Links with betting operators leading to more prosecutions, says BHA

23rd May 2013 8:07 am GMT

The British Horseracing Authority said Wednesday that it continues to await the UK government’s improvements to the legislative framework to ensure all betting operators are mandated to share betting information, after assistance from two betting exchanges and a spread betting company led to a successful prosecution against a corrupt licensed jockey and horse owner yesterday.

The BHA issued long-term bans against licensed jockey Eddie Ahern and a former footballer turned horse owner Neil Clement for conspiring to commit fraud or fraudulent practice, which included the use of inside information supplied by Ahern to support lay betting carried out by Clement.
This followed a three-day enquiry by the Disciplinary Panel of the BHA into allegations of corruption held on April 29th.

Three allegations were made by the BHA. In the first, it was alleged that Neil Clement, a registered owner and former footballer for Chelsea and West Bromwich Albion, and Eddie Ahern were engaged in a conspiracy to commit corrupt practices by the use of inside information supplied by Ahern to support the lay betting carried out by Clement.

These allegations were made about five Ahern rides that occurred between September 10th 2010 and February 11th 2011.

The second batch of allegations arose out of a race at Lingfield on March 9th 2011, whereby Clement and four others (James Clutterbuck, Martin Raymond, Paul Hill and Michael Turl) were alleged to be engaged in a corrupt practice to exploit inside information from Clutterbuck (the assistant trainer of the horse) by lay betting.

The final set of allegations was put against Clement alone. He was alleged to have had a lay bet against a horse which he owned, HINDU KUSH, on February 2nd 2011. He was also charged with breach of Rule (A)50.2 through his non-cooperation with the enquiry.

Following information provided by betting exchanges Betfair and BETDAQ, and spread betting company Star Spreads, the BHA was able to conclude that Ahern and Clement were complicit in the lay betting against Ahern riders organised by Clement on the basis of inside information supplied by Ahern.

Ahern has been disqualified for a total of ten years, eight of which was due to his intentionally failing to ensure a horse (JUDGETHEMOMENT) was ridden on its merits – a situation which the BHA said was “just about the worst breach a jockey can commit.”

Clement was fined £3,000 and has been disqualified for a total of fifteen years, ten of which were related to the stopping ride of JUDGETHEMOMENT.

“The clear message from this, and other cases heard in the last 18 months, should be that the BHA is better equipped than ever at pinpointing and prosecuting malpractice,” said Adam Brickell, director of Integrity, Legal and Risk for the BHA. “The penalties imposed as a result of these cases being heard should serve as a deterrent to others.

“The links we have developed with betting organisations and the advances made in our sharing of data and intelligence mean that we are increasingly effective at gathering evidence that leads to prosecutions. This investigation was another landmark in terms of our intelligence and evidence gathering capabilities as it was the first occasion on which we have received assistance from a spread betting company to bring a successful prosecution.

“We have now sought and received significant cooperation on a voluntary basis from more than one such firm and we hope that this is a resource we will continue to be able to turn to in future investigations. Meanwhile we continue to await Government's improvements to the overall legislative framework that will ensure all operators are mandated to share such information with us, and other sporting bodies,” said Brickell.

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