JOHANNESBURG: Banned former South Africa Test batsman Alviro Petersen said Thursday he hired a bodyguard because he feared for the safety of himself and his family during investigations into cricket match-fixing.
In a statement issued by his charitable foundation, Petersen claimed that the plea bargain he reached with Cricket South Africa (CSA), accepting a two-year ban, vindicated his insistence that he was not corrupt.
Petersen pleaded guilty to charges of failing to disclose approaches to engage in corrupt conduct, failing to disclose full details of evidence involving another player, and of concealing and destroying evidence.
CSA withdrew charges relating to fixing or contriving to fix matches and of accepting or offering to accept a bribe or other reward to fix or influence matches.
The statement issued on his behalf said: “The events that gave rise to the charges Alviro has pleaded guilty to took place under pressured and unusual circumstances.“
Petersen admitted taking part in discussions with former international player and Lions franchise teammate Gulam Bodi, who was banned for 20 years for acting as an intermediary for illegal bookmakers.
“These discussions took place at a time when Alviro knew that the fixing scandal was under investigation and he was convinced that the fixing operation would be shut down imminently.
“Knowing that the match-fixing is controlled by criminal gangs, Alviro feared for his and his family’s safety, to the point where he engaged a bodyguard while playing for the Lions last season.”
Petersen claimed he had assisted an anti-corruption officer, “to the point that he gave him information and details of a possible fix that was going to happen hours before a game”.
The 36-Test veteran admitted that he should have reported his discussions with Bodi and that he should have made a full disclosure earlier. He said he wanted other players to learn from his experience.
The statement concluded by stating that Petersen, 35, is studying for a law degree and a management diploma and that he intended to stay fit with a view to resuming his cricket career when his ban ends in November 2018.