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Champagne was passed on to Woolmer

The two champagne bottles found in Bob Woolmer's room were passed on to him by Mushtaq Ahmed, Pakistan's assistant coach, who had left them in his hotel room, according to Pervez Mir, Pakistan's media manager during the World Cup.

The possible significance of the champagne emerged earlier in the week with a report in The Sunday Times suggesting that Woolmer may have been poisoned by weedkiller after traces were found in his stomach and on a champagne glass.

Mir told the Pakistani TV channel ARY, with whom he is employed, that Talat Ali, the Pakistan manager, was a witness to the bottles being passed on to Woolmer in the team hotel in Jamaica.

Mushtaq, in Lahore on a brief visit, reacted sharply to the development, explaining to reporters later that there was nothing in the incident and that he had already explained the position to the police. Mushtaq revealed that the the bottles were given to him by a friend for the team's liaison officer. They were left in his room as the liaison officer was not around at the time.

"In the meantime, Bob came to my room to inquire about my health since a ball had hit me in the face during nets on the same morning," Mushtaq said. "Woolmer asked me for the bottles and I gave him since the liaison officer was not there and I am not fond of liquor at all. The entire incident happened in front of some players who were sitting in my room when Bob came."

Mir, who had been questioned by the Jamaican police along with members of the Pakistani team before they were allowed to fly back home, said that he had not spoken to the police about the bottles. He maintained that Mushtaq would have given the bottles to Woolmer in "the best of spirit and as a matter of goodwill".

The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) refused to comment on Mir's statement, saying that it had no official communication from the Jamaican authorities. When contacted, Talat Ali said that he could not understand all the speculation surrounding the case. "All I can say is that this is a police case and we all recorded our statements with the police in Jamaica. Saying anything on this issue will only add fuel to [the] fire."

Mir said he did not know who the guests of Pakistani origin were and was not sure whether Mushtaq knew them. He added that journalists were stretching the issue too far and reiterated that the police had not questioned him on this issue.