The British Horseracing Authority has concluded its investigation into laying activity on 27 races taking place in 2003 and 2004. The laying involved horses ridden by Kieren Fallon, Dean McKeown and Dean Mernagh. The laying was done by Mark, Bruce and Lloyd Bennett and 4 other non-licensed individuals.
The evidence collected during the investigation has given the Authority considerable cause for concern about the conduct of each of the jockeys, and that of the non-licensed persons, in relation to the transmission and use of inside information.
The Authority has concluded however, in the light of particular circumstances relating to each jockey, including that none of them is currently licensed to participate in the sport, that the interests of racing would not be best served by the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against them. Each of the jockeys would have to apply to the Authority if and when they wish to be relicensed.
Kieren Fallon is serving a worldwide suspension imposed on him by the Disciplinary Committee of France Galop following a second positive test for cocaine. The ban expires in September 2009. Kieren Fallon will undergo an individually-tailored drug testing and assessment programme, the successful completion of which, including a favourable report from the Authority’s medical team, is a condition of his returning to the sport.
In arriving at its decision not to bring disciplinary proceedings against Kieren Fallon the Authority has given considerable weight to frank admissions made by him in relation to the past and his willingness to accept a rigorous regime to ensure he is and remains both drug free, and compliant with the Rules of Racing regarding the use of inside information. Provided those undertakings are kept, the Authority will not object to Kieren Fallon returning to British racing through the licensing process. Kieren Fallon has also accepted that his attitude to inside information has in the past been reckless, conceding that he has been too free with such information and careless about whom he passed it to. He has accepted that if he were to act again as he has done in the past he would be in breach of the Rules of the Racing. He has agreed to attend appropriate training in relation to inside information.
The Authority has also taken into account factors including the following:
• Kieren Fallon is currently serving a worldwide suspension following a second positive drugs test in France. This ban expires in September 2009, and any penalty imposed in Britain following a finding of a breach would be unlikely to significantly extend that.
• Kieren Fallon was unable to participate in British horseracing between July 2006 and December 2007, following a prohibition on riding placed on him by the BHA’s predecessor body when he was charged with serious criminal offences involving race-fixing.
• The subsequent dismissal of the criminal charges.
• The fact that an Inquiry into Kieren Fallon’s involvement with the Bennetts and their associates would not include any allegations of race-fixing, or the “stopping” of horses.
Dean Mernagh is not currently licensed by the Authority or involved in any way in British racing. He has given no indication that he wishes to return to the sport in Britain. Were he to do so he would have to satisfy the Licensing Committee that he was a fit and proper person to be involved in the sport, including addressing concerns in relation to his involvement with the Bennetts, which will remain on file.
Dean McKeown is disqualified until November 2012. Should he wish to return to the sport after that time, or should his outstanding appeal against that penalty be successful, he also will have to answer the Authority’s concerns in relation to his involvement with the Bennetts, which will remain on file, and satisfy the Licensing Committee that he is a fit and proper person to be involved in the sport.
The Bennetts and the other non-licensed individuals have either refused or failed to cooperate with the investigation. As a result the Authority has begun the process to exclude those individuals from licensed premises.
For more information please contact Paul Struthers, Media Relations Manager, on 020 7189 3862 or 07966 590105.
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
The 27 races took place between 30 September 2003 and 14 April 2004. Kieren Fallon rode 19 of the horses, Dean McKeown five and Dean Mernagh three.
23 February 2004 Information received from Betfair on suspicious account activities
15 April 2004 Request made to Betfair under the MoU to release data
25 June 2004 Information on Bennetts passed to City of London Police following a request from them for any further information on individuals of interest to them. Investigation suspended following request from City of London Police
3 November 2004 Formal request from CPS confirming request to suspend our own investigations
7 December 2007 Trial at the Old Bailey ends
14 December 2007 First letter to City of London Police requesting disclosure
16 July 2008 After lengthy correspondence, first disclosure from City of London Police
29 July 2008 Additional disclosure from City of London Police
30 July 2008 Panorama programme, entitled “Racing’s Dirty Secrets” aired on BBC1. Details of Bruce Bennett’s betting being investigated revealed. Ben Gunn, interviewed by Panorama on behalf of the BHA, said in response to questions about the Bennetts, “I’m not going to discuss the Bennett case because as I have said several times, those issues are with our legal advisers at this very moment to see whether or not there are any disciplinary offences arising out of the whole period of time and indeed evidence given at the trial.”
In a Disciplinary Panel hearing of 9 July 2007, Dean Mernagh admitted to providing Inside Information on 10 different occasions to gamblers, knowing that they were using the information to lay horses to lose. He admitted to being paid £200 each time the Inside Information led to a successful result (ie the horse being beaten). Dean Mernagh was suspended for 9 months for a breach of Rule 243, in that he passed inside information for reward.
Dean Mernagh is not currently licensed. He is still to serve a suspension of 35 days, for a breach of Rule 157 in that he had “intentionally restrained and not let down” Black Oval in a race at Wolverhampton on 22 January 2007. He is also due to serve a 7-day suspension for failing to attend a seminar about inside information.
On 23 October 2008 Dean McKeown was found in breach of Rule 201(v) in that he conspired with other persons to commit a corrupt practice, and four counts of Rule 157, in that he intentionally failed to ensure four horses ran on their merits, and was declared a disqualified person (‘warned-off’) for four years. On 4 November 2008, while awaiting the full reasons for the decision above, Dean McKeown was found in breach of Rule 157 by the Southwell Stewards for his ride on Rascal in the Mix (USA) on 4th November 2008. As a result of this finding, to protect the future integrity of racing, the BHA immediately withdrew his licence to ride. Dean McKeown has now filed his appeal into the 4 year ban, which is due to be heard on December 15-16, 2008. An investigation into the suspicious betting patterns surrounding Rascal in the Mix’s run at Southwell is underway.