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Petersen denies involvement in fixing, rejects CSA's plea bargain

File photo - Alviro Petersen rejected CSA's plea bargain because he thought the charges were "heavy-handed" AFP

Former South Africa opening batsman Alviro Petersen has denied ever accepting a bribe or contriving to fix matches but admitted to "playing along" with those involved in the match-fixing scandal in the domestic T20 tournament. Petersen was charged on Saturday by Cricket South Africa with six breaches of the anti-corruption code. In a statement through his lawyer Robin Twaddle, Petersen confirmed that he rejected a plea bargain because he regards the charges as "heavy-handed", and would welcome a tribunal instead. He also claimed to know of at least one other player who has not been charged by CSA.

In the statement, Twaddle wrote that Petersen was "surprised" when he learned of charges being drawn up against him at the end of July because the cricketer had been co-operating with the investigation. "Alviro acknowledges and admits that he played along with other persons involved in the scandal so as not to alert them to the fact that an investigation was underway," Twaddle writes. "Alviro was in constant contact with the investigative team from the time he reported his knowledge of the scandal until Bodi was charged and he gave information that he had received of actual plans to influence matches to the investigative unit."

In March, Petersen revealed he had reported fixing approaches but did not consider himself under investigation. At the time, he also said the ACSU was aware of his meetings and discussions with other players. Petersen maintained that he blew the whistle on Gulam Bodi and five other players, who were subsequently banned for between seven and 20 years.

Since then, Petersen has been involved in what Twaddle called "a lengthy negotiating period" with CSA during which the board offered him a plea bargain. Although the details of that agreement have not been revealed, Petersen rejected it because he thought it excessive.

"Whilst Alviro is willing to take responsibility for his actions over this period, although they were taken in good faith under the circumstances at the time, he could not reach agreement with CSA because he believes that the sanctions which would have been imposed were disproportionate to Alviro's actions and do not take sufficient cognisance of the defenses and mitigating circumstances put forward by Alviro," Twaddle wrote.

Petersen, who was due to play for the Lions franchise in the domestic T20 competition which started on Saturday, has been suspended from all cricket activities. He has 14 days to officially respond to CSA. Twaddle is out of the country until November 22.