAM: Yes.
MR DICKERSON: You go on to say that he listened to what you had to say and you then went on to discuss the test against England at Centurion Park. And you then said to him that if your suggestion for the declaration was taken up it wouldn't make any difference because South Africa had already won the series. That was said by you that night.
MR ARONSTAM: Correct. What was also said was that whether the one lost or draw it made no difference.
MR DICKERSON: Yes that is correct, that is in your statement.
You then continue through paragraphs 15, 16, all the way through to 21 where you set out the further contents of what was discussed, declarations in New Zealand, your request that he contact Nassar Hussein to discuss the question of a declaration with him, all that took place during that same conversation, that same evening.
MR ARONSTAM: Yes, but when the conversation took place, as I said once before, in MR CRONJE's evidence he made as though I told him that he must call Nassar Hussein to the room. I never ever said he must call him to the room. I said he should phone him.
MR DICKERSON: And the reason all of this was discussed, and the reason that you said he called Nassar Hussein on the phone or call him to the room, whatever, was because you were still trying to persuade him to declare.
MR ARONSTAM: I didn't have to persuade him. He really liked the idea. I didn't have to persuade him anymore. He thought the idea was brilliant.
MR DICKERSON: Well in paragraph 19 you say, in response to his alleged statement that he would speak to Nassar Hussein in the morning:
"I replied that he should put the idea about the declaration to Nassar Hussein and if Nassar Hussein declined to accept then he would be seen as a very negative captain".
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MR DICKERSON: At that stage you were still attempting to persuade ...(intervention)
MR ARONSTAM: No I didn't have to persuade him. I'd like to know if Nassar was keen or not. It was interesting. I didn't have to persuade him anymore. It didn't need much persuading, you didn't have to persuade him much. He liked the idea. He really thought it was a great idea.
MR DICKERSON: And you then continue with the conversation, paragraph 20 at 21, and in paragraph 22 you say the following:
"I further said to him that as there was no betting on the game I wouldn't be in a position to make any donation to charity".
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MR DICKERSON: Now had you told him before that that you intended betting on the game?
MR ARONSTAM: When I first phoned him I never ever mentioned the word betting to him. I didn't phone up and say Hansie Cronjé I'd like to have a bet on the game.
MR DICKERSON: So when you first, according to you, made an offer of a donation to charity you did it without any reference to the question of betting by you?
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MR DICKERSON: In fact the first suggestion you made, if I understand you correctly to MR CRONJE that you may or may not have been betting on the game, was during your meeting on the evening of the fourth day?
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MR DICKERSON: And MR CRONJE's evidence was, and I didn't understand this to be challenged by anybody, that he had sent a message to you the following day, after the English had agreed to declare, and that you had subsequently told him, after the declaration, that it had been too late for you to get any bets on the game. Did you say that to him or not?
MR ARONSTAM: I think we just discussed in general what had happened after he sent me the message. When he sent me the message, the SMS message in the morning I said, I said even now I said there was no betting and I could like reconfirm to him there was no betting.
MR DICKERSON: At the time you were employed by NSI, in what capacity?
MR ARONSTAM: I was in charge of trading, I was in charge of mostly any decision NSI had to make in the trading room.
MR DICKERSON: Were you a director of NSI?
MR ARONSTAM: No.
MR DICKERSON: Did NSI itself have any interest in the outcome of the Centurion test?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes, at the time before the end of the result, on the night before when I spoke to MR CRONJE they were probably going to lose about R34,000 and at the conclusion of the test, after the betting place they lost R13,000. It was one of the most dullest tests prior to the last day that we had ever bet on.
MR DICKERSON: And how would your employers at NSI have viewed the fact that you were approaching a South African player ...(intervention)
MR ARONSTAM: I never ever approached him on behalf of NSI. I approached him from my own personal capacity.
MR DICKERSON: I am not asking you that Mr Aronstam. I am saying to you, how would your employers, NSI, have viewed your approach to a South African player at any stage with an offer of payment of any kind for information or for anything else relating to the game of cricket?
MR ARONSTAM: I was, there are no employers, I was my own boss. I don't have to answer to anybody at NSI, when I worked there.
MR DICKERSON: I will ask it again, in a different form. Would NSI have approved of you approaching any South African cricketer with an offer of payment of any form for information or anything else?
MR ARONSTAM: Sorry just repeat your question again.
MR DICKERSON: Would NSI have approved of you approaching a South African cricketer with an offer of payment for information or anything else related to cricket?
MR ARONSTAM: Probably not.
MR DICKERSON: Mr Aronstam you were - let me put it to you this way, you seem to regard, with some pride, your role in speaking to MR CRONJE at the time of the Centurion test. You seem to regard yourself as a man of some importance within the game for having brought about that declaration.
MR ARONSTAM: Well I don't know if I regard myself as somebody important but it's something exciting.
MR DICKERSON: Do you really think that prior to you speaking to MR CRONJE it had never occurred to him or anybody else involved in that game that one way of reviving the match would be a declaration and a forfeiture of an innings?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes.
MR DICKERSON: Would it surprise you to know that at a function on the night of the third day, one day before you spoke to him and met with him, that very topic had been discussed, inter alia with a prominent attorney in Johannesburg?
MR ARONSTAM: It wouldn't surprise me, but the way he related to me it's as though I was the first person to tell him that.
MR DICKERSON: Lastly I want to clarify this because you have made statements here, seemingly on the basis of information which does not fall within your personal knowledge, and they, by design perhaps or otherwise, have been calculated to reflect upon a very senior and respected practitioner, so I would like to get one thing very clear with you Mr Aronstam. You have never, certainly before your arrival here in Cape Town, met with Mr Sackstein?
MR ARONSTAM: Never, ever.
MR DICKERSON: You have never had any discussion with Mr Sackstein?
MR ARONSTAM: Never ever.
MR DICKERSON: You have not been present when Mr Sackstein has any discussions with your attorneys or legal representatives or with anybody else.
MR ARONSTAM: Never, ever.
MR DICKERSON: And the best you can do in relation to anything said or done by Mr Sackstein is to recite a secondhand account which you have received from another source who may or may not be regarded by you as reliable.
MR ARONSTAM: I think he would be regarded by this whole court as reliable.
MR DICKERSON: But you, Mr Aronstam, have no basis of your own knowledge for making any statements relating to Mr Sackstein or his conduct, do you?
MR ARONSTAM: I can't say I can relate to it in detail, but I will take my word from my learned friend, Mr John Cameron, that what he told me was as good as gold.
MR DICKERSON: Mr Aronstam, I don't know whether you don't understand me or whether you choose not to understand me, so again let me make myself very clear, because statements you make and statements with important repercussions can be brought home. You of your own knowledge can pass no comment and give no evidence about what was or was not done by Mr Sackstein in any sphere.
MR ARONSTAM: I can't give any evidence or proof that I do know what was discussed between Mr Sackstein and Mr Cameron ...(intervention)
MR DICKERSON: Thank you Mr Aronstam.
MR ARONSTAM: I can only tell you what I know from Mr Cameron.
COMMISSIONER: Let him finish answering the question Mr Dickerson, carry on.
MR ARONSTAM: I can only tell you what Mr Cameron has told me.
MR DICKERSON: In other words, Mr Aronstam, as I have been putting it to you repeatedly, you cannot of your own knowledge, on the basis of your own observations, say anything in that regard.
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MR DICKERSON: Thank you Mr Aronstam. Mr Commissioner there are aspects raised in the evidence today which have been raised for the first time. We reserve the right to apply for the recall of Mr Aronstam in due course. But for the moment that is all we have.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR DICKERSON
COMMISSIONER: Thank you Mr Dickerson. Who will be next, Mr Fitzgerald.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR FITZGERALD: Mr Aronstam just one question. You mentioned during your discussion with Mr at the Sandton Sun, he had indicated to you that he had certain players in his pocket. As a fact you don't know whether that was so or not, do you?
MR ARONSTAM: I don't know. I have never ever spoken to another cricketer in the international area in my life. The first person I ever spoke to was Hansie Cronjé.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR FITZGERALD
COMMISSIONER: Mr Manca.
CROSS-EXAMINATION BY MR MANCA: Mr Aronstam you mentioned in your evidence that you were told by Mr R that Dr Bacher had allowed him, that is Mr R, to inspect the pitch at Newlands. You're only knowledge in that regard is what Mr R told you?
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MR MANCA: Just for the record I have managed to take instructions from Dr Bacher and Dr Bacher will deny that he ever allowed a Mr R or for that matter any other person to inspect the pitch.
MR ARONSTAM: Well all I can say to you is the other day Dr Bacher said that Mr R is a very reliable witness. And I can still remember Mr R telling me that Dr Bacher escorted him on to the pitch the day before and showed him the Newlands pitch.
MR MANCA: I accept that Mr R may have told you that Mr Aronstam, but we have established that your only knowledge comes from Mr R and I have just told you what Dr Bacher's response is.
MR ARONSTAM: Correct, 100%.
MR MANCA: Now Mr Aronstam I am a little intrigued. Could you tell me what your current profession is, or your current occupation?
MR ARONSTAM: At this stage, sitting here today.
MR MANCA: Today is good for me.
MR ARONSTAM: I work for myself. At the moment I am in the process of starting an internet site related to sports betting.
MR MANCA: How do you earn a living at the moment?
MR ARONSTAM: I have just sold my company.
MR MANCA: What was the name of your company?
MR ARONSTAM: My company was called NSI.
MR MANCA: Sorry is that National Sporting Index Ltd, the company that is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange?
MR ARONSTAM: Correct. I sold my shareholdings in National Sporting Index Ltd at the end of March. I was offered a very lucrative offer and I couldn't resist it.
MR MANCA: Perhaps if I could maybe then just enquire a little bit further about our relationship with National Sporting Index, my learned friend Mr Dickerson asked you if you were a director of that company, you are sure you weren't a director?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes, I was - due to certain things that happened when we first started the company I was not a director.
MR MANCA: What things might those be?
MR ARONSTAM: I was involved in litigation with Nedbank, which is still going on at the moment and I didn't think it to be appropriate if I am involved in litigation with Nedbank to become a director of the company.
MR MANCA: Right. But now from what I can hear you say, you say that you sold your company, would I be correct to say then - would it be correct for me to infer that you were the major shareholder in National Sporting Index Ltd?
MR ARONSTAM: I was one of the biggest shareholders in National Sporting Index.
MR MANCA: Mr Aronstam I asked you a simple question, and I will repeat it. Were you the major shareholder in National Sporting Index Ltd?
MR ARONSTAM: There was equal shareholdings.
MR MANCA: How many shares did you have?
COMMISSIONER: Mr Manca perhaps you could give me some indication of the necessity for all these personal questions.
MR MANCA: Once again Mr Commissioner I would stress that this is an inquiry and I don't quite have the terms of reference in front of me, but this inquiry certainly relates to betting activities in South Africa over a particular period of time, and I would suggest that it is an issue worth investigating, being the conduct of employees, officers, of a company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in relation to information, money and the like which such people may have given to South African cricketers during that period. And that's why I think it is extremely relevant, with respect, Mr Commissioner.
COMMISSIONER: Yes but the last few words of your answer may have some relevance. Well now why not get to the point and find out if this gentleman has given any money to South African cricket ...(intervention)
MR MANCA: Well we know he has Mr Commissioner. He's ...(intervention)
COMMISSIONER: I am not going to allow a series of personal questions unless I am satisfied that they are directly relevant to the inquiry.
MR MANCA: Mr Commissioner my learned friend Mr Dickerson pursued a line of enquiry with Mr Aronstam in relation to what the view of National Sporting Index Ltd would have been with regard to his providing Hansie Cronjé with money and information. The answer was not, with respect, satisfactory from the witness because the witness indicated that well he was sort-of self-employed and it had nothing to do with National Sporting Index Ltd. Within the few questions that I have asked him it turns out that in fact to all intents and purposes he was the co-owner of National Sporting Index Ltd.
COMMISSIONER: What is the relevance of that? I beg your pardon.
MR MANCA: Once again Mr Commissioner the relevance is that this Commission is not, with respect, only investigating the conduct of MR CRONJE. It is investigating the ...(intervention)
COMMISSIONER: Obviously so.
MR MANCA: May I proceed with the line of questioning?
COMMISSIONER: Without having the need to state the obvious, I know that it is not only an investigation into Hansie Cronjé.
MR MANCA: Well Mr Commissioner I would also submit that any background information that Mr Aronstam can give me is also, with respect, relevant to his credibility, as would his conduct be as, and I still don't know, I am going to ask him again, what appears to be his 50% shareholding in a company that was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
MR ARONSTAM: You said 50% I never.
MR MANCA: I haven't got that far, but give me a moment. In January of 2000 what was the percentage shareholding which you held in National Sporting Index Ltd?
MR ARONSTAM: 12.5%.
MR MANCA: You said that you had a major shareholding and/or an equal shareholding. Were there a number of other people who had 12.5%?
MR ARONSTAM: There were two people who had 12.5% and the balance of people had a lot less. A lot of people have got shares. It was a listed company, money was raised, and when you raise you don't - own a balance of your company, you only own a small percentage. And one of the reasons I left National Sporting Index I owned too small a share in the company.
MR MANCA: Who were the other two major shareholders, the other two persons who owned 12.5% each in National Sporting Index Ltd?
MR ARONSTAM: I am prepared to tell you but I don't think it's relevant. If the Judge says I must tell you I will tell you.
MR MANCA: I want you to tell me Mr Aronstam.
COMMISSIONER: If it's relevant Mr Manca ...(intervention)
MR ARONSTAM: I'll only tell you if the Judge says I must tell you ...(intervention)
COMMISSIONER: Just a moment - what is the relevance of knowing who the other shareholders are?
MR MANCA: Well perhaps Mr Commissioner it might be relevant to know what those two other shareholders would have thought of Mr Aronstam's conduct in approaching MR CRONJE and offering him money for information.
COMMISSIONER: I have not the slightest interest in what the other two shareholders of NSI would have - concerned, would have been had they known that Mr Aronstam was doing ...(intervention)
MR MANCA: As it pleases you Mr Commissioner.
Mr Aronstam you have told this Commission that you are knowledgeable in cricket, is that correct?
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MR MANCA: And in fact I listened with interest today when in fact you were able to tell the Commissioner that you were even aware of changes to the ICC regulations, is that correct?
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MR MANCA: Mr Aronstam in January of this year when you approached MR CRONJE at his hotel were you aware that in terms of the ICC's Code of Conduct Commission, which regulations I get from the Code of Conduct Standing Playing Conditions and other regulations published in September 1999, the Code of Conduct Commission is directed to investigate, inter alia the following:
"Whether amongst others, any cricket player has received, from another person any money, benefit or other reward, whether financial or otherwise for the provision of any information concerning the weather; the teams; the state of the ground; the status or, or the outcome of any match or the occurrence of any event unless such information has been provided to a newspaper or other form of media in accordance with an obligation in the normal course and disclosed in advance to the cricket authority of the relevant member country".
Were you aware of those regulations?
MR ARONSTAM: I wasn't, no. But I will tell you something, I think it's, I think that it's very silly that the only people that should be able to get any information on cricket is the media. Why shouldn't everybody get the information?
MR MANCA: I have now told you about that regulation, do I understand you to say that you disagree with that regulation?
MR ARONSTAM: That's something which is not for me to discuss here, but I did not know at the time about that topic, no.
MR MANCA: Mr Aronstam I have just told you about that regulation and I am going to ask you a simple question. Do you agree with it?
MR ARONSTAM: No.
MR MANCA: And would I be correct to say that as a result of you not agreeing with it you don't care to abide by it.
MR ARONSTAM: I never said that.
MR MANCA: Mr Aronstam I didn't suggest that you said it, I am asking you a question.
MR ARONSTAM: There are certain things which I don't agree with that I have to abide by. Had I known that I probably wouldn't have done what I did. So - there are a lot of things in life that you don't agree with but you have to abide by. If those are the laws well then you have to abide by them.
MR MANCA: Mr Aronstam as at January of this year were you aware that Shane Warne and Mark Waugh, two very prominent Australian cricketers had been fined by the Australian Cricket Board for providing information to bookmakers and punters?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes.
MR MANCA: So whether you knew of the exact terms of the ICC regulations you knew that the conduct that you were engaging upon with MR CRONJE was contrary to what was, could at least, at the very least be regarded as generally accepted behaviour in cricketing circles.
MR ARONSTAM: There are certain things which you are debating at the moment which I am not totally convinced are for this topic of discussion here, but there are certain things - the problem with the ICC at the moment is they are making all bookmakers sound like we are criminals, and we are not. Probably the root of all the problem that's going on at the moment in world cricket, the ICC have known all along that matches are being crooked, and they are the ones who have not come out to sort this out. They should have sorted this out long ago after knowing about what's happened. For example in 1994 Pakistan/South Africa etc, my problem is very small regarding the ICC.
MR MANCA: Mr Aronstam - Mr Commissioner I just want to take instructions.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR MANCA
COMMISSIONER: Thank you.
MS BATOHI: Before we adjourn Mr Commissioner I wish to ...(intervention)
COMMISSIONER: Well I am hoping that we are not going to adjourn until we finish Mr Aronstam.
MS BATOHI: Yes as it pleases you Mr Commissioner. I wish to place on record that my learned friend Mr Dickerson was incorrect when he said that it wasn't put to MR CRONJE that Mr Aronstam will say that certain players were involved. This appears in page 761, lines 14-20 of the record.
COMMISSIONER: I thought I had heard the phrase earlier. Then it's a question of ...(intervention)
RE-EXAMINATION BY MR BLUMBERG: Thank you Mr Commissioner. Just one or two aspects.
The approaches for the meetings between you and Cronjé, first in Bloemfontein and Pietermaritzburg, who were they made by?
MR ARONSTAM: They were made by MR CRONJE.
MR BLUMBERG: Did you at any stage suggest any such meetings?
MR ARONSTAM: He said we should get together to discuss and because of the nature that he was a prominent figure that he couldn't - for example I didn't expect him to fly to Johannesburg or etc. I think he was going through a lot at the time to have to get on to an aeroplane. I said I don't mind, I'll come up to Bloemfontein.
MR BLUMBERG: Did you suggest a meeting with him at any time or did it come from him?
MR ARONSTAM: He said that on the telephone we should discuss everything in detail and I said to him I don't think it's - if you want to discuss discuss it face-to-face, don't discuss it on the telephone.
MR BLUMBERG: If there had not been a declaration would you still have given the gift to Hansie?
MR ARONSTAM: I definitely would have given him the R50,000.
MR BLUMBERG: Now the R50,000, the timing of that payment, what was the state of the forthcoming, or how far away were the forthcoming One-day Tri-nation series?
MR ARONSTAM: The test match ended on the Tuesday, the first match started on the Friday.
MR BLUMBERG: And the payments were made on?
MR ARONSTAM: The Wednesday and the Thursday.
MR BLUMBERG: So it was shortly before the ...(intervention)
MR ARONSTAM: Shortly, basically just before they started.
NO FURTHER QUESTIONS BY MR BLUMBERG
COMMISSIONER: Thank you Mr Aronstam.
MS BATOHI: Mr Commissioner there is just one question, if I could, with your leave, just put this before. Mr Aronstam just regarding the first payment of R30,000 to MR CRONJE, would word of that payment of R30,000 have gotten out soon after the payment?
MR ARONSTAM: It shouldn't have, no.
MS BATOHI: Did you tell anybody about it?
MR ARONSTAM: I never mentioned to anybody the word "30,000" ever. I might have told a couple of people 50, but not 30.
MS BATOHI: Has the issue of indemnity from prosecution ever been discussed with you?
MR ARONSTAM: No.
MS BATOHI: Have you been - well I think that's sufficient.
Is it correct that in your consultation with myself you discussed the fact that immediately after the storm had broken, so-to-speak, you went off to your attorney Mr Cameron and discussed and told him exactly what had happened between you and MR CRONJE?
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MS BATOHI: And as a result of your discussion with Mr Cameron what was decided should be done?
MR ARONSTAM: Should contact MR CRONJE as soon as possible.
MS BATOHI: And as a result of what was decided then did your attorney meet with Mr Sackstein?
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MS BATOHI: And on your evidence he reported to you after that what had happened?
MR ARONSTAM: Correct.
MS BATOHI: Are you aware of any articles being faxed by yourself or on your instructions to Mr Sackstein?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes. What transpired from that day was while we were watching the test match a friend of mine in London faxed me with articles about what had happened at Centurion Park. I in turn, my friend, my attorney Mr John Cameron was present with me at the time, we read the articles and that night he took them and gave a copy to Mr Sackstein.
MS BATOHI: Although you were not present at that meeting with Mr Sackstein but would you have expected, and from what your attorney later told you, did he convey to Mr Sackstein everything that you had told him about your knowledge about what happened between you and MR CRONJE?
MR ARONSTAM: Yes.
MR DICKERSON: Mr Commissioner with respect, that's not a question this witness can answer, he wasn't there. The question is directed at eliciting hearsay.
COMMISSIONER: Perhaps the simplest thing would be to find out from Mr Sackstein in due course whether he disputes what Mr Aronstam has told me.
MR DICKERSON: Yes, or perhaps to call Mr Cameron Mr Commissioner.
MR ARONSTAM: I don't think Mr Sackstein will deny it.
MR BLUMBERG: Mr Chairman, I am sorry, there is just one further issue where I would just like to clarify because there seems to be along the line of the questioning by my learned friend for MR CRONJE that the date of Mr Aronstam's preparation of his statement, I have before me the draft statement and the date and time that it was despatched to Cape Town from Johannesburg, which doesn't differ in any really material respect from the final signed statement being Monday June 19 at 2:43 p.m., long before MR CRONJE entered the witness box.
COMMISSIONER: That was faxed?
MR BLUMBERG: That was a facsimile sent. I have it in my possession. It is available to be examined by whoever wishes to.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you very much Mr Aronstam.
COMMISSIONER: We'll adjourn now and we will reconvene on Monday next, at half past nine.
MR BLUMBERG: Mr Chairman can I just place on record and ask that I be excused on Monday. My learned friend Mr Witts will carry on with the other client.
COMMISSIONER: Thank you for your assistance.
MR BLUMBERG: Thank you.
COMMISSION ADJOURNS AT 16H05