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Alon denies blackmailing Warne

Last updated on: August 12, 2003 16:16 IST

The 'text' sex saga involving Australian legspinner Shane Warne and Helen Cohen Alon was becoming murkier with the South African woman charging that she was not alone at the receiving end of harassment by the bowler and offering to sell the sleaze story to a an Australian daily.

The woman has offered to give the entire story exclusively to Sydney Morning Herald for US $250,000, but the paper said on Tuesday it had declined to accept it.

Cohen Alon, a 45-year-old divorcee, however, insisted she had no intention of blackmailing the leg-spinner and told the paper from Johannesburg that Warne had harassed many women, including few in South Africa and 'the truth must come out'.

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"Why would I want to blackmail Shane Warne when he is a friend of mine? Why doesn't he just come out with the truth that he did harass me?

"....I really liked him and I still do. He is a fantastic guy. There's nothing wrong with him. It's just that you cannot get away with things that you try and do to a woman all the time.

"I am not the only woman he has harassed. There's quite a few women and there are a few women in South Africa - in my own country - that he's done that to.

"And I am the one that's sitting with the truth. The truth will come out," she was quoted as saying.

Alon has claimed that Warne had been pestering her with salacious telephone calls and messages. She also claimed that the cricketer, currently serving a 12-month ban from international cricket, called her up '40 times' in a day and sent lewd and erotic messages.

Warne's camp is silent since the statement made by his managing company that the bowler was being set up for someone's 'personal gains'.

Meanwhile, the paper quoted her New-York based lawyer Donald Levine as saying: "She doesn't want to give the story away unless she is walking out of it with something in her hand... unless she gets US $250,000, or we can negotiate on that."

This is not the first time that Warne has been accused of such a charge. In August 2000 the spin bowler had admitted to have made lewd calls to a British nurse while playing county cricket in England. He subsequently lost the Australian Test team's vice-captaincy over the incident.

Alon has claimed that she was offered US $28,000 by an associate of Warne to keep quiet about their relationship.

Insisting that her life was under threat, the woman said, "I am going to go to the police because I've been receiving calls... when nobody speaks on the other side, and it comes through on an anonymous number. So what is that? It's harassment. It's somebody that's trying to scare me."    

Alon told the Daily Telegraph that she would sue Victoria coach David Hookes for his 'disparaging' remarks about her to the Australian media.

Hookes had referred to her as 'some dopey, hairy-backed sheila who has dobbed him (Warne) in across the other side of the world. If that's what she wants to do to earn some cash that's her decision. Let's find out the facts before we hang Warney on this one'.

One of the newspapers quoted Alon as saying, "One of ourcricket captains Hansie Cronje died in a plane crash, but it's now been found that he was murdered to keep him quiet about certain things that he was going to expose.

"I want the world to know the truth. I want somebody to get exclusive rights on this... and then I'm going to walk away from it all, leave this country and go and live in another country for a while and get my life back together again.

"It's because of Shane Warne that my life is in the crap that it's in at the moment, and he's not going to get away with it... but I need to get the truth out before anything happens to me. That's all I'm prepared to say."

While the fans and sponsors are used to claims of misbehaviour against Warne, officials and players were 'frustrated' by the latest scandal as was evident from various feedbacks to papers and news channels.

Neena Bhandari in Sydney
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