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Star Ken is standing by pal Higgins over €300k bribe claim

IRISH snooker star Ken Doherty says his friend John Higgins is "innocent until proven guilty" over €300,000 match-fixing allegations.

The Scottish player's career is in jeopardy after he was recorded allegedly agreeing to throw frames.

Doherty, the Irish snooker champ and Higgins's close pal, said he would reserve judgment until all the facts were known.

"He's a good friend," he said. "Every man is innocent until proven guilty, so I want to wait and see what the outcome is."

Higgins's agent Pat Mooney has claimed that the snooker star only went along with the proposals because he feared they involved the Russian mafia.

"John is utterly beside himself. He is suicidal. This has devastated him," he said.

The meeting between Higgins (34), Mooney (47) and a fake businessman took place last Friday at a hotel in Kiev, Ukraine.


Higgins is recorded as saying: "It's easy, it's easy. No risk."

Mooney interrupts: "You make one mistake." Higgins then replies: "You don't even have to make a mistake."

The three-time world champion is then recorded plotting just how he will receive the bribe. Mooney has resigned from the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA).

Mooney went on to claim that Higgins had become concerned by what was happening and told the fake businessman whatever he wanted to hear to get out of the meeting.

"John said to me before we went in he felt really spooked," Mooney claimed.

"We agreed we'd say whatever was necessary to get out of there.

"What you can't see on camera is how scared we both were."

The chairman of the WPBSA, Barry Hearn has suspended Higgins and a former police chief has begun a probe.

"This matter has brought the very fabric of the game into question," Hearn said.