|British snooker cheat Stephen Lee banished for fixing matches including China Open
England snooker player Stephen Lee (pictured at China Open last year) was banned for a record 12 years after being found guilty of seven charges of match-fixing, snooker's world governing body announced.
He had fixed three matches in the Malta Cup in 2008, two in the UK Championship the same year, one in the 2009 China Open and one in the 2009 world championship.
The 38-year-old Lee, the former world number five, was found guilty by an independent tribunal last week of match-fixing charges relating to seven matches in 2008 and 2009. Sanctions were imposed today, AFP reports.
Lee was also ordered to pay £40,000 costs by tribunal chairman Adam Lewis, one of England's leading sports lawyers.
The global governing body said Lee was in contact with three different groups of people all of whom placed bets on the outcomes of his matches or on the outcomes of frames within his matches or on the exact score of his matches.
The total amount bet on these matches was in excess of £111,000 leading to winnings of over £97,000 for the persons placing the bets.
“The suspension is to be calculated from 12 October 2012, when the interim suspension was imposed. Therefore Stephen Lee will not be able to participate in snooker before 12 October 2024,'' said a statement issued by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, the global governing body.
The body sought a life ban but disciplinary chief Nigel Mawer insisted a 12-year-ban was effectively the same thing as he thought it unlikely Lee would return to top-level snooker.
Lee has the right of appeal.
In his judgement, tribunal chair Lewis noted that life-bans were not part of the disciplinary rules at the time of Lee's offenses but that he had the discretion to impose such a punishment.
Lee's case is the biggest match-fixing scandal to hit snooker since Australia's Quinten Hann was suspended for eight years in 2006 after he was caught in a sting by undercover reporters where he agreed to lose a game at the China Open in return for money.
Last year, Joe Jogia was banned for two years after the WPBSA found him guilty of breaching betting rules.