London (Agencies): The tarnished Pakistan trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Amir were on Friday charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept payments and to cheat by the UK prosecution service in the spot-fixing scandal that rocked the world of cricket in 2010.

The three cricketers, who have been suspended since September last by International Cricket Council (ICC), have been issued summons by Britain's Crown Prosecution Service to a first hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on March 17.

Bookie Mazhar Majeed, who spilled the beans in a 'News of the World' sting operation that the three players took money to throw deliberate no-balls during the Lord's Test between Pakistan and England in August last year, was also charged with the same offences.

Earlier, the three players and Majeed were interrogated by London Metropolitan Police. Majeed was arrested but later released. A third fast bowler, Wahab Riaz, was also interrogated.

"We have decided that Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Asif, Salman Butt and their agent, Mazhar Majeed, should be charged with conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments and also
conspiracy to cheat," Simon Clements, head of the CPS Special Crime Division, said.

"These charges relate to allegations that Mr Majeed accepted money from a third party to arrange for the players to bowl 'no balls' on 26 and 27 August 2010, during Pakistan's Fourth Test at Lord's Cricket Ground in London," he said.

"Summonses for the same court date [March 17] have been issued for the three players and they have been asked to return to this country voluntarily, as they agreed to do in September last year. Their extradition will be sought should they fail to return," he added.

The framing of the charges came just a day before an ICC tribunal announces its conclusions on the case in Doha on Saturday. The tribunal quizzed the players over 45 hours in Doha last month.

The players have been suspended from all forms of cricket since September 3 after the UK tabloid claimed they bowled no-balls at pre-fixed times during the fourth Test at Lord's to fix spot-betting markets.

The trio were alleged to have been paid 150,000 pounds (USD 241,000) through Majeed who was believed to have accepted 50,000 pound to set up the deal.

CPS head Simon Clemence said his organisation, which was responsible for prosecuting criminal cases probed by British police, believed it had sufficient proof to convict
the players.

The three players could be subject to extradition proceedings if they do not return to Britain to face the trial.