On 18 January 2016 the Disciplinary Panel (“the Panel”) of the British Horseracing Authority (“BHA”) met to consider a number of allegations made by the BHA against Alan Findlay, Louise Thompson, Gillian Findlay, Andrew Hall, Robert Thompson and James Carter. The Panel comprised Matthew Lohn (Chair), Lucinda Cavendish and Philip Curl. The summary decision, including penalties imposed, was issued on 22 January and can be found here.
The following is a written summary of the Panel’s reasons for their decision and the penalties imposed.
The matters alleged against the individuals were as follows:
1. Whether ALAN FINDLAY, on 25 January 2013 by placing lay bets on KHAWATIM and in the period between 9 April 2011 and 3 August 2013 by placing lay bets on some or all of the Horses and Races listed in Table 1 acted in breach of Rule (E)92.2 and/ or instructed others to place lay bets on his behalf and/or received the whole or any part of the proceeds of such lay bets, when he knew, or was reckless as to whether, he was prohibited from doing so as a Listed Person;
2. Whether ALAN FINDLAY acted in breach of Rule (A)50.2 by failing to provide telephone billing accounts for specified periods which are relevant to an investigation to the Authority within the time and in the manner specified when the request was made; and
3. Whether ALAN FINDLAY acted in breach of Rule (A)30 by acting in a manner which the Authority considers to be prejudicial to the integrity and proper conduct of horseracing in Great Britain namely directing abusive and foul language towards members of the BHS’s Integrity, Legal and Risk Department engaged in carrying out an investigation.
1. Whether LOUISE THOMPSON, on 25 January 2013 and in the period between 9 April 2011 and 3 August 2013, acted in breach of Rule (A)37 by assisting, encouraging or causing ALAN FINDLAY to act in contravention or Rule (E)92.2 by placing lay bets on KHAWATIM and some or all of the Horses and Races listed in Table 2 on ALAN FINDLAY’s behalf when she knew, or was reckless as to whether ALAN FINDLAY was prohibited from doing so as a Listed Person; and
2. Whether LOUISE THOMPSON acted in breach of Rule (A)50.2 by failing to provide telephone billing accounts for specified periods which are relevant to an investigation to the Authority within the time and in the manner specified when the request was made.
1. Whether GILLIAN FINDLAY acted in breach of Rule (A)50.2 by failing to provide telephone billing accounts for specified periods which are relevant to an investigation to the Authority within the time and in the manner specified when the request was made.
Andrew Hall, Robert Thompson and James Carter
1. Whether ANDREW HALL, ROBERT THOMPSON and/or JAMES CARTER on 25 January 2013 acted in breach of Rule (A)37 by assisting, encouraging or causing ALAN FINDLAY to act in contravention of Rule (E)92.2 by placing lay bets on KHAWATIM on ALAN FINDLAY’s behalf when they knew, or were reckless as to whether ALAN FINDLAY was prohibited from doing so as a Listed Person.
2.1 The issues which form the subject matter of the inquiry were uncovered as a result of an investigation which was instigated following the 15.05 race on 25 January 2013 at Lingfield Racecourse (“the Race”), when KHAWATIM finished second out of nine runners. KHAWATIM was ridden by Stephen Donohoe and had been trained by Noel Quinlan. At the time of the Race, KHAWATIM was owned by The Unique Partnership whose members were Alan Findlay and Gillian Findlay. KHAWATIM finished half a length behind the winner, POLAR VENTURE.
2.2 Betfair’s monitoring of the betting on the race triggered a number of concerns – in particular the significant lay bets placed on KHAWATIM prior to the Race by James Carter and Robert Thompson. In relation to James Carter, Betfair noted irregularity in his decision to both lay and back KHAWATIM within a short timeframe and in relation to Robert Thompson, Betfair suspected a connection with The Unique Partnership due to his largest bets being related to horses owned by that partnership. Betfair reported its concerns to the Stewards although no running and riding offences have been brought in relation to the race. The matter was subsequently referred to the BHA’s Integrity, Legal and Risk department for further investigation and a formal request for disclosure of records relating to these issues was made to Betfair and Betdaq.
2.3 Examination of the betting material revealed that there were four accounts associated with the suspicious lay betting on the 25 January 2013 Race. The first of the lay bets to be placed on the race was from Alan Findlay’s Betdaq account (“the AF Betdaq Account”). This bet was placed on the day of the race at 2:49pm to a liability of £2,538. The account continued to lay the horse until 3:03pm, two minutes before the Race commenced. The account was then used to place a back bet of £1,597 on POLAR VENTURE which subsequently won the Race.
2.4 The betting on the Findlay accounts was reflected in the betting activity on the accounts of Robert Thompson, James Carter and Andrew Hall. At 10.05am on 24 January 2013, £10,000 was deposited into the Robert Thompson Betfair account (“the RT Betfair Account”). On 25 January 2013, a further £5,000 was deposited into the account at 1:41pm followed by £4,000 sometime before 2:42pm. Between 1:49pm and 2:42pm the account backed KHAWATIM. Between 2:54pm and 2:57pm the account changed and started to lay the horse, five minutes after the AF Betdaq Account had started doing the same. During this three minute period, the account layed KHAWATIM to a liability of £8,594, to make a profit of £2,399 (after accounting for the loss on the back bets).
2.5 At 2:56pm on 25 January 2013, the James Carter Betfair account (“the JC Betfair Account”) placed a back bet on POLAR VENTURE. At 3:00pm, 11 minutes after the AF Betdaq Account began laying KHAWATIM, the account also began to lay the horse to a liability of £1,834 to profit £850.
2.6 Between 3:03pm and 3:04pm on 25 January 2013, Andrew Hall started placing lay bets in respect of KHAWATIM as well. These bets were placed using his Betdaq account (“the AH Betdaq Account”). In placing these lay bets, Andrew Hall risked £10,305 to profit £3,497. This was the only lay bet that had ever been placed using the account and began 14 minutes after the AF Betdaq Account began laying KHAWATM.
2.7 Alan Findlay is a high-profile Northern-based bettor and racing enthusiast. He registered as an owner with the BHA on 25 February 2011 as part of the Unique Partnership with Gillian Findlay. Gillian Findlay is Alan Findlay’s estranged wife. Alan Findlay’s current partner is Louise Thompson whose mother is a member of the Two Ladies and a Gentleman partnership along with Alan Findlay and Kennith Black, who is a friend of Alan Findlay’s.
2.8 Alan Findlay is the owner of a company called Pin Point Recruitment (the Company). Inquiries by the BHA have revealed that a number of the partnership members have connections with the Company. Louise Thompson is employed as a Director/ Manager and Gillian Findlay is employed as a part-time Manager. Andrew Hall is employed as the Company’s Financial Director. Robert Thompson has an email address and mobile telephone number affiliated with the Company, although is not an employee. Robert Thompson is also the former partner of Alan Findlay’s daughter, and the father of her child who is Alan Findlay’s grandchild.
2.9 Alan Findlay and Louise Thompson denied any association with James Carter during the BHA inquiry but evidence uncovered by the BHA clearly contradicted this.
2.10 The BHA having commenced its investigation into the Race widened the scope to include additional races. In addition to the lay bets placed on KHAWATIM, further examination of the betting records revealed that the AF Betdaq Account had also been used to place lay bets on a number of other horses. Nineteen of these bets were placed on horses connected to Alan Findlay. The relevant horses were all either owned by Alan Findlay, The Unique Partnership, An Englishman, Irishman & Scotsman (comprising Alan Findlay and A J Macari), or Two Ladies and a Gentleman (comprising Louise Thompson, Margaret Thompson and Kennith Black). Between April 2011 and August 2013, Alan Findlay placed lay bets on these horses to a total liability of £91,279 to profit £10,707. The relevant bets are detailed in Table 1.
2.11 Examination of accounts linked to those used to lay KHAWATIM on 25 June 2013 led the BHA to examine the accounts of Louise Thompson (‘the LT Betfair Account”) and Gillian Findlay. In respect of the LT Betfair Account, two lay bets were identified in relation to horses owned by or connected to Alan Findlay. These bets are detailed in Table 2. The total liability of the lay bets placed was £2,055 which resulted in a profit of £106. Examination of Gillian Findlay’s accounts did not lead to further allegations being identified.
2.12 The BHA interviewed Alan Findlay, Louise Thompson, Gillian Findlay, Andrew Hall and Robert Thompson as part of their investigation. The BHA also interviewed Noel Quinlan, Stephen Donohoe, Joe Harthen and Mark Findlay, Alan Findlay’s son. Noel Quinlan was the trainer in all of the races under investigation and Stephen Donohoe was the jockey in respect of two of the races. Joe Harthen was Alan Findlay’s racing manager and was also employed by Pin Point Recruitment. In addition, the BHA obtained a statement from Noel Quinlan’s registered accountant and bookkeeper, Nicky Pellatt. In relation to the betting account details and telephone transcripts released by Betfair and Betdaq, the BHA conducted a detailed analysis to ascertain betting patterns and account control. To assist, Betdaq also provided a number of audio recordings.
2.13 Alan Findlay and Louise Thompson indicated throughout the investigation that they did not know James Carter. Mr Carter refused to be interviewed by the BHA. Despite purportedly not knowing him, a photograph was uncovered by the BHA which had been taken on 1 March 2013 at the Lingfield Park Racecourse which showed James Carter and his wife, Lindsay Marie-Carter, in the company of Alan Findlay and Louise Thompson.
2.14 The BHA also found further evidence connecting James Carter to Alan Findlay and Louise Thompson. Evidence supplied by Betfair revealed that the JC Betfair Account was logged onto from a computer in the Dominican Republic at 4pm on 26 December 2012. Analysis of a Betfair account registered to Louise Thompson (“the LT Betfair Account”) showed that this account was accessed the same day using the same cookie – i.e. the same computer was used in the Dominican Republic on the same day to access the JC Betfair Account and the LT Betfair Account.
2.15 Telephone Production Orders were issued by the BHA in respect of each person interviewed. Records were forthcoming in relation to Andrew Hall, Noel Quinlan and Stephen Donohoe but were not produced by Alan Findlay, Louise Thompson, Gillian Findlay, Robert Thompson or Joe Harthen. All of these individuals advised the BHA that their mobile telephones were registered to Pin Point Recruitment. Attempts to obtain these records via both Alan Findlay and the Network Administrator for Pin Point Recruitment were unsuccessful. Attempts to obtain these records through Gillian Findlay and Louise Thompson were also unsuccessful.
2.16 The representatives appointed by Alan Findlay, Gillian Findlay and Louise Thompson advised the BHA that the difficulties with disclosure had arisen due to a third party that had been instructed to enter into an agreement with the mobile telephone provider on behalf of Pin Point Recruitment. The BHA was advised that this third party had entered into an agreement with a provider that had gone into administration. It transpired that the provider allegedly in administration was Orange, the mobile telephone provider now known as EE.
2.17 As a natural consequence of the BHA’s investigation and its attempts to obtain telephone records, Alan Findlay was in regular contact with the BHA’s Integrity, Legal and Risk department. This contact took the form of letters, emails and telephone calls. On a number of occasions, the BHA’s employees found Alan Findlay’s conduct towards them to be profane and abusive. There were two instances that were of particular note. The first followed receipt of a letter from the BHA. Alan Findlay called the BHA to discuss the contents of this letter and during this call stated that the sender had “a cheek, a cheek” and that he should “stick [his] letter up his arse”. He went on to refer to the sender as a “cheeky twat” who should “get off his lazy fat arse and have a look at whose fiddling around and … stuff like that”.
2.18 Alan Findlay followed this telephone call with an email to the sender the next day. His email began “I think you are a twat” and went on to repeat the complaints that had been made during his telephone call the previous day. Alan Findlay stated it was “a load of shit” to say that he had been misconstrued in relation to telephone records and indicated that he had done nothing but assist the investigation to date. He warned the recipient never to contact him again and ended the email by advising the BHA that “instead of looking into stupid fuckers making a couple of pounds” they should “look at the real robbers”.
3.1 The Panel’s attention was drawn to the (A)6 forms submitted by three of the respondents.
3.2 On 7 December 2015, Alan Findlay returned a completed form containing an admission to all charges brought against him by the BHA. However, this form was accompanied by a letter in which he denied the following facts:
(a) that he instructed any third party to lay any of his horses on his behalf; and/or
(b) that he received any part of the proceeds relating to any such bets.
3.3 Louise Thompson and Gillian Findlay also returned completed (A)6 forms containing admissions to all charges. However, Louise Thompson’s (A)6 form was also accompanied by a letter in which she denied that she assisted, encouraged or caused Alan Findlay to breach Rule (E)92.2 in anyway other than an inference that he would receive the profits of any successful lay bet through the use of his debit card. The BHA sought to clarify this matter with Louise Thompson through her legal representatives, but no further information was forthcoming.
3.4 Gillian Findlay’s letter accompanying the (A)6 form asserted that the timescales put forward by the BHA with regard to compliance with their request for telephone records were sub-standard. Upon ascertaining that the relevant records were held by EE, on 4 July 2014 the BHA asked Gillian Findlay to confirm that she had made arrangements to contact EE and request copies of the itemised telephone records within seven days. On 28 July 2014, Gillian Findlay was advised that failure to comply with the BHA’s request could amount to a breach of Rule (A)50.2. On 17 September 2014, the BHA sent a final request asking Gillian Findlay to confirm that she had made arrangements to speak with EE and seeking confirmation of this within seven days. No confirmation was received by the BHA.
3.5 The BHA received no indication from Andrew Hall, Robert Thompson or James Carter as to whether they accepted breaching the Rules as charged.
4.1 None of the respondents were present or represented at the Inquiry
In the light of the qualified admissions made by Alan Findlay, Louise Thompson and Gillian Findlay and in the absence of any admission from Andrew Hall, Robert Thompson and James Carter, the BHA made submissions in respect of the disputed issues to the Panel. The submissions analysed the evidence from the respondents and questioned the credibility of the accounts given to the BHA at interview and as set out in the A(6) forms. The BHA submitted that Robert Thompson, James Carter and Andrew Hall had acted on Alan Findlay’s instructions to lay KHAWATIM and that Alan Findlay had benefitted from the successful lay bets.
4.2 In respect of Robert Thompson, he had denied placing a lay bet on KHAWATIM on 25 January 2013. He suggested that his current partner must have accidentally placed a lay bet when she was intending to place a back bet. The BHA submitted this explanation lacked credibility given previous activity on the RT Betfair Account and the time frame during which Robert Thompson altered his betting strategy on 25 January 2013.
4.3 The Panel reviewed the activity on RT’s Betfair Account. Of the eleven bets, six had a liability of £20 or less and none of these bets related to horses owned by Alan Findlay. By way of contrast, four bets with liabilities larger than £3,500 were all on horses owned by Alan Findlay. A further account opened by Robert Thompson in 2007 revealed average liabilities of only £27 in relation to back bets and £100 relating to lay bets. In relation to the timescales on 25 January 2013, evidence showed that Robert Thompson began laying KHAWATIM only 12 minutes after placing back bets on the same horse and only five minutes after the AF Betdaq Account began placing lay bets on KHAWATIM. The BHA submitted this was evidence of Robert Thompson was acting under Alan Findlay’s instructions.
4.4 In relation to James Carter, his JC Betfair Account, following the computer sharing incident episode in the Dominican Republic on 26 December 2012, changed its pattern of betting dramatically in terms of frequency and stake size and focused on horses owned by Alan Findlay. The JC Betfair Account had been open since 20 November 2007. Prior to the betting on horses owned by Alan Findlay, the largest bet placed on this account had only valued £15. The BHA submitted that the significant change in bet liabilities and a focus on Alan Findlay owned horses indicated that the later bets had been placed by someone other than James Carter or by James Carter following information received from Alan Findlay in relation to his horses. The timing of the lay bet placed on 25 January 2013 was also considered to be material. The JC Betfair Account began laying KHAWATIM only 11 minutes after the AF Betdaq Account began doing the same.
4.5 Andrew Hall indicated to the BHA during his interview that he had never let anyone else place a bet via his accounts and that no one else had access to his username or password. When asked specifically about his decision to place a lay bet on 25 January 2013, Andrew Hall had stated that he had intended to back KHAWATIM but that the price had become too short and that he had developed concerns regarding the horse’s condition and decided to lay it instead. He also denied that he ever received calls during which he was advised to back or lay horses prior to a race.
4.6 The BHA played an audio recording to the Panel of a call to a Betdaq operator in respect of the lay bet placed by Andrew Hall on 25 January 2013. The call was made on Alan Findlay’s mobile phone. It was clear that Andrew Hall was being instructed in the background by someone to place the lay bet – a male voice can be heard in the background of the recording stating “just tell them to use the ten grand”. It was apparent from the conversation with the operator that Mr Hall was lacking in experience as to how to place the bet. He did not seem to understand issues of price sensitivity in a high risk bet placed moments before a race. The recording undermined Mr Hall’s submission at interview as to why he decided to stop backing KHAWATIM before the Race only 14 minutes after the AF Betdaq Account began laying KHAWATIM. The BHA contended that it was Mr Findlay in the background instructing Mr Hall what to do.
4.7 The AH Betdaq Account details submitted to the Panel by the BHA showed that between 1 January 2013 and 25 July 2013, of 13 bets placed, only one related to a horse not owned by Alan Findlay. All of the bets placed using the AH Account between 1 January 2013 and 25 July 2013 were back bets fluctuating in value between £1,000 and £20,000, with the exception of the single lay bet placed on KHAWATIM on 25 January 2013. The BHA submitted this as further evidence of Alan Findlay’s influence over bets on the AH Betdaq Account
4.8 The BHA also drew the Panel’s attention to the work, social and family connections between Alan Findlay, Robert Thompson, James Carter and Andrew Hall. Andrew Hall and Robert Thompson were both affiliated with Alan Findlay’s company, Andrew Hall holding the position of Financial Director. Robert Thompson had a mobile telephone number and email address affiliated with the Company. His child was also Alan Findlay’s grandchild. In relation to James Carter, the BHA submitted that the photograph and evidence relating to cookie sharing was material in demonstrating a relationship with Alan Findlay. The BHA further submitted that Alan Findlay’s and Louise Thompson’s attempts to conceal their association with James Carter gave rise to an inference that James Carter was instructed by Alan Findlay to place the lay bet on 25 January 2013.
4.9 At interview, Alan Findlay stated that it was only his partner, Louise Thompson, who used the AF Betdaq Account. He had explained that the account was only set up in his name to avoid jealousy within the family. Alan Findlay did acknowledge that he would “tell [Louise Thompson] to back horses and do things on it”. . Louise Thompson stated in interview that it must have been her that placed the lay bet on KHAWATIM on 25 January 2013. The BHA submitted that given the betting activity on associated accounts in respect of the Race, it is likely that Alan Findlay either placed this lay bet himself or instructed Louise Thompson to do so.
4.10 Considering the other lay bets on the account, the BHA noted that Alan Findlay owned horses which accounted for four of the five largest lay liabilities, the largest of which was £22,848 in relation to a horse called TOMBI (USA), owned by An Englishman, Irishman & Scotsman. This sum did not appear to match Louise Thompson’s usual liability and sixteen of the largest 30 liabilities on this account were related to horses owned by Alan Findlay. Table 1 details all lay bets placed on Alan Findlay owned horses other than KHAWATIM using the AF Betdaq Account between 9 April 2011 and 3 August 2013.
4.11 To clarify the position in respect of the AF Betdaq Account, the BHA drew the Panel’s attention to the transcripts provided by Betdaq. The transcripts showed that Alan Findlay controlled the allocation of usernames and passwords and put funds into the account. The BHA submitted that Alan Findlay appeared to have control of this account and where necessary had instructed Louise Thompson to assist him in laying his own horses and received some or all of the proceeds of those lay bets. When Alan Findlay was interviewed about the various accounts with which he had been affiliated, he stated “it’s all my money. It doesn’t matter, whichever way you look at it, it’s all my money”. Further comments in the transcript evidence provided by Betdaq showed Alan Findlay transferring sums of money between the accounts in question.
4.12 In respect of the LT Betfair Account responsible for the lay bets detailed in Table 2, Louise Thompson had confirmed in interview that the account was hers, though she accepted that this account was also funded by Alan Findlay. She explained that it was a present for her personal use. Upon examining the account, the BHA noted that the average size of Louise Thompson’s stake was only £111 up until 2013 and that no lay bets had been placed until that point in time. However, in 2013 the average size of the 10 largest back bets increased significantly to £4,276 and of the 10 largest back bets all were placed on Noel Quinlan trained horses. The BHA submitted that the increase in stake in 2013 indicated that not only was the account funded by Alan Findlay, but that he was also the person providing instructions in relation to the bets placed on this account (or otherwise using the account himself).
4.13 As to whether Alan Findlay was benefitting from the lay betting of the other respondents, the BHA reminded the Panel of Alan Findlay’s interview where he stated “it’s all my money. It doesn’t matter, whichever way you look at it, it’s all my money”. The Panel’s attention was also drawn to comments in the transcript evidence provided by Betdaq which showed Alan Findlay transferring sums of money between these accounts, which the BHA submitted provided further evidence that he was funding the betting and thereby receiving the proceeds. In addition there was the call on 15 February 2012, in which Alan Findlay changed the password in relation to the AF Betdaq account and a transcript from 11 May 2011 which recorded Alan Findlay depositing money into the AH Betdaq Account.
4.14 In relation to Alan Findlay’s behaviour to BHA staff, the BHA submitted that such conduct should not be accepted from someone who is involved in horse racing and in particular from a registered owner. The BHA further submitted that its employees must be entitled to carry out their investigatory work without being abused as such behaviour might impact on their ability to carry out their responsibilities for the benefit of the sport in general
5.1 Having carefully reviewed the evidence and considered the submissions from the BHA, the Panel made the following findings:
5.2 ALAN FINDLAY, on 25 January 2013 by placing lay bets on KHAWATIM and, in the period between 9 April 2011 and 3 August 2013 by placing lay bets on the Horses and Races listed in the attached Table of Races (Appendix A) acted in breach of Rule (E)92.2 and, instructed others to place lay bets on his behalf and, received the proceeds of such lay bets, when he knew he was prohibited from doing so as a Listed Person;
5.3 ALAN FINDLAY acted in breach of Rule (A)50.2 by failing to provide telephone billing accounts for specified periods which were relevant to an investigation by the Authority within the time and in the manner specified when the request was made;
5.4 ALAN FINDLAY acted in breach of Rule (A)30 by acting in a manner which the Authority considers to be prejudicial to the integrity and proper conduct of horseracing in Great Britain namely directing abusive and foul language towards members of the BHA’s Integrity, Legal and Risk Department engaged in carrying out an investigation;
5.5 LOUISE THOMPSON, on 25 January 2013 and in the period between 9 April 2011 and 3 August 2013, acted in breach of Rule (A)37 by assisting Alan Findlay to act in contravention of Rule (E)92.2 by placing lay bets on KHAWATIM and the Horses and Races listed in the attached Table of Races (Appendix B) on Alan Findlay’s behalf when she knew Alan Findlay was prohibited from doing so as a Listed Person;
5.6 LOUISE THOMPSON acted in breach of Rule (A)50.2 by failing to provide telephone billing accounts for specified periods which were relevant to an investigation by the Authority within the time and in the manner specified when the request was made;
5.7 GILLIAN FINDLAY acted in breach of Rule (A)50.2 by failing to provide telephone billing accounts for specified periods which are relevant to an investigation by the Authority within the time and in the manner specified when the request was made;
Andrew Hall, Robert Thompson and James Carter
5.8 ANDREW HALL, ROBERT THOMPSON and JAMES CARTER, on 25 January 2013, acted in breach of Rule (A)37 by assisting Alan Findlay to act in contravention of Rule (E)92.2 by placing lay bets on KHAWATIM on Alan Findlay’s behalf when they knew Alan Findlay was prohibited from doing so as a Listed Person
5.9 The Panel reached its conclusions on the basis of the admissions and,in respect of those matters in dispute, by the overwhelming factual evidence provided a combination of the betting records and, the inferences drawn from those respondents who were interviewed by the BHA. The accounts given by the respondents on a number of key issues were simply unbelievable. The objective evidence from the betting records, the close familial and employment ties between the respondents and the transcripts of conversations with Betdaq operators led the Panel to reach the determinations as set out above. It was clear that Alan Findlay was at the centre of the betting operations. Those accounts which were purportedly run independently were in fact run at his direction and to paraphrase the words of Mr Findlay himself: it didn’t matter, whichever way one looked at it, it was all his money.
6. The Panel reviewed the penalty ranges for the breaches found against Alan Findlay, Louise Thompson, Gillian Findlay, Andrew Hall, Robert Thompson and James Carter. As part of its consideration of the question of penalty the Panel considered whether any reductions should be afforded in respect of the admissions made on the (A)6 forms. Having carefully considered the issue, the Panel has not made any reduction in penalty for the admissions made by Alan Findlay, Gillian Findlay and Louise Thompson. Their admissions were made in the face of overwhelming objective electronic evidence that was not capable of being credibly disputed. And even then, the admissions were partial and required the BHA to make its case to the Panel regarding the disputed events. In such circumstances no credit has been afforded to the respondents in respect of their pleas
6.1 In respect of the allegations found proven in respect of Alan Findlay, the Panel looked at the penalty ranges and entry points in respect of the breaches of Rule (E)92.2, Rule (A)50.2 and Rule (A)30; the breach of Rule (E)92.2 being the most serious.
6.2 In considering the question of penalty for Alan Findlay, the Panel reminded itself that Alan Findlay had engaged in improper lay betting over a sustained period of time and in relation to multiple horses. Twenty lay bets were placed between 9 April 2011 and 3 August 2013 by Alan Findlay on horses he owned or co-owned, including the lay bet placed on KHAWATIM on 25 January 2013. The Panel also noted that Alan Findlay was prepared to leverage personal relationships and to involve others in his improper betting activities by asking Louise Thompson, Andrew Hall, Robert Thompson and James Carter to lay on his behalf horses owned by him. It is clear from Alan Findlay’s correspondence with the BHA’s Legal and Risk Department that he is not afraid to use forceful and inappropriate language in order to gain the outcomes he desires. Many of those involved in the improper betting were financially dependent on Alan Findlay, either as employees or otherwise as close family members.
6.4 Alan Findlay’s offending was also compounded by his non co-operation regarding telephone records and his aggressive conduct towards BHA staff.
6.5 The recommended penalty range for a breach of Rule (E)92.2 is disqualification for 3 months to 10 years with an entry point of 18 months. The Panel determined that a penalty of 6 years was appropriate for the breach of Rule (E)92.2. The Panel is mindful that this is considerably higher than the recommended entry point in the Guide to Procedures and Penalties but considered that it reflected the gravity of the underlying improper lay betting activity. Alan Findlay’s actions undermine the essential trust that race goers and punters should enjoy namely that bookmakers accept bets having priced the market according to the form of the horses and not through inside information. His offending behaviour took place over a significant period of time and involved a number of different horses and races. The penalty properly reflects this.
6.6 In respect of the breach of Rule (A)50.2 the Panel determined to impose a penalty of 2 years disqualification. The entry point for this Rule breach is 18 months disqualification but the Panel has increased this to reflect the aggravating nature of Mr Findlay’s general conduct over the issue and a recognition that he had control over the company phones that he and other respondents used but chose as a registered owner not to assist the BHA in accordance with his obligations under the Rules of Racing. Finally, in respect of Rule (A)30 the Panel has determined to impose an entry point penalty of 3 months disqualification. Mr Findlay’s language and behaviour cannot be regarded as acceptable and the entry point reflects an appropriate censure in this case.
6.7 The Panel has determined that since each of the issues can be characterised as separate incidents the correct approach is for the penalties to run consecutively. Alan Findlay will be disqualified for a period of 8 years and 3 months from 22 January 2016 until 21 April 2024 inclusive.
6.8 The penalty range for the breach of Rule (A)37 is governed by the primary rule breach, namely (E)92.2. As noted above, the recommended penalty range for a breach of Rule (E)92.2 is disqualification for 3 months to 10 years with an entry point of 18 months; The Panel determined that Louise Thompson should be disqualified for a period of 2 years and 6 months This reflected some aggravation for the period of time she was involved in breaching the rule but was significantly less that the penalty given to Alan Findlay which recognises her secondary role in the enterprise. The Panel also made an order for disqualification for a period of 12 months in the light of the failure to produce phone records. The reduction in penalty from the entry point reflecting the primary role played by Alan Findlay. For the same reason as set out above the periods of disqualification will run consecutively for a total period of 3 years and 6 months from 22 January 2016 until 21 July 2019 inclusive.
6.9 The Panel also made an order for disqualification for a period of 12 months against Gillian Findlay in the light of her failure to produce phone records, from 22 January 2016 until 21 January 2017 inclusive. As with Louise Thompson, the reduction in penalty from the entry point reflects the primary role played by Alan Findlay.
Andrew Hall, Robert Thompson and James Carter
6.10 As noted above the penalty range for a breach of Rule (A)37 is governed by the primary rule breach, namely (E)92.2. The Panel determined to exclude Andrew Hall, Robert Thompson and James Carter for 18 months from 22 January 2016 until 21 July 2017 inclusive. They had assisted Alan Findlay in the laying of his horse. It was a single episode and the entry point penalty was the appropriate sanction in the Panel’s view.
Notes to Editors:
1. The Panel for the enquiry was: Matthew Lohn (Chair), Lucinda Cavendish, Philip Curl.
LAY BETS PLACED ON HORSES OTHER THAN KHAWATIM BY ALAN FINDLAY
|Oratory||9 April 2011, 2.10pm, Thirsk||The Unique Partnership||Win||-£11,960||£2,000|
|Tombi||19 April 2011, 3.10pm, Pontefract||An Englishman, Irishman & Scotsman||Win||-£268||£30|
|Dialogue||25 April 2011, 3.45pm, Redcar||Mr Alan Findlay||Win||-£4,552||£400|
|Judicious||30 April 2011, 2.25pm, Thirsk||The Unique Partnership||Win||-£990||£10|
|Burns Night||2 May 2011, 4.20pm, Beverley||An Englishman, Irishman & Scotsman||Win||-£8,366||£1,035|
|Fimias||3 May 2011, 4.15pm, Newcastle||The Unique Partnership||Win||-£5,930||£331|
|Tombi||13 May 2011, 4.10pm, York||An Englishman, Irishman & Scotsman||Win||-£22,848||£102|
|Judicious||31 March 2012, 5.30pm, Doncaster||The Unique Partnership||Win and Place||-£1,042||£176|
|Judicious||15 August 2012, 6.00pm,
|The Unique Partnership||Win||-£20,691||£5001|
|Blazeofenchantment||4 October 2012, 5.40pm, Wolverhampton||The Unique Partnership||Win and Place||-£1,921||£35|
|Joeluke||6 October 2012, 6.20pm, Wolverhampton||The Unique Partnership||Place||-£1,472||£153|
|Oratory||13 March 2013, 8.50pm, Kempton Park||The Unique Partnership||Win||-£819||£30|
|Blazeofenchantment||27 April 2013, 2.10pm, Leicester||The Unique Partnership||Win and Place||-£365||£18|
|Chiswick Bey||27 April 2013, 5.35pm, Leicester||Two Ladies and a Gentleman||Win and Place||-£3,535||£55|
|Oratory||3 June 2013, 4.15pm, Leicester||The Unique Partnership||Win||-£741||£13|
|Blazeofenchantment||9 July 2013, 5.30pm, Pontefract||Two Ladies and a Gentleman||Win||-£825||£25|
|Oratory||15 July 2013, 4.30pm, Ayr||Two Ladies and a Gentleman||Win||-£3,657||£1,245|
|Mysterious Wonder||27 July 2013, 5.25pm, Newcastle||Two Ladies and a Gentleman||Win||-£170||£10|
|Mysterious Wonder||3 August 2013, 2.25pm, Doncaster||Two Ladies and a Gentleman||Win and Place||-£1,127||£38|
LAY BETS PLACED ON HORSES OTHER THAN KHAWATIM BY LOUISE THOMPSON
|Dialogue||25 April 2011, 3.45pm, Redcar||Mr Alan Findlay||Win||-£48||£5|
|Burns Night||9 May 2013, 7.05pm, Southwell||The Unique Partnership||Win||-£2,007||£101|