HRA CONFIRMS ACTIONS FOLLOWING CITY OF LONDON POLICE INVESTIGATION
Published: Monday 03 Jul 2006
The City of London Police have today charged a number of individuals with criminal offences in relation to horseracing. Some of those individuals charged are licensed by the Horseracing Regulatory Authority (the HRA).
In accordance with conditions which were attached to their licences when they were issued, those licences expire immediately or are limited as follows:
Fergal Lynch, jockey – Licence expired pending hearing.
Darren Williams, jockey – Licence expired pending hearing.
Alan Berry, trainer – No entries or declarations accepted pending hearing.
Kieren Fallon, jockey – Licensed in Ireland – suspended from riding in Great Britain for riding offences from Monday 3rd July to Thursday 6th July. The decision on whether or not to invoke Rule 1Axxv will be decided at a hearing.
Hearings before a special panel of the HRA will be convened on the 4th and 7th July so that these individuals may make early representations to support their applications for new licences or for restrictions on their licences to be lifted. Alan Berry’s hearing will take place at 12pm on Tuesday 4th July, and the hearings of Kieren Fallon, Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams will take place on Friday 7th July at times to be confirmed.
The Panel, chaired by Sir Michael Connell, a former High Court judge and a Director of the HRA, will consider each such case individually and is likely to announce its conclusions to those concerned once all the representations have been heard. Thereafter these findings will be announced by Sir Michael Connell to the press in a formal statement as soon as possible after the hearings are concluded.
All of those charged were made aware of these measures earlier this year either when issued with their current licence or via communication from the HRA.
The jockeys will not be able to take up any rides, including ones for which they are booked today, until the outcomes of their hearings are known. Likewise Alan Berry will not be able to make any further entries or declarations and any already made will be withdrawn, with the exception of horses due to run today which will be able to take up their engagements.
Those licensed people released from bail today are free to continue their work as normal. As part of our regulatory duty, we are required to liaise with the police regarding any matters they have enquired into to ensure no further regulatory action is necessary.
3rd July 2006 (Reissued 4th July 2006)
NOTES FOR EDITORS:
1. A video interview with Paul Scotney is available to view and download at www.thehra.org. A transcript of this interview is available at Point 9 below.
2. Journalists who wish to attend the announcement of the Panel’s decision should contact the HRA Press Office via email at email@example.com or on 020 7189 3866. Space will be allocated on a first come, first served basis. At this moment in time, it is envisaged that this announcement will take place in the afternoon of Friday 7th July.
3. Decisions of the Panel may be appealed to the Appeal Board.
4. On 3rd April 2006, regulatory control of horseracing in Great Britain transferred from the Jockey Club to the newly formed Horseracing Regulatory Authority.
5. City of London Investigation Timeline
March 2004 – An HRA investigation into possible breaches of the Rules of Racing, was referred to the City of London Police when evidence uncovered indicated potential criminal activity which could undermine the integrity of horseracing. The decision to refer the matter also took account of the fact that the HRA has no powers of search or arrest and has very limited powers when investigating individuals not bound by the Rules of Racing
1st September 2004 – one licensed trainer (Karl Burke) and three licensed jockeys (Kieren Fallon, Fergal Lynch and Darren Williams) arrested by the City of London Police, on suspicion of committing criminal offences in relation to racing.
1st December 2004 – one further trainer (Alan Berry) and licensed jockey arrested (Paul Bradley).
2nd February 2005 – another licensed jockey arrested (Robert Winston).
8th March 2005 – fifth licensed jockey (Gyles Parkin) arrested.
15th March 2005 – arrested jockeys who applied to renew their Licences informed that their licences had been renewed but were subject to the condition that if they were charged with an offence in relation to the City of London investigation their licences would immediately expire. Paul Bradley and Kieren Fallon were not sent such letter as they did not renew their licences.
13th September 2005 – arrested trainers informed that their Licenses are subject to the same conditions as the arrested Jockeys.
September to October 2005 – all licensed individuals under investigation answer bail and are rebailed until March 2006, with the exception of licensed jockey Gyles Parkin who is released without charge.
w/c 26th February 2006 all licensed individuals under investigation answer bail and are rebailed until July 2006.
1st March 2006 – a sixth jockey (Dale Jewett) arrested and rebailed until July 2006.
6. Recent actions taken by the HRA to strengthen and enforce the Rules of Racing
In July 2003 a thorough review of the functions and strategy of the then Jockey Club’s Security Department carried out by Ben Gunn, the former Chief Constable for Cambridgeshire Police. This review made 36 recommendations, all of which have been implemented since the report was published.
A selection of these recommendations and other actions taken are below:
• Introducing Memoranda of Understanding with the leading betting exchanges, giving access to betting information on races which are subject to concern. A Memorandum was also been signed by the Association of British Bookmakers, representing the off-course bookmakers.
• Rules have been introduced preventing owners, trainers and stable staff laying their own horses to lose on betting exchanges (since which time owners Miles Rodgers, Darren Mercer, Andy Beard and David Wright) have all been found guilty of laying their own horses to lose on exchanges and were banned from racing for various periods).
• The Security Department budget has been increased from £1.4m in 2002 to £2.8m in 2006.
• Two betting investigators have been employed ensuring seven-day-a-week monitoring of the betting markets
• A fully resourced and funded Intelligence Unit has been set up, led by Bill South, a former Chief Inspector. The system used to grade the value of the intelligence and its source is the same as used by all 43 UK police forces.
• A new IT intelligence system has been introduced, a system used by a number of law enforcement agencies.
• The number of HRA investigators has been increased from 5 to 7.
• Weighing Room Security Officers have been employed to oversee the integrity areas of the Jockeys’ changing rooms and the weighing room.
• Restrictions have been introduced on the use of mobile phones by jockeys and valets
• New CCTV camera systems covering racecourse stabling, with funding from the Levy Board, have been introduced at all racecourses, enabling digital filming of the stables.
• New rules have been introduced prohibiting licensed individuals from passing on information about horses which is not publicly available, whether for reward or not. Under these rules, jockey Gary Carter was banned from racing for five years and trainer Shaun Keightley was banned from racing for three years.
• Introducing stiffer penalties for those who hinder or mislead HRA investigators.
• Launching a partnership with Crimestoppers, to enable to people to give intelligence to the HRA anonymously.
• Investigating the issue of Inside Information, in consultation with the racing industry. The findings of stage one of this review were published and are available from the HRA’s website, and recommendations on Rule changes will be passed to the HRA Board for consideration in Summer 2006.
7. The HRA’s position on betting exchanges
Exchanges have provided a vital link in the chain to tracing where money has been won. A chain that previously had missing links made investigations hard to conclude.
Threats to the sport’s integrity have existed ever since betting began, and the current threats were capable of undermining racing’s integrity prior to betting exchanges.
The Government has made it clear that exchanges are here to stay and we take the view that as that is the case it is important that the relevant authorities maximise the positives provided by the audit trails in order to minimise the potential for malpractice and abuse of exchanges.
8. Management of the HRA Security Department
Paul Scotney is the Director of Security. He came to the HRA with a keen interest in racing developed since he was a boy and over 27 years of service in the Police, rising to the rank of Detective Chief Superintendent. He joined the Cambridgeshire Constabulary in 1976 and in 1998 transferred to the Metropolitan Police serving in Central London in a variety of senior management positions.
Ben Gunn is an independent director on the HRA Board with special responsibility for security. He reviews the work of the Security Department ensuring that it conducts its operations within the law and the Rules of Racing and his expertise ensures that the Department has access to additional professional advice where needed.
9. Paul Scotney Interview Transcript
Q: Much has been made of the City of London Police inquiry into race fixing within the British horserace industry. Does this mean that racing is corrupt?
A: First of all, I hope you understand that I can’t really comment about the Police investigation. That is ongoing, and that’s something I really can’t talk about the specifics. But in general terms, is racing corrupt? The answer is no. On a daily basis, the majority of races are run without any problem.
However, racing is inextricably linked with betting, which means there’s money involved, and where there’s money involved there are going to be one or two individuals trying to get an advantage over others. That’s what has happened in racing. And it’s happened throughout racing, over the 250 years that racing has been in existence.
The difference now, is that we have a number of structures and processes and expert people that we’ve brought in over the last few years that means that if people do try to cheat, there’s a very good chance that they’ll get caught.
Q: So what is being done to combat corruption and raise the deterrent?
A: Importantly, three years ago, the wider racing industry realised that there was a problem that needed to be tackled. A fundamental review was carried out of how corruption in racing was dealt with. It was found not to be in a professional way. There were 36 recommendations made that would help us improve the way that was done, and the industry put the money up to make those changes.
So what the industry has demonstrated is that it wants to tackle corruption. It wants to help us do it. So my job over the last three years has been to implement those 36 recommendations.
Q: So what have you actually done to modernise security?
A: There are a number of things we’ve done. First of all, we’ve brought in a number of experts. We’ve got some ex-senior police officers, who have detective experience, who are used to dealing with corruption and investigating corruption.
We’ve got some intelligence experts that we’ve brought in, and we’ve got some analytical experts, and we’ve also got some betting experts. So we’ve got a number of people that have skills that help us investigate in a professional way.
We’ve also changed our systems and processes. We’ve got a very good computerised system that manages our intelligence, that helps us on a daily basis, makes sure that we’re doing things as professionally, almost, as a police service. So to encapsulate that, we’ve got a much more professional outfit than we had three years ago.
Q: What new measures have been put in place to prevent corruption?
A: There have been a number, but one really important one has been the way that we restrict the use of mobile phones by licensed individuals, and particularly jockeys and valets, on racing day. What we now have is a restriction that they can’t use their phone during racing time and that to us has been a fundamental change.
Another important change has been restricting how people can bet, and particularly licensed individuals. Owners, trainers, cannot now lay their own horse to lose, which I think has been an important development. Of course, jockeys cannot bet at all. So there are a number of measures there that we see have made a difference over the last two years that restrict the activity, and particularly the use of inside information.
Q: Critics blame the use of betting exchanges, where a punter can back, not only a horse to win, but also lay a bet for a horse to lose a race, for the rise in corruption. How is the HRA dealing with exchanges?
A: Let’s first of all be clear about this. There has been cheating in racing for 250 years, long before exchanges came along. Exchanges are now here. They offer a new way of people betting. A lot of people use them on a daily basis, and have enjoyment from that.
It’s not an option for us to ignore them, so what we do is we collaborate with them, and they offer us an opportunity that we didn’t have before, which is access to the details of cheats. So on a daily basis now, we’re able to collaborate with the betting exchanges to try to identify people that are cheating.
Q: And how are you doing that?
A: The way we do that is I have two betting experts that on a daily basis monitor racing. If we see something that’s not right, or the betting exchanges see something that’s not right, then we will talk.
What I would want to add is that the wider betting industry has now bought into this, and we talk to the wider betting industry on a daily basis as well. So the fundamental thing is that we now have access to records of the cheats, which gives us a clear audit trail, which then helps us prove who the corrupters and corrupted are.
Q: So what are you doing to safeguard the interests of the public betting on racing day-to-day?
A: As I said, on a daily basis, in our intelligence unit we are monitoring racing and we’re monitoring the betting market. If we see something that’s suspicious, we’ll talk to the betting industry. They will talk to us. If it’s prior to a race, we may then take the course of action of contacting the stewards, to give the stewards advance warning that there may be something that’s not quite right.
We’ve seen suspicious betting patterns. We tell the stewards on the race day so that they can watch closer. We then leave it to them to decide what course of action to take. But it does mean that prior to a race, we may be able to inform the stewards that there may be a problem. I would add that this is a rare occasion, but it does happen.
Q: When investigations do get undertaken, the common complaint is they take far too long. What are you doing to speed things up?
A: They do take too long, and it’s something that’s a frustration for me, that they take far too long. But if we’ve got someone that’s not cooperating with the investigation, then we have to take other courses of action that take time, i.e. if we want access to telephone records, which are a fundamental part of our investigations, we may have to go to the High Court, which we’ve done successfully on about five occasions. But that’s time consuming. It takes a long while to go through that process, and then once you get the data, you’ve got to analyse it. That all takes time.
I am committed to the fact of, over the next 12 months, that one of the things we’ve got to do is to cut down the time it takes on investigation, because I’m very uncomfortable about the fact that people are under suspicion during that period of time and it isn’t helpful to their career, and I don’t like that. But I can assure you that if there are ways that we can cut the time down on how long they take, we will definitely be doing that.
Q: The HRA has had some high profile results in the last 12 months, including the Gary Carter case, and the Sean Keightley enquiry. Do you think these cases are a turning point for the prosecution and the prevention of race-fixing?
A: I think the important point about these two cases is that they send a clear message to individuals that if they cheat in racing there’s a very good chance they’re going to get caught.
Specifically, what these cases were, they were our first opportunity to use our new powers, in particular access to betting records, access to telephone records, which we were then able to show to the disciplinary panel how the cheating took place. So they saw the whole picture. So in essence, what this did is that it showed that if you cheat, you’re likely to get banished from the sport.
Q: So what more is there to be done?
A: I think what we’ve demonstrated over the last three years, that if you cheat there’s a much greater chance of you getting caught than there ever has been before. But there are clearly things we can do. Maybe we need to look at the culture of racing. Maybe some things are seen as acceptable that no longer are acceptable, and particularly around the use of inside information.
We have an industry-wide group looking at that at the moment, and what will come out of that, hopefully, are some clearer rules around what people can do with inside information.
We probably also need to do more around the education side of it, speaking to young jockeys, speaking to trainers when they’re coming into the industry, as to what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, and also warn them of how they may be approached by corrupters. So there are a number of areas there I think we can improve around the education side of it.