August 10, 2003

Warne in dirty-talk scandal yet again

Wisden CricInfo staff

Shane Warne is seeking legal advice after being accused of bombarding a South African woman with raunchy telephone calls, his manager has said.

South Africa's Sunday Times newspaper reported that Helen Cohen Alon, a 45-year-old divorced mother from Johannesburg, claims she was offered R200,000 (28,000 USD) by Warne's associate to keep quiet about their relationship, phone calls and a series of text messages. She claims in the newspaper report that the phone messages continued long after she met Warne in South Africa.

Cohen Alon accuses Warne of calling her up to 40 times after a models' party, "saying he wanted me" and sending her text messages.

Jason Warne, Shane's brother and manager, on Sunday issued a written response to the newspaper allegations through their joint management company, 23 Red. "We regard the allegations of the South African woman, Helen Cohen Alon, as a personal issue between Shane, Simone, Warne's wife, and the relevant parties," the statement said.

"This appears to be a blatant attempt by a person attempting to set up someone for personal gain - whether that be monetary or notoriety - and we will consult our legal people in this regard."

"We feel to comment on the issue would only further assist her in gaining the result she is conspiring to create. Therefore, Shane and anyone connected to him will not be making any further comments on this topic."

Warne, serving a 12-month suspension from international cricket for failing a drugs test, lost the Australian vice-captaincy in August 2000, after admitting he made lewd telephone calls to a British nurse.

Cohen Alon said she first met Warne on February 20 last year at a clothing store in a Johannesburg suburb, where the Australian team was based during its Test and one-day tour of South Africa.