England cricket captain Eoin Morgan has been the target of a bizarre blackmail plot just hours before the one day international against Australia, it was revealed today.
The England Cricket Board said it had been contacted by an individual demanding £35,000 before the first ball of the Tri-Series match tomorrow.
The man threatened to reveal embarrassing details of a brief relationship between the England captain and a Australian woman five years ago.
Details of the blackmail bid were revealed to the Standard today by the England Cricket Board amid fears it could disrupt the crucial one day match.
The ECB informed Scotland Yard of the blackmail bid and police tracked down the individual to Australia within 24 hours.
Paul Downton, the managing director of the England and Wales Cricket Board, said the board had received two emails within the last 48 hours from an individual in Australia trying to extort money making accusations against the England captain.
Mr Downton said: “There were references to a relationship that Eoin Morgan had five years ago with a single Australian lady.
“It was brief relationship five years ago and what appears to be a fairly deliberate attempt to extort a sum of money from the ECB.
“The individual, who comes from Hobart, demanded that the money be paid before the first ball was played on Friday.”
The suspect has been identified as an Australian resident of Hobart who is the new boyfriend of the woman Morgan dated five years ago.
The individual is understood to have found a phone with details of Morgan’s relationship with the unnamed woman.
He is believed to have threatened to reveal embarrassing details of the affair, including videos.
The man said to have been behind the alleged blackmail attempt was named in Australia as Nick Emery, who is described as a workplace safety consultant.
Mr Emery told the Herald Sun he was in possession of “sexually based’’ messages exchanged between his partner and Morgan last year.
He said : “I have got a fair bit of interesting content regarding Eoin Morgan with a woman who isn’t his girlfriend … there’s sexual content. It’s my partner.’’
Mr Emery said he had an urgent meeting yesterday with English cricket board members in Hobart, which had settled the matter.