Day At The Track

Two charged following Vic raids

08:41 PM 02 Feb 2015 NZDT
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John Anderson2.jpg
HRV CEO John Anderson

Although rumours, and some facts, have already surfaced, names of the five Victorian harness racing participants arrested this morning cannot be released.

Victoria Police confirmed raids were made on five properties during the early hours, with men arrested at each establishment.

Two of the five – one from Merbein and another from Birdwoodton – have been charged, with the other three released pending further enquiries.

The charged pair have been released on bail and are set to appear in the Mildura Magistrates’ Court on May 6.

Even after being charged, the alleged offenders cannot be named until they appear in court.

The five are alleged to have manipulated race odds and driving practices to achieve a desired outcome.

After receiving information from Harness Racing Victoria, the Sporting Integrity Intelligence Unit and Mildura Crime Investigation Unit completed a year-long investigation before making the raids.

A number of items, including documents, have been seized from the properties, with more charges expected to be laid by tomorrow morning.

Speaking at a press conference, HRV chief executive John Anderson stated the raids were further indication corrupt behavior will not be accepted within the industry.

“This is the first investigation of its kind that’s got to this outcome and has been a co-operative effort,” Anderson said.

“It began with HRV commencing an investigation based on some information flowing through to a criminal investigation, so that’s a really strong statement for the harness racing industry that we’re prepared to go to those levels.

“All credit to our officers and the police, who have kept it so tight from a confidentiality point of view, which is important in such an investigation.”

Superintendent Peter Bringham is confident the alleged race fixing ring is confined to the Mildura region, which was echoed by Anderson.

“It’s believed this is an isolated matter,” Bringham said. “It’s specifically focused on two races that were actually at Mildura.

“Match and race fixing is a crime and the police will actively pursue to target and disrupt this crime right across the state.”

“In the context in the size of the industry, this is only a very small part…but it does give us just a lever to have a look a bit further afield and see what else can be uncovered,” Anderson declared.

“It’s confined for the Mildura region, so as it stands now, I don’t think it is wide spread.”

If found guilty under various sections of the Crimes Act, the men face up to 10 years imprisonment.


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