The head of New Zealand Cricket David White denied colluding with corruption investigators to let Brendon McCullum play in the Cricket World Cup on home soil in return for the "scalp" of Chris Cairns.

Giving evidence in the Southwark Crown Court, where Cairns stands trial on charges of perjury and perverting the course of justice, Mr White said there was "absolutely" no truth to the suggestion from Cairns' defence lawyer Orlando Pownall QC.

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He told the court that he received a visit from John Rhodes and Martin Vertigen, investigators from the Anti Corruption and Security Unit of the International Cricket Council, in August 2013.


Also at the meeting was Lindsay Crocker, the anti-corruption official for NZC, where Mr White was first made aware of match-fixing allegations against Lou Vincent, Daryl Tuffey and Chris Cairns.

Over the coming months, Mr White said he received briefings from the ICC about progress in the case.

He told the court that he received a phone call from New Zealand Herald journalist Dylan Cleaver one evening in December 2013, who informed Mr White that he knew about the investigation and asked for comment. "I made it very clear I was unable to comment," said Mr White.

The New Zealand Herald broke the story about the investigation, without naming the trio, on December 5, 2013 which triggered international media interest.

The Daily Mail in the United Kingdom then named the three players.

When that happened, Chris Cairns sent a text message to Mr White which he said the gist was "this is ridiculous, we need to meet to sort this out".

Mr White took advice and then declined to speak or meet with Cairns, instead referring him to the ICC.

He confirmed that he had previously met with Cairns and his wife Mel to discuss a proposal for New Zealand Cricket to establish a youth academy for elite coaching, to be run by Cairns and his father Lance. Nothing came of the proposal, said Mr White.

David White speaks to the media regarding speculation about match-fixing in May 2014. Photo / Sarah Ivey
David White speaks to the media regarding speculation about match-fixing in May 2014. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Cairns' lawyer told Mr White that his recollection of the first meeting with the ICC investigators were wrong, as Vincent had not yet implicated Tuffey or Cairns in matchfixing.

Those names were not mentioned by Vincent to Mr Rhodes or Mr Vertigen until the day after they met with Mr White.

Instead, Mr Pownall said Mr White's meeting with the ICC investigators was actually about Vincent playing in the Champions League tournament in South Africa in 2012.

The QC also suggested Mr White could have warned Sky Television that Cairns was under investigation, as he was working as a commentator in the test match between New Zealand and the West Indies in December 2013.

"I could have," said Mr White, who said that decision was not part of a wider strategy.
He conceded that he did not try to stop the Herald from publishing the initial story, but the following year New Zealand Cricket supported a successful injunction application to stop the Daily Mail from publishing the leaked testimony of Lou Vincent, Brendon McCullum and Ellie Riley.

Asked if he tried to stop a story about McCullum, but not Cairns, Mr White said New Zealand Cricket had a duty of care to its current employee - McCullum - not a former player accused of matchfixing in a different jurisdiction.

The court had earlier heard that McCullum alleged Cairns approached him twice in 2008 but did not report him to the ICC until 2011, nearly two and half years later.

McCullum also told fellow players Daniel Vettori, the New Zealand captain at the time, and his close friend Kyle Mills.

A player can be banned for between one and five years for failing to report a spot-fixing approach without undue delay.

Mr White said he made a mistake in a media interview when he described the time period which has elapsed as a "slight delay", as he had the wrong information.

Brendon McCullum at Southwark Crown Court. He has accused Chris Cairns of trying to recruit him. Photo / Chris Gorman
Brendon McCullum at Southwark Crown Court. He has accused Chris Cairns of trying to recruit him. Photo / Chris Gorman

In a different interview, Mr White said he was told that the ICC was comfortable with how McCullum reported the approach and he assumed the New Zealand players would not face any sanctions.

Any questions about why McCullum and others like Vettori were not sanctioned should be referred to the ICC, said Mr White, as it was not in the jurisdiction of New Zealand Cricket.

"It's the ICC's rule and it's their view that counts."

Mr Pownall suggested Mr White colluded with the ICC in such a way that McCullum and Vettori, star New Zealand players, would not be banned for failing to report the alleged approach from Cairns.

This was a trade for the "scalp" of Cairns, said Mr Pownall.

"Absolute not," replied Mr White.

Crown prosecutor Sasha Wass QC then asked whether he and the ICC investigators "threw away the rulebook" in order for McCullum to play and another cricketer could be "hung out to dry".

"I would never do that".