Tennis match-fixing: 40 games targeted by bookmakers during three-month period in 2015


More than 40 professional tennis matches were flagged for potential match-fixing by international bookmakers in just a three-month period last year — an average of more than three times a week.

Key points:

  • At least 20 players involved reported to world tennis authorities
  • Blacklist contains more than 350 names
  • Two players are low-ranked Australians
  • Third review for the sport in 11 years

The fixtures took place at tournaments in countries including Colombia, Morocco, Russia and Germany between September and November 2015, eight years after tennis first vowed to fight the scourge of corruption.

At least 20 of the players involved in those matches have been reported to world tennis authorities on previous occasions — a dozen of them were first flagged by integrity investigators as far back as 2008.

Explained: Andy Cunningham from sports integrity firm Sportradar demonstrates how monitoring betting odds can identify suspicions of a match fix

Several of the players also appear on a separate blacklist obtained as part of a Four Corners investigation into match-fixing and the underworld figures who control bookmaking across Asia.

The blacklist is maintained by a European bookmaker of tennis professionals not trusted to always play to win.

The list contains more than 350 names, including at least 10 who played at this year’s Australian Open.

Two of the players on the list are low-ranked Australians, but the majority hail from developing economies in South America, Asia and Eastern Europe, where integrity measures in the sport are at their weakest. Four Corners has provided the list to tennis authorities.

The revelations come five days after the heads of each major tennis governing body — the Association of Tennis Professionals, the International Tennis Federation, the Grand Slam Board and the Women’s Tennis Association — announced a review of the sports integrity regime by a London barrister, Adam Lewis QC.

The investigation was prompted by news reports out of London that linked top-ranked players to corruption in the sport, prompting a global furore and overshadowing the first grand slam on the tennis calendar, the Australian Open.

The review will be the third for the sport in 11 years.

Four Corners has interviewed those who conducted the previous two reviews, all of whom say the sports’ governing bodies are facing a growing problem with matches fixed every single week somewhere across the world.

Do you know more about this story? Email besser.linton@abc.net.au

Tennis buried report warning of ‘deliberate underperformance’

The first major warning was given to tennis by the man who would go on to become Australia’s anti-doping chief, Richard Ings.

As an ATP executive, he produced a scathing report in November 2005 that was meant to have been made public.

The Ings report warned tennis it was “an alarming wake-up call for the sport of men’s professional tennis and its governing bodies”.

“Deliberate underperformance by players and ensuing gambling and alleged corruption that results from such deliberate underperformance, appear to pervade all levels of the men’s professional game today,” the report stated.

Mr Ings recommended the establishment of a uniform anti-corruption code and an integrity unit to more fully investigate 37 matches that were highly suspicious.

But tennis buried the Ings report and did not act on either recommendation until a major scandal years two later.

The controversy centred on a match in Poland in 2007 involving then world’s fourth-best player, Nikolay Davydenko, after Britain’s betting exchange, Betfair, voided all bets on the match.

Although there was ultimately insufficient evidence to make a finding against the Russian, the team investigating that match also discovered damaging evidence about a far wider corruption problem.

This time the investigators identified another 44 matches that required urgent investigation and potential sanction against several key players.

Instead, tennis authorities set up a minimal integrity regime and decided not to go after the players involved, citing a new player code that would not be applied retrospectively.

‘There is still a huge question mark over integrity’

Mark Phillips, a betting analyst from Global Sports Integrity, was one of the investigators involved in the 2007/8 probe.

Bookmakers’ blacklist


One of the players embroiled in a feared match-fixing controversy at the Australian Open, David Marrero, has appeared on a secret blacklist of professional tennis players who have played in matches bookmakers deemed to be suspicious.

He told Four Corners he believed that had tennis followed up with their investigation it would have been able to root out the core people corrupting other players.

“We actually did a presentation, showed various parts of the investigation that we had done and then physically handed over data files and actual ring binders of evidence that we had collected,” he said.

“We were pretty experienced at investigating these types of matters and we believed the evidence to be very strong.”

One of the heads of the review, Ben Gunn, said tennis at the time was at a “cross roads”.

“I think it’s disappointing eight years later, having had two reviews eight years later, that it appears there is still a huge question mark over the integrity of some tennis games,” he said.

Bad Sport, a Four Corners investigation, can be seen at 8:30pm on ABC TV.

Tennis match-fixing scandal: How it unfolded

Updated Wed at 2:44pm

Tennis has ordered an investigation into its anti-corruption unit after it was left reeling by reports of match-fixing.

Here is how the story rapidly unfolded from when it first broke on January 18 to the announcement of the independent review panel on January 27.

Investigation reportedly uncovers evidence of match-fixing by core group of 16 players

January 18, 2016

BuzzFeed News and the BBC reveal details of a probe which found 16 players had lost games when suspicious bets were placed against them.

A US Open champion and doubles winners at Wimbledon were among the core group, while one top-50 ranked player competing in the Australian Open is suspected of repeatedly fixing his first set;

Players were reportedly targeted in hotel rooms and offered $73,100 or more per fix.

The report looked at analysis of betting on 26,000 tennis matches and contained evidence of suspected match-fixing by gambling syndicates based in Russia and Italy uncovered as a result of an investigation in 2008, but over which no action had been taken.

ATP ‘absolutely rejects’ claims evidence of match-fixing has been suppressed

January 18, 2016

The president of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) says the governing body “absolutely rejects” that evidence of match-fixing in the sport has been suppressed or overlooked.

“The Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) and the tennis authorities absolutely reject any suggestion that evidence of match fixing has been suppressed for any reason or isn’t being thoroughly investigated,” said Chris Kermode at a press conference at Melbourne Park.

Tennis’s big names react to the allegations

January 20, 2016

With the allegations emerging as 2016’s first major got underway, high-profile players were immediately put on the spot by the media. Aussie young gun Thanasi Kokkinakis was one of the first to speak, admitting he had been approached by “randoms” on social media to fix matches.

Men’s world number one Novak Djokovic fronted the press, dismissing a report in an international newspaper that he “wanted to lose” a match in 2007 and saying he felt terrible when he has been asked to fix a match in 2006, while retiring Australian great Lleyton Hewitt also went on the offensive after a blog linked him to the list of 16 names.

Novak Djokovic: “Speculation”

What it is to say?

Anybody can create a story about any match.

That’s my point. There hasn’t been too many matches where top players lost in last decade or so in early rounds. You can pick any match that you like that the top player lost and just create a story out of it.

I think it’s not supported by any kind of proof, any evidence, any facts. It’s just speculation. So I don’t think there is a story about it.

This is now the main story in tennis, in [the] sports world, there’s going to be a lot of allegations.

Andy Murray: “More transparent”

If there is corruption in any sport, you know, you want to hear about it.

As a player you just want to be made aware of everything that’s going on. I think we deserve to know everything that’s sort of out there.

Some of it will be true, some of it might not be true. But I’m always very curious with that stuff across really all sports, as well. I think sports could in general be much, much more transparent.

Roger Federer: “Names”

I would love to hear names.

Then at least it’s concrete stuff and you can actually debate about it. Was it the player? Was it the support team? Who was it? Was it before? Was it a doubles player, a singles player? Which slam?

It’s super serious and it’s super important to maintain the integrity of our sport.

So how high up does it go? The higher it goes, the more surprised I would be.

Lleyton Hewitt: “Absurd”

I think it’s a joke to deal with it. Obviously, there’s no possible way. I know my name’s now been thrown into it.

I don’t think anyone here would think that I’ve done anything (like) corruption or match-fixing. It’s just absurd.

For anyone that tries to go any further with it, then good luck. Take me on with it.

Yeah, it’s disappointing. I think throwing my name out there with it makes the whole thing an absolute farce.

Online bookmakers suspend betting on a mixed doubles match at the Australian Open

January 24, 2016

Betting agency Pinnacle Sports received large bets from a small number of people on Sunday’s doubles match between Czech Republic’s Andrea Hlavackova and Poland’s Lukasz Kubot and Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena and David Marrero.

The agency said it was unusual for such large bets to be placed on minor matches. It was later revealed at least 19 other bookmakers including Ladbrokes also cancelled their betting markets on the match, according to historical betting data available online.

Hlavackova and Kubot won the match 6-0, 6-3 in 49 minutes, with the New York times reporting on Monday that the unusual betting patterns on the match had led Pinnacle Sports to suspend markets 13 hours before the scheduled start.

Spanish doubles player Marrero appears on blacklist of players who bookmakers deem suspicious

January 25, 2016

A secret bookmakers’ blacklist of tennis players is handed over to authorities, with ABC’s Four Corners revealing Marrero’s name is featured in the document.

The list is maintained by one of Europe’s biggest bookmakers.

The development comes after the president of the International Tennis Federation, David Haggerty, told Four Corners: “Players at all levels are vulnerable to corruption.”

Tennis announces independent review into the effectiveness of tennis’s anti-corruption program

January 27, 2016

Adam Lewis QC is appointed to lead an independent review panel to report on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the Tennis Anit-Corruption Program, aimed at safeguarding the integrity of the game.

The chairmen and chief executives of tennis’s governing bodies, the ATP, WTA, ITF and Grand Slam Board, commit to fund and implement all actions recommended by the panel.

 

Mexican “Safari” ends in murder for Aussies Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman


Missing Surfers

THE coastal Mexican region where the bodies of two men were found in a burnt-out van, likely to be identified as a pair of missing Australian surfers, has earned a reputation as the country’s murder capital.

Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman were travelling the picturesque coastline of northern Mexico in search of the kind of off-track surf beaches you wouldn’t find in a Lonely Planet guide.

Mr Lucas’s partner Josie Cox, who he had planned to propose to, said the men were a couple of “very keen and confident surfers” and “may have gone in search of waves in remote villages close by”.

It was on those remote roads they were driving overnight that it appears the pair ran into significant trouble.

The men were believed to be camping en route from Topolobampo to Guadalajara but, unusually, had not made contact with their girlfriends or family members for more than a week.

As Australian authorities communicated news of a “tragic event” to the families of Mr Lucas and Mr Coleman, reports emerged two bodies had been found in a torched vehicle appearing to have once matched the description of the blue and white camper they were driving.

Mexican authorities inspect a burnt-out van suspected to belong to a couple of Australian tourists missing for more than a week, in Sinaloa, Mexico. Picture: AP PhotoSource:AP

The WA friends were only about 25km from bustling modern cities and tourist attractions. Although most parts of Mexico are safe to visit when precautions are taken, away from the tourist cities and under cover of darkness are when many areas reveal how they’ve been touched by the country’s roaring underground drug trade and organised crime.

La Trobe University Institute of Latin American Studies senior fellow Dr Barry Carr says the two travelling surfers may be an extreme example of what can go wrong in the country.

“Parts of Mexico have a partly deserved reputation for being a dangerous place,” he tells news.com.au.

“If I was giving advice to friends of mine about driving, I would tell them two things: don’t drive at night and don’t, under any circumstances, get off the main highways. You can be in the wrong place at the wrong time, classically, and it looks like that unfortunately may be the case for these young men.”

Dr Carr says that the picture of the burnt-out vehicle, while not a signature of any particular criminal group, was an extreme example of fairly common gang behaviour in many parts of rural Mexico.

“There is the so-called war on drugs in Mexico that has been raging since 2006. Around 102,000 have been killed and 32,000 have been disappeared. Disappeared people is a very common phenomenon — disappeared foreigners is less so but very unfortunately it does happen,” he said.

“These guys were outsiders, there is nothing to suggest that they were involved in anything illegal. They could have been lost, they could have been carrying valuables, they simply could have been picked up, robbed by some local thugs or could have fallen victim to some sort of stand-over tactic.”

Adam Coleman (pictured) had been on his way to meet up with his girlfriend in Guadalajara. Picture: FacebookSource:AAP

Rural kidnapping, robberies and theft not necessarily connected with the drug trade is a risk travellers take when going off-road in Mexico.

The state of Sinaloa, where Mr Coleman and Mr Lucas had travelled, has long been a notorious area for crime and is on the radars of international government authorities such as Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade with warnings often in place.

Home to one of Mexico’s most significant international drug trafficking and organised crime syndicate, the Sinaloa Cartel, the Mexican state has both benefited and lost out from the distribution of cocaine and other drugs the organisation specialises in.

“There’s no secret there’s white powder behind a lot of the wealth in that state,” Dr Carr says.

One of the leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, rose to international infamy pulling off an incredible escape from a Mexican prison in July.

The municipality of Navolato, about 25km west of the city of Culiacan, has been the site of countless murders and mafia activity in recent years.

Reports from local media detail burnt-out cars discarded on the streets of the notorious town, and brutal deaths likely associated with the drug trade, Dr Carr says.

Adam Coleman. Picture: FacebookSource :AAP

Dean Lucas. Picture: FacebookSource :Supplied

Although nothing has been confirmed of the identity of the bodies found in the van in Navolato, nor the whereabouts of the two missing men, those close to the men are fearing the worst.

Mr Coleman’s Mexican girlfriend, Andrea Gomez, told the Associated Press she and Mr Lucas’s partner, Josie Cox, will travel to the Sinaloan capital of Culiacan to see if the two bodies are the men.

“Everything points to it being them because the van matches; it had a bicycle,” Ms Gomez said.

She said that Ms Cox was bringing Mr Lucas’s dental records for matching and she had “pieces of dreadlocks” that Mr Coleman had given her.

The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing consular assistance to the families and issued a statement on their behalf on Sunday, saying they were aware the van had been found and a “tragic event” had occurred.

“The families hold deep fears for the safety of their sons, but stress that they are still waiting for details to be confirmed,” a statement from the department said.

An online fundraising campaign to support the families of the two men has received more than $22,000 in a matter of hours.

Fault Lines travels to the troubled Mexican state of Michoacan to find out what happens when vigilante groups take on powerful drug cartels.


Missing surfers: Families of Australians Adam Coleman, Dean Lucas head to Mexico amid reports unidentified bodies found in van

Updated about 5 hours ago

The families of two West Australian surfers missing in Mexico hold grave fears for their safety, amid reports two bodies were found in a burnt-out van similar to the one the men were travelling in.

Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman were travelling in a van towards Guadalajara, but failed to arrive at their destination by November 21 as planned.

A media outlet in Mexico said two bodies had been found in a burnt-out Chevrolet van matching the description of the one the men were travelling, but local police have not confirmed or denied if they are the Australians.

Mexican authorities will run DNA tests on the two charred bodies and the girlfriends of the men are helping with DNA testing, an official told Reuters.

The official from Sinaloa’s local prosecutor’s office said the bodies were too charred to identify.

A photo of the burnt van shows a bicycle on the back and a spare tyre, similar to the one the men took on their road trip. Local reporters have told the ABC food tins and cooking utensils were also found in the van.

“Nothing is confirmed, it’s just a similar van,” Dean Lucas’s girlfriend Josie Cox told the ABC.

“[It’s] most likely theirs but I’m keeping positive it’s not.”

The torched van was found in the state of Sinaloa — one of the most dangerous and violent places in Mexico, home to powerful gangs and drug cartels.

The US State Department has advised people not to travel there outside of one major city, and says travelling on anything other than major toll roads is especially dangerous.

The families of the two men said they were aware the van had been found and that a “tragic event” had occurred, but still did not know exactly what had happened.

“The families and partners are aware the van in which they were travelling has been located by Mexican authorities and that a tragic event has occurred,” the families said in a statement released by DFAT on Sunday.

“The families hold deep fears for the safety of their sons but stress that they are still waiting for details to be confirmed.”

Family and friends have paid tribute to the men on social media.

A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs said it “is providing consular assistance to families in Australia who are seeking to establish the welfare of other family members in Mexico.”

“Due to privacy reasons we will not be making further comment.”

From other news sites:

  • Yahoo!7 News: Burnt van fears for missing WA surfers in Mexico

  • Everything points to it being them’: Girlfriend of one of two Australian surfers missing in Mexico gives police a DREADLOCK of his hair to help identify the charred bodies in their firebombed van

    • Australian surfers Dean Lucas and Adam Coleman are missing in Mexico
    • The two men, both 33, were last seen Friday, November 20, buying a map
    • Their girlfriends hope to provide Mexican authorities with DNA samples
    • Mr Lucas’ girlfriend, Josie Cox, arrived in Mexico with his dental records
    • While Mr Coleman’s girlfriend, Andrea Gomez, has pieces of his dreadlocks
    • Mexican authorities located the van the two Australian men were driving
    • Local media outlets have reported the discovery of the burnt campervan 

    Mr Lucas’ girlfriend, Josie Cox, arrived in Mexico on Sunday before she revealed her boyfriend was planning to propose.

    Mr Coleman’s girlfriend, Andrea Gomez, said Ms Cox brought Mr Lucas’ dental records with her.

    Josie Cox, Dean Lucas's girlfriend, has flown to Mexico to try and help find him and Adam Coleman. She arrived on Sunday with his dental records

    Mr Coleman's girlfriend, Andrea Gomez (right with her boyfriend), has 'pieces of his dreadlocks' to help authorities identify if one of the bodies found in a burnt-out campervan found in Navolato belongs to her partner

    Mexican news outlets have reported finding a burnt Chevy on the side of a road with two bodies inside

    Along with ‘pieces of dreadlocks’ given to Ms Gomez by her partner, the pair hoped authorities would be able to confirm whether or not the bodies found were those of their loved ones.

    ‘Everything points to it being them because the van matches, it had a bicycle. But nothing is confirmed yet,’ Ms Gomez said.

    At first, Ms Gomez and Ms Cox had wanted to travel to the Sinaloa capital of Culiacan on Monday with the items for DNA testing, but now they would travel to Mexico City to make contact with the Australian Embassy.

    Mr Lucas and Mr Coleman, from Golden Bay – an outer southern suburb of Perth, were reported missing after they organised ‘solid plans and reservations’ to be in Guadalajara, Mexico by November 21, but failed to arrive.

    Mexican news outlets reported the discovery of a burnt caravan containing two bodies as the families of the two men were informed their vehicle had been found and a ‘tragic event [had] occurred’.

    Family are currently travelling to Mexico and Ms Cox revealed on Sunday night Mr Lucas was going to ask her to marry him.

    Dean Lucas (left) and Adam Coleman (right) from Western Australia went missing while driving through Mexico in a blue and white Chevy

    Ms Cox revealed that Mr Lucas had been planning to propose to her before he went missing

    Pictured is Mr Coleman with his girlfriend Andrea Gomez, who had been planning to meet with him soon

    The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed the van has been found in Mexico 

    Mexican authorities are yet to identify the bodies who were found in a destroyed Chevy in Navolato, one of the most dangerous areas in Mexico, about 10.30pm.

    Sinaloa, home of the powerful cartel led by fugitive drug lord Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, stretches down Mexico’s Pacific coast and would be on the route of most road trips to Guadalajara from western Canada.

    Ms Cox has taken to social media appealing for any information that may help find the Australian men who were last seen in the coastal town of Los Mochis, with a witness saying the pair were buying a map.

    The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade released a statement on the missing surfers confirming their van has been located in Mexico.

    Mr Lucas' girlfriend Josie Cox earlier posted on Facebook that their families were devastated to learn local authorities had officially classed the pair as missing. Pictured is Mr Coleman

    Ms Cox said the men had 'solid plans and reservations' to be at Guadalajara by November 21, but never arrived. Pictured is her boyfriend Mr Lucas

    Ms Cox said the men had ‘solid plans and reservations’ to be at Guadalajara by November 21, but never arrived. Pictured is her boyfriend Mr Lucas

    A social media campaign has been launched to find two West Australian surfers. Above is Mr Lucas (left)

    Adam Coleman pictured with his girlfriend, Josie Cox

     Ms Cox is pictured here with Mr Lucas during various travels the pair took together

    ‘Dean and Adam were travelling in a van, departing from Topolobampa on Friday 20 November to Guadalajara but did not arrive on their scheduled date,’ the statement said.

    ‘The families and partners are aware the van in which they were traveling has been located by Mexican authorities and that a tragic event has occurred.

    ‘The families hold deep fears for the safety of their sons but stress that they are still waiting for details to be confirmed.’

    The local media publications have also translated Ms Cox’s plea for help in to Spanish in a bid to help try and find the pair.

    ‘The last confirmed siting [sic] was disembarking the ferry from Cabo to Topolobampa on Friday 20th November at 10pm. They were supposed to drive to Guadalajara after this, and never arrived,’ Ms Cox wrote on Facebook.

    Mr Lucas has also booked flights to the U.K. from Los Angeles within three days but there is now doubt whether he will be catching the flight.

    Family members of the pair are heading to Mexico as they await confirmation 

    The pair had ‘solid plans and reservations’ to be in Guadalajara, Mexico but never arrived 

    ‘They are very keen and confident surfers from Australia and may have gone in search of waves in remote villages close by. We suspect they free camped somewhere on route from Topolobampo to Guadalajara overnight.,

    ‘Their family and I are devastated and would kindly urge that you share this as far as you can and on any relevant social media sites or pages to help us find our boys.’

    Ms Cox’s recent update on the search also suggested there is devastating news.

    ‘We’d like to update everyone to announce we have had some distressing developments which we have not yet had confirmed.

    They were last seen buying a map by a witness in the Mexican coastal city of Los Mochis

    The keen surfers from Golden Bay, an outer southern suburb of Perth have not made contact with their families for over a week

    The van has a distinct red door on the back with the registration plates BSN - 2713

    ‘We would appreciate any updates on information if you know anyone that has any, but ask that the Lucas and Coleman family have some privacy at this time,’ she wrote on Facebook.

    Another friend of the pair also posted images of the men on social media while also suggesting their phones were stolen.

    ‘They have been driving through Mexico in this van and it’s been reported that Adam’s phone is now being used by someone else.

    ‘He is usually in regular contact with his mother and girlfriend so this is very out of character for him,’ she wrote.

    A friend of the pair has suggested that Adam Coleman's phone is being used by another person

    Local media organisations have also released photos of the pair in a bid to find any information that may help 

    In two hours a fundraising page for the pair's family members has raised over $4,000

     In two hours a fundraising page for the pair’s family members has raised over $4,000

    A gofundme fundraising page has also been set up to raise money for family members to help them travel to Mexico and continue their search for the pair.

    In nine hours 129 people have donated to the fundraising page raising over $16,000.

    ‘We are currently raising funds to help support both families in getting over to Mexico and bringing Dean and Adam back home to WA safely. any contributions is greatly appreciated,’ wrote the organiser of the page.

    A social media campaign has also been launched to help find the pair with the public using #FindDeanandAdam to share images and news of the men.

    The last confirmed siting was disembarking the ferry from Cabo to Topolobampa on Friday 20th November at 10pm

    Social media is reposting images of the Australians in hopes of finding any information about their disappearance

    Social media is reposting images of the Australians in hopes of finding any information about their disappearance

    A close friend's recent Facebook post reveals the family has received 'distressing developments' and their families are awaiting confirmation

    A close friend’s recent Facebook post reveals the family has received ‘distressing developments’ and their families are awaiting confirmation

Music promoter Andrew McManus is one of five men who have been arrested over an alleged cocaine smuggling ring.


Andrew McManus, promoter to stars including Aerosmith, Laura Dundovic and KISS, arrested in international cocaine ring bust… after police trace $700,000 in cash he claimed was ‘for a Lenny Kravitz concert’

  • Music promoter Andrew McManus was arrested and charged by police
  • It is alleged the 54-year-old was part of an international drug trafficking ring
  • The investigation began when $702,000 was found in a hotel room in 2011
  • McManus claimed the money was payment for a Lenny Kravitz concert 

A prominent Australian music promoter is one of five men who have been arrested over an alleged cocaine smuggling ring.

A four-year joint investigation between NSW Police and the United States’ FBI led to the arrests of the group of men.

Detectives arrested three men in Sydney on Thursday night while a fourth man – 54-year-old music promoter Andrew McManus  – was arrested at Melbourne Airport, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Music promoter Andrew McManus has been arrested as part of an alleged international drug trafficking ring 

 Music promoter Andrew McManus has been arrested as part of an alleged international drug trafficking ring

It has also been reported the detained Sydney men were crime figure Craig Haeusler, Kings Cross solicitor Michael Croke and Auburn pastry shop owner Zeki Atilgan.

McManus has been charged with perverting the course of justice, two counts of intention to defraud by false or misleading statement and knowingly participating in a criminal group.

A fifth man was arrested in the US by the FBI for drug offences and money laundering, NSW Police said in a statement.

US businessman Owen Hanson Jr was arrested while playing golf in San Diego, the Herald reported.

McManus and Miss Universe Australia 2008 Laura Dundovic in 2008

Andrew McManus and music legend Stevie Nicks pose at The Melbourne Cup in 2005

McManus (left with Laura Dundovic and right with Stevie Nicks) was arrested along with crime figure Craig Haeusler, Kings Cross solicitor Michael Croke and Auburn pastry shop owner Zeki Atilgan

Andrew McManus has been responsible for bringing Aerosmith, KISS, Lenny Kravitz and Chris Isaak (pictured above with McManus in 2008) to Australia

 Andrew McManus has been responsible for bringing Aerosmith, KISS, Lenny Kravitz and Chris Isaak (pictured above with McManus in 2008) to Australia

He was charged with perverting the course of justice, two counts of intention to defraud by false or misleading statement and knowingly participating in a criminal group

NSW detectives started investigating the alleged syndicate in August 2011 after a bag of $702,000 in cash was found in a man’s Sydney hotel room.

WHO IS ANDREW MCMANUS?

Andrew McManus, who owns McManus Entertainment, has been responsible for bringing Aerosmith, KISS and Lenny Kravitz to Australia.

He was forced to declare bankruptcy when the ATO discovered he had a $2.4 million tax debt after he was left $4.2 million out of pocket when deals and tours fell through.

McManus had to sell off his fleet of luxury cars and extensive property portfolio to cover his substantial debts.

The music promoter made headlines again back in 2011 when he was linked to a bag of $702,000 in cash that he claimed was payment for a Lenny Kravitz concert.

Four years later, he was arrested for his alleged part in a international cocaine ring, along with three Sydney men and a US citizen.

A court case was brought against NSW Police for the return of the cash when McManus claimed the bag was his and the money was payment for a Lenny Kravitz concert when he toured Australia.

But the police won and in late 2014 conducted raids in Sydney and Victoria, which netted $68,000 cash, drugs, steroids, documents and electronic equipment.

The operation also uncovered information regarding the alleged importation of 300kg of cocaine from Mexico to Australia via the US.

Since then, police have been investigating alleged drug trafficking between Mexico, the US and Australia, and associated money laundering.

Australian Crime Commission NSW manager Warren Gray said ‘investigations like this one affirm the effectiveness of “following the money'”‘.

NSW Police have charged a 55-year-old man with perverting the course of justice, intention to defraud by false or misleading statement and knowingly participating in a criminal group.

A 65-year-old has been charged with perverting the course of justice, three counts of intention to defraud by false or misleading statement and knowingly participating in a criminal group.

A 32-year-old man was charged with two counts of money laundering.

NSW detectives started investigating the alleged syndicate in August 2011 after a bag of $702,000 in cash was found in a man's Sydney hotel room. Above is one of the three Sydney men being arrested on ThursdayNSW detectives started investigating the alleged syndicate in August 2011 after a bag of $702,000 in cash was found in a man’s Sydney hotel room. Above is one of the three Sydney men being arrested on Thursday

The trio have been charged with money laundering, perverting the course of justice, intention to defraud by false or misleading statement and knowingly participating in a criminal group

Police raided the homes of three men in Kellyville, Miranda, and Sydney CBD following the extensive investigationPolice raided the homes of three men in Kellyville, Miranda, and Sydney CBD following the extensive investigation

The group of men have been bailed to appear at Sydney courts at later dates. NSW Police are also seeking to extradite a US citizenThe group of men have been bailed to appear at Sydney courts at later dates. NSW Police are also seeking to extradite a US citizen

The group of men have been bailed to appear at Sydney courts at later dates.

NSW Police is seeking the extradition of a 33-year-old US citizen to Sydney on arrest warrants for money laundering, perverting the course of justice and intent to defraud by false or misleading statement, as well as an additional charge of drug supply of a large commercial quantity.

Detectives from the Organised Crime Squad are currently in San Diego, California, working with the FBI.

A number of search warrants were executed, with officers seizing cash, gold, silver, cannabis and documentation.


Drug trafficking, money laundering bust sees five men, including Melbourne music promoter, arrested in joint NSW Police-FBI investigation

Updated about 2 hours ago

Music promoter Andrew McManus was arrested in Melbourne last night. (Getty Images: Kristian Dowling)

Five men, including Melbourne music promoter Andrew McManus, have been arrested following a joint FBI and New South Wales police investigation into international drug trafficking and money laundering.

An investigation was launched after police seized more than $700,000 from a man at a Sydney hotel in 2011.

NSW Police faced legal action for the return of the money, with a claim being made that it was payment for an international band who had toured Australia, but the case was thrown out of the Supreme Court and investigations continued.

Last year, New South Wales and Victoria police raided five properties, seizing more than $68,000 in cash and steroids.

Detectives say they also uncovered the importation of 300 kilograms of cocaine from Mexico to Australia, via the United States.

Following a joint operation with the FBI in San Diego, California, police last night arrested McManus, 54, in Melbourne.

McManus’ promotion companies have brought a number of high-profile entertainers to Australia, including Kiss, Mötley Crüe and Stevie Nicks.

A 65-year-old Sydney solicitor and two other New South Wales men were also charged.

Subsequent searches at a home in Kellyville, in Sydney’s north-west, uncovered cash, steroids and cannabis.

New South Wales Police are also trying to extradite US citizen Owen Hanson, 33, to Sydney so he can be charged.

He was arrested by FBI agents in the parking lot of a golf course in near San Diego, California, where he remains in custody on US federal drug charges, according to a statement from the FBI.

“The commitment made by the detectives and others involved in this investigation has been outstanding — they never lost focus on the job at hand,” commander of the Organised Crime Squad, Detective Superintendent Scott Cook, said in a statement.

“As recent investigations have shown, it is now clear that organised syndicates impacting NSW are often transnational in nature.

“Whilst this presents us with challenges, those who undertake these activities need to understand that being outside the jurisdiction will not save you.”

Australian Crime Commission state manager NSW Warren Gray said that, in this instance, “following the money” led to the discovery of criminal activity.

“The collaborative work between NSW Police and the FBI, and multiple partner agencies, is highly commendable and this outcome is a great result for the Australian community,” he said.

theage.com.au

Andrew McManus at centre of storm

Kate McClymont

Big business: Andrew McManus in his office.Big business: Andrew McManus in his office. Photo: Teagan Glenane FCN

Controversial music promoter Andrew McManus has unwittingly revealed an important career lesson to tax evaders: if you are going to boast about ripping off the Australian Tax Office, don’t confide in the police.

His bizarre admission emerged last week in a court case involving the promoter, a bag full of cash, international rock acts including Fleetwood Mac and Lenny Kravitz and crime figures from Australia and the US.

“I’m not a dickhead but… if this went to the ATO, I’d be cooked again.”  

Andrew McManus

During an investigation into the source of the $702,000 cash found in a Sydney hotel room in 2011, McManus claimed the money was his. He boasted to police if they came round to his house “right now” they would find a safe with “600 large sittin’ in it”.

Legends: International rock act Fleetwood Mac.Legends: International rock act Fleetwood Mac.

When the police asked about the source of the money, he said, “This isn’t going anywhere?” He then offered that the “600 large” came from a Lenny Kravitz tour.

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 He told police that he used 20 crew members to “sneak” the cash in from New Zealand.

“I’m not a dickhead but… if this went to the ATO, I’d be cooked again,” he volunteered.

Legal fight: Sean Carolan at the Supreme Court in Sydney.Legal fight: Sean Carolan at the Supreme Court in Sydney. Photo: Photo: Janie Barrett

Documents tendered during a recent battle in the NSW Supreme Court over the money have revealed that McManus also accepted $450,000 in cash from the outlaw Perth bikie gang, the Coffin Cheaters.

He also admitted to police that he withheld funds from rock groups including international stars Fleetwood Mac.

McManus also confided to police about the financial fallout from his involvement in the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal.

The saga of the suitcase full of cash had its origins in May 2011 when McManus was staying at the luxurious InterContinental hotel in Macquarie Street, a short walk from Sydney’s Circular Quay.

In his hotel room he had a number of plastic shopping bags crammed with $10,000 bundles of cash totalling $702,000. His long-time friend and associate Craig Haeusler emptied the bags into a suitcase.

Haeusler, a drug kingpin who served five years in jail for running a multi-million dollar drug ring supplying methamphetamines to Sydney’s eastern suburbs, then gave the money to a young American, Owen Hanson jnr.

Haeusler told police he had been introduced to Hanson by a Chinese gambling identity and that the pair had bet on the NFL in America.

Hanson, who moved hotels every few days, was nicknamed “Dispose” by his Australian friends because of his propensity to dispose of pre-paid mobile phones.

Haeusler later told police that McManus was repaying Hanson who had  stumped up the deposit McManus needed for a ZZ Top tour.

The suitcase of cash was then hidden by Hanson in the ceiling of a rented apartment in Kent Street for three months. In August he handed the suitcase of cash to his personal trainer, Sean Carolan.

On August 11, 2011, police received an anonymous tip-off that the occupant of room 3026 in the Hilton Hotel had a gun. The occupant, Carolan, a former cage fighter and racehorse trainer turned personal trainer, didn’t have a gun — but he did have a black suitcase containing McManus’s $702,000, which the police seized.

Carolan’s subsequent legal fight to recover the money has brought to light a bizarre series of events.

On the night police seized the cash, Carolan said he was merely minding the money for Hanson, who didn’t want to lose any more at the casino.

CCTV footage from Star City casino obtained by the police shows earlier that day Carolan and Hanson were in a heated conversation with Robert Cipriani, a well-known American high roller who calls himself Robin Hood 702 (702 is the telephone code for Las Vegas).

Police records note that Cipriani “is well known to the casino and is currently of interest to the Australian Federal Police”.

The day after the cash was seized, Cipriani left for Los Angeles.

During the investigation into the suitcase, police interviewed Hanson by videolink from the Beverly Hills police station in Los Angeles. “Do you want me to tell you the, the full story of how basically this money was laundered…?” Hanson offered.

He said the cash had come from McManus but, contrary to Carolan’s initial version, Hanson claimed he had given the money to Carolan to invest in Carolan’s weight loss clinic.

As well as expressing concern at Hanson’s use of the word “laundered”, Justice Richard Button noted in his judgment on Monday, “There is no satisfactory explanation why Mr Hanson would invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in the business concept of a personal trainer who resided in a foreign country and whom he had known for no more than several weeks.”

Justice Richard Button refused to hand the $702,000 back to Carolan, saying he was not convinced he was “lawfully” entitled to the money.

Carolan was ordered to pay the police costs.

When he was interviewed by police in April 2012, McManus told them the money was his. “It’s pretty obvious though. I gave someone 700 large, and you’ve found someone with 700 large. It’s my 700 large.”

McManus told the police that the cash was part of a business deal where he was repaying the money to Hanson, who had lent him cash as a deposit for a ZZ Top tour but now he wanted it back to fund a Lenny Kravitz tour.

“In essence, I delivered back 700 grand I now need to borrow it again. As quickly as possible,” he said.

He also said; “It’s not the proceeds of crime, it’s the [proceeds] of Andrew McManus.”

McManus made remarkable admissions during his record of interview with police. He has since claimed he was under the influence of morphine  and alcohol at the time.

The rock promoter volunteered to police that he had been “under suspicion by the NRL, for making player payments to rugby league players”.

This was a reference to the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal in 2010 when it was revealed that McManus had facilitated extra payments to Storm players including Greg Inglis, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater.

His company, Andrew McManus Presents, would bill the Storm for “promotional” events. The money would be then be channelled by McManus’s company through to several Storm players.

The Storm were later stripped of their points and previous premiership titles.

Neither the players nor McManus were accused of any wrongdoing but McManus told the police of the fallout which included the Australian Tax Office going through him like a dose of salts.

“Although I did make tax payments on each player payment, I never actually got them to sign a full stat dec. So, of those players, they decided that they would fine me…between 30 per cent and the 49 per cent.”

He said he had to pay the ATO $120,000 per player, which totalled $2.4 million. “It crushed my company…Andrew McManus Presents International,” he told police.

Because of his ensuing financial difficulties he said he used friends and associates to help fund tours. McManus mentioned that Liberal powerbroker Michael Kroger and his brother Andrew had invested in his concert tours.

He said on five or six occasion, Michael Kroger had “put cash in and then I’ll, you know, fold it out.”

A spokesman for Michael Kroger said it was “a standard financial arrangement”.

McManus also boasted of withholding cash ticket sales from bands such as Fleetwood Mac. “I sold over $700,000 in cash tickets, because people wanted the best tickets, they come to the office, they ring up or email.”

“I’m not sharing it with the band…the cash stays in Andrew McManus’s pocket,” he told police.

McManus also told the police that he had accepted $450,000 in cash from the Coffin Cheaters, an outlaw motor cycle gang who were promoting the Perth leg of the ZZ Top tour.

During his police interview, McManus was accompanied by his lawyer and former partner in a Sydney nightclub, Michael Croke.

Croke, who represented Haeusler in his drug trial, also acted for McManus, Hanson, Haeusler and finally Carolan in the latter’s unsuccessful attempt to have the money returned.

During the case, Haeusler was pacing up and down the corridor outside the Supreme Court in Sydney.

McManus declined to comment for this story. He has issued a media release suggesting revelations about the suitcase and the cash were “gutter journalism by a bottom feeder” and that the articles had been written under “the protection of impossible deformation (sic) laws.”

The mafia, metadata and me: the day Stan called me into an ecstasy sting


The mafia, metadata and me: the day Stan called me into an ecstasy sting

Nick McKenzie

Mafia in Australia – Drugs, Murder and Politics

The mafia continues to flourish in Australia despite major police operations, as this joint Four Corners/Fairfax Media investigation reveals.

When the phone vibrated in my pocket in September 2007, I had no idea the incoming call would plunge me into the middle of Australia’s biggest Mafia investigation in decades.

I was also unaware that the caller, who identified himself as “Stan”, was, in fact, a driven and entrepreneurial drug trafficker from Griffith, NSW, called Pat Barbaro.

Federal Police and Customs agents with some of the Ecstasy and Cocaine after the drug bust.Federal Police and Customs agents with some of the Ecstasy and Cocaine after the drug bust. Photo: John Woudstra

Barbaro had organised the world’s biggest ecstasy shipment into Melbourne in June 2007. But by the time he rang me, three months later, he was unable to locate the shipping container packed with his $500 million load.

Calling me, and then sending a series of texts from several mobile phones registered in fake names, was part of a desperate plan by Barbaro to either locate his shipment or confirm his suspicions that the police had seized his drugs.

He was hoping I would reach out to police or waterfront sources to do this, and then report my findings. To say his plan failed spectacularly would be an understatement.

Unbeknownst to either me or “Stan,” police were intercepting the text messages, which included detailed descriptions of the size and likely location of the drug shipment. These text messages, and analysis of the corresponding metadata, were used to prove Barbaro had organised the drug shipment.

But that was not the only implication. Over the past six months, federal police have used the scenario as a case study to convince the Federal Government of the need to pass laws ensuring telcos store the metadata generated when a person uses a phone or computer.

As the hulking Barbaro walked around Melbourne’s CBD, meeting bikies, South Asian money launderers and other Mafia bosses, he carried up to a dozen phones. One was his personal mobile, with a subscription under his own name.

The other phones were “burners”, which were registered in false names and regularly replaced with new phones. The problem for Barbaro is that these burners were hitting the same mobile phone towers as his regular phone.

Barbaro’s personal phone and the burners were pinging off the same towers so often that police were able to prove the burners belonged to Barbaro.

According to the Director of Public Prosecution’s Andrea Pavleka, the texts sent from the “Stan” burners “showed that Barbaro had critical knowledge of the contents of that container”.

“That was a terrific link for the prosecution to have in this particular matter.”

Back in 2007, I knew none of this.

In fact, had I known my communications were being intercepted, I would have been furious.

Many of my sources are banned by their employer from speaking to me, or any other reporter, so the prospect of any innocent whistleblower being outed would have concerned me greatly.

I only learned this many months later of the interception. From all the checks I have since conducted – and there have been many – no source of mine was compromised and the AFP agents involved acted professionally and with regard to the sensitivities of my trade.

That said, ever since 2007, I have implemented a range of measures to protect sources’ communications — steps not unlike those suggested by Malcolm Turnbull during the recent debate about metadata.

Ever since the phone buzzed that day in my pocket, and “Stan” briefly entered my life, I’ve been especially conscious about how a person’s communications leave a trail, no matter how careful they are. It is a lesson the now jailed Barbaro has, no doubt, also learned well.

Watch part two of a joint Fairfax and ABC Four Corners mafia investigation on ABC1 8.30 PM Monday.

Aussie Peter Scully to face Philippines court on ‘depraved’ paedophilia charges; videos allegedly featured rape, torture


By North Asia correspondent Matthew Carney

An Australian man will face a Philippines court tomorrow to enter a plea on paedophilia charges described by authorities there as “depraved”.

Peter Scully allegedly ran an international paedophile ring from Mindanao in the Southern Philippines that raped, tortured and murdered children.

One victim was only 18 months old.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details which may be disturbing for some readers.

Scully first moved to Cagayan de Oro on the island of Mindanao in 2011.

Exploiting the poverty and desperation right on his doorstep, Scully approached Arlene Loyola and offered to give her eight-year-old daughter education and food.

Ms Loyola accepted the offer, but after two weeks she began to worry.

“I prayed and God told me to get her away from Scully and I did,” Ms Loyola told 7.30.

When Ms Loyola got her daughter back she had been bashed and badly bruised. Scully had repeatedly drugged and raped the girl.

Ms Loyola blames herself.

“I feel so ashamed and asked forgiveness from my child because she suffered so much,” she said, sobbing.

“She just wanted to go to school.

“I can’t sleep; I just can’t stop thinking about what happened to her.”

Customers paid $10,000 to view torture videos

But this was just the tip of the iceberg of Scully’s depravity.

Officers of the Philippines Bureau of Investigation showed 7.30 a dark old house with high walls in another part of Cagayan de Oro.

It was here Scully made the videos called The Destruction of Daisy.

He was selling the videos to online customers around the world for up to $10,000 a view.

We are pretty much sure that we have a very solid case and that he will be away for good.

Prosecutor Eric Nuqui

The full details of what happened at this house are too shocking to reveal.

But Angelito Magno, one of the lead investigators, gave 7.30 an insight.

“In one of these videos was an 18-month-old baby girl who was hanged upside down,” he said.

“She was crying all the time she was being tortured.”

Demand was so great for these sickening videos that six other foreigners, mainly from Europe, started to fund Scully.

But one made-to-order video proved to be Scully’s undoing.

In it, two girls, one 12 years old and the other 13, were forced to dig their own graves while being raped.

Mr Magno said the girls eventually led them to Scully.

“The two girls were able to escape and seek police assistance while they were still wearing chains, chains to their necks,” he said.

Mr Magno was part of the international team that arrested 51-year-old Scully in February, charging him on multiple counts of sexual abuse, cyber sex, torture, rape, human trafficking and murder.

In Manila, an investigation team is gathering all the evidence before the trial formally starts later this year.

They now have seven victims under witness protection who will testify against Scully in court.

Prosecutors confident Scully will go ‘away for good’

Eric Nuqui works at the Philippines Investigation Bureau and will be one of the lawyers who will be leading the trial against Scully.

“With the overwhelming evidence we have and with the prosecutors handling the case, we are pretty much sure that we have a very solid case and that he will be away for good,” he told 7.30.

The team in Manila and the Australian Federal Police are now working to identify and prosecute Scully’s customers around the world.

They have evidence that an Australian man offered Scully about $2,500 to rape a 13-year-old girl.

While the capture of Scully has been a success for the Philippines Bureau of Investigation, the reality is, with limited manpower and resources, they are struggling to cope with the flood of paedophiles entering the Philippines.

The Australian Federal Police say 250 Australians convicted of child sex offences have travelled to the Philippines in the last four years.

But Philippines authorities say they know of only 10.

Mr Nuqui said there was a problem in coordination in the Philippines.

“As far as I’m concerned, I’m yet to receive information,” he said.

“Maybe they’re providing information to other (Philippines) agencies and we are not able to access it.”


Philippines police arrest, prepare to deport Australian fugitive accused of child molestation

Posted 27 Mar 2015, 11:24am

An Australian fugitive wanted for molesting a young girl in Australia has been arrested in Manila and will be deported from the Philippines.

Philippines immigration officials stopped 39-year-old Roy Woodward upon his arrival in an airport in Manila from Sydney.

An alert posted by Australian Interpol said Mr Woodward had been accused of sexually abusing a 12-year-old girl and was set for sentencing by a local Australian court.

Following the arrest, an immigration intelligence official said Manila should keep a closer watch out for paedophiles and fugitives.

Another Australian, Peter Gerard Scully, is facing charges for the murder of a 12-year-old girl and sexual abuse of 11 children in the southern Philippines.

The Melbourne man is the key suspect in one of the most horrifying paedophile rings uncovered by police in the Philippines.

Mr Scully allegedly spent years sexually abusing and torturing young children and streaming his alleged crimes online.

If he is found guilty he will face life in prison.

The National Bureau of Investigation has launched a manhunt for four foreigners believed to have been working with Mr Scully since 2011.

The Philippines is a major hub of the billion-dollar global child cybersex industry due to its widespread poverty and legal loopholes.

The Philippines Justice Department secretary Leila de Lima last year said online child abuse was the leading cyber-related crime in the Philippines and made up 46 per cent of more than 200 cases.


Australian Federal Police says 250 Australians with child sex convictions travelled to Philippines in last four years

Updated 13 Apr 2015, 5:02pm

About 250 Australians with child sex convictions have travelled to the Philippines in the last four years, the Australian Federal Police (AFP) has revealed.

Filipino police are currently pursuing a case against Australian man Peter Gerard Scully for what they allege are some of the worst child sex offences in the nation’s history.

The AFP was involved in the investigation and arrest and says 250 known Australian child sex offenders travelled to the Philippines in the past four years.

A spokesman has told the ABC that Australia alerts Filipino authorities when a sex offender boards a flight, but it is up to them whether to refuse entry.

Scully, 51, who has no previous convictions for child sex abuse, was arrested and charged with sexually abusing 11 children aged between 18 months and 13 years.

He allegedly spent years sexually abusing and torturing young children and streaming his crimes online, where the AFP says he charged between $US100 and $US10,000 for the videos he filmed.

The Melbourne man has also been charged with the murder of one of his alleged victims, a 12-year-old girl, along with rape, torture, human trafficking and violating cyber laws.

On Saturday, authorities in the Philippines said Scully was working with foreign accomplices in his child pornography operation and launched a manhunt for four foreigners believed to be involved.

The Australian embassy held an emergency meeting late last week in relation to the case.

Editor’s note 13/4/2015: An earlier version of this story said 250 Australian sex offenders had travelled to the Philippines in the last year.

Live baiting on Four Corners-greyhound racing -Life bans and prosecutions to follow

Featured


Update 07/07/16

Greyhound racing has no future in ACT, Chief Minister says

4.35pm

The ACT is set to follow New South Wales’ lead and ban greyhound racing after Chief Minister Andrew Barr said there was “no future for the industry” in the territory.

Greyhound racing will be banned in NSW from July 1 next year, with Premier Mike Baird saying the “widespread and systemic mistreatment of animals” could not be tolerated.

In a statement, Mr Barr said the ACT Government agreed with the NSW Government’s decisions and would consider the findings of the NSW report before announcing a timeframe to ban the practice.

“The Government cannot continue to support an industry that is turning a blind eye to the sort of behaviour and cruelty uncovered by the special commission of inquiry,” Mr Barr said in a statement.

“It is untenable for the ACT Government to continue allowing, and financially supporting the practice of greyhound racing.”

The NSW decision comes after a special commission of inquiry found overwhelming evidence of animal cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and live baiting.


Greyhound racing to be banned in New South Wales, Baird Government announces

Updated 13 minutes ago

http://www.justice.nsw.gov.au/Pages/media-news/media-releases/2016/Greyhound-Racing-to-be-Shut-Down-in-NSW.aspx

http://www.greyhoundracinginquiry.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/fact-sheet-greyhound-racing-industry-nsw-special-commission-of-inquiry.pdf

http://www.greyhoundracinginquiry.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/q-and-a-transitioning-nsw-greyhound-racing-industry-to-closure.pdf

The New South Wales Government has announced it will end greyhound racing in the state from July 1 next year.

It comes after a special commission of inquiry found overwhelming evidence of systemic animal cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and live baiting.

Premier Mike Baird said the findings of the report were damning.

He said the industry was not capable in the short or medium term of reforming and in the coming months the Government would be working toward an orderly shutdown.

NSW will become the first Australian state or territory to ban greyhound racing.

More to come.

Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in NSW

The Honourable Michael McHugh AC QC was appointed by Letters Patent issued in the name of the Governor of New South Wales on 6 May 2015 to inquire into the Greyhound Racing Industry in NSW.

Commissioner McHugh AC QC provided his report on the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in NSW to the Governor on 16 June 2016.

Transitioning the NSW greyhound racing industry to closure

The NSW Government has decided to shut down the greyhound racing in NSW following the report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry.

The Special Commission of Inquiry found overwhelming evidence of systemic animal cruelty, including mass greyhound killings and live baiting. The inquiry’s report concluded that the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry has fundamental animal welfare issues, integrity and governance failings that can not be remedied.

The NSW greyhound racing industry will be transitioned to closure over 12 months to allow appropriate management of animal welfare and transitions for industry participants. Racing of greyhounds will be permitted until 1 July 2017.

The NSW Government will announce a detailed industry shutdown plan during the second half of 2016 following consultation with stakeholders in industry and animal welfare organisations. The plan will include:

  • A welfare plan for existing greyhounds;
  • A support package for industry participants; and
  • A transition arrangement for existing Greyhound Racing NSW assets that will ensure they are used for open public space, alternative sporting facilities or other community use.

More information


Many more about to be exposed, it makes me ask this question…

IF they had any honour and respect for their loved ones (people ,not dogs or animals they have proven that) who are about to be shamed, they would step up and say I fucked up! I got caught up whatever. The earlier participants speak up the better they will be received.

Otherwise, this is how it will be, little kids who loved their daddy, uncle, grandpa in photos with winners will grow to be disgusted. The public and punters etc are outraged but these tossers have their very own families and grand kids to answer to. WHY grandpa???????  is being asked all over Australia


Shocking’ debt deepens Racing Qld crisis

DEAD greyhounds aren’t the only skeletons in Racing Queensland’s closet.

THE state government says the body is responsible for failing to stop the disappearances and killing of thousands of dogs and turning a blind eye to the practice of live baiting.

But Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has revealed Racing Queensland’s crisis is deeper – it’s also grappling with “shocking” amounts of debt.

KPMG administrator Ian Hall found the body’s losses will likely top $11 million this financial year and its draft budget shows it’s anticipating a loss of $21 million in 2015/16.
“This is shocking news and it has been uncovered within just a day of Mr Hall taking the reigns of this organisation,”
Ms Palaszczuk told parliament on Wednesday. The premier said the debt revelations justify the government’s decision to sack all four boards overseeing racing in the state, including the harness and thoroughbred racing boards.
“I stand by my government’s decision to provide the CEO of Racing Queensland (Darren Condon) with a show cause notice and giving him five days to respond,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“I stand by my government’s decision to abolish the boards of all racing codes in Queensland. “I am determined that this important industry will go forward with a clean slate.”
Ms Palaszczuk has also announced former Supreme Court and Court of Appeal judge John Muir had been appointed as chair of the new all codes board set up to oversee greyhound, harness and thoroughbred racing.
But Brisbane Turf Club Director Peter Bredhauer has warned the government to put politics aside during the restructuring process.
“If it doesn’t (appoint Labor associates) it’ll be the first time it hasn’t,” said Mr Bredhauer, who recognised the Liberal National Party was guilty of the same thing.
“I don’t know why it is but the political landscape in Queensland, every time we have a change of government, for some reason the racing industry has to suffer and they have to have a complete change of direction.”
The state government has insisted appointments made during the overhaul won’t be political.

Greyhound Hall of Fame trainer Ron Ball banned for life

 Trainer Ron Ball with greyhound Mr Metz.

Trainer Ron Ball: banned.

QUEENSLAND Greyhound Hall of Fame trainer Ron Ball has been banned from the industry for life.

The banning of Ball – who has not been charged by police – is one of the biggest scalps since investigations began into the greyhound industry.

A Racing Queensland statement confirmed Ball had also been removed from the hall of fame.

“The Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board (QACRIB) has today taken the decision to warn-off greyhound licensee Mr Ron Ball in relation to its investigations into live-baiting in the greyhound industry,” the statement says.

“Mr Ball had previously been issued with a show-cause notice as to why he should be deemed a desirable person to be present on a Queensland racecourse.

“After considering Mr Ball’s submission, QACRIB determined he was not a desirable individual to be present at a racecourse and took the decision to warn him off.

“As a result of the QACRIB findings, Mr Ball has been removed from the Queensland Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame.

“He becomes the 22nd greyhound trainer to be warned-off in Queensland.”


UPDATE 01/05/15

Greyhound live baiting: Seven Victorian trainers charged by Greyhound Racing Victoria

Seven trainers have been charged by Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) over alleged live baiting at the trial track in Tooradin, in Victoria’s south-east.

A Four Corners report aired earlier this year revealed disturbing footage of racing dogs chasing piglets, rabbits and possums and mauling them to death.

A number of investigations across the country, including in Victoria, were initiated.

The investigations looked at whether live baiting was common practice in the industry and resulted in a number of trainers being suspended.

The board of GRV resigned in February following the revelations, and a new one was appointed.

Today GRV said seven of 15 people involved in alleged live baiting at Tooradin had been charged with 33 offences for conduct contrary to both local and Australasian rules.

It called the offences “serious”.

The trainers charged were Christopher Connolly, Dennis Dean, Brett Mackie, Darren McDonald, Anthony Mills, Jon Roberts and Eric Sykes.

The independent Greyhound Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board will hear and determine the charges.


 UPDATE 02/04/15

Spent ammunition found at site where 55 greyhound carcasses were dumped in bushland near Bundaberg

Updated 52 minutes ago

Spent .22 calibre ammunition shells have been found scattered around a southern Queensland wildflower reserve where the bodies of 55 greyhounds were discovered, in what Police Minister Jo-Ann Miller has described as a “mass murder” by “oxygen thieves”.

Police and the RSPCA’s joint taskforce into the disgraced industry discovered the mass dumping site south of Bundaberg on Wednesday after being tipped off.

Detective Superintendent Mark Ainsworth said the greyhounds were in varying states of decomposition, which indicates that they were dumped over varying periods of time.

There was no attempt to bury the carcasses and they were left out, some with a single gunshot wound, to be fed on by wild animals, Detective Ainsworth said.

Wildfires have ripped through the area in recent months, which destroyed some of the carcasses, and police are investigating if the fires were deliberately lit.

“It appears that maybe a common knowledge dumping ground,” Detective Ainsworth said.

“It could be that someone within the industry knows the remoteness of that area and knows that it’s a safe place to dispose of greyhounds that are no longer performing. It is quite disturbing.

“You know who you are, you know what you’ve been involved in, and now is the time to stand up and be counted and come forward before we start knocking on your door.”

Only one road in and out of killing field

The Vera Scarth-Johnson Wildflower Reserve is off Coonarr Road, near the Kinkuna National Park.

Detective Ainsworth said there was only one road in and out and locals must know regular users of the reserve.

“The beach area near the locations is utilised by local greyhounds racers to train their dogs,” he said.

“We want anyone with good local knowledge of the area to come forward.”

Brenden Trickey lives near the site where the dogs were found and said he was shocked so many were dumped in such a small area.

“This area here is very quiet and friendly, everyone seems to know everyone,” he said.

“It’s the last thing you’d expect in this area.

“Everyone’s got a pet. Everyone out here owns a dog and I could not imagine anyone out here doing such a disgusting act.”

Mr Trickey said the road where the dogs were found is quite remote.

“It’s just the main road to the beach really, there’s a couple of houses there but mainly beach houses for rentals,” he said.

“But other than that it’s very quiet in general up that road.”

Bundaberg Greyhound Club president Stephen Bland took to social media on Wednesday night to express shock at the discovery.

“We are appalled by the news and are doing all we can to find whomever is responsible for this disgraceful act,” he said.

Queensland Police Minister labels killers ‘oxygen thieves’

Ms Miller said Racing Queensland and police have identified a number of trainers and owners in the area and that would form part of the investigation.

“The people who have perpetrated this crime to me are oxygen thieves, they are cowards and they are pathetic,” she said.

Detective Ainsworth said many of the deaths appear to have occurred before the ABC’s Four Corners exposed in February live-baiting and cruelty in the industry.

The program showed footage of live piglets, possums and rabbits being fixed to mechanical lures and catapulted around tracks while being chased, and eventually killed, by dogs.

The program led to numerous animal cruelty charges, life bans from the industry and the creation of the taskforce which found the dogs on Wednesday night.

In Queensland, a total of 36 trainers have been suspended over the scandal, with six now issued with life bans from dog racing.

The Queensland Government has also ordered an independent review of the state’s greyhound industry to investigate how the practice went undetected.

UPDATE 03/03/15

Greyhound Racing Victoria board resigns after report into live baiting at Tooradin

The board of Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) has resigned after an interim report found no evidence board members knew about the practice of live baiting at the Tooradin trial track.

Racing Minister Martin Pakula said the industry needed a fresh start and a new board of three would provide the cultural change needed at GRV.

Ray Gunston, the former chief financial officer for Tatts Group, was appointed the new chair, along with former Victoria Police commissioner Ken Lay and Melbourne barrister Judith Bornstein.

The chairman of Greyhound Racing Victoria, Peter Caillard, resigned over the controversy last month.

The resignations came after Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna released a report which found there was no “direct” evidence of live baiting at any track other than Tooradin.

However the report said it would be “naive” to accept that the practice was not and had not been going on elsewhere.

On the balance of probabilities, Mr Perna said, GRV could not have been expected to know about the practice considering their lack of powers to inspect properties.

Mr Perna said there were currently only two compliance inspectors for the whole state, but noted that GRV had advertised to employ four more.

“The people that perform the compliance and welfare checks are restricted in their powers to attend at what they call a reasonable hour,” he said.

“That means there’s a degree of predictability.”

‘Small group’ responsible for unlawful activity

The report was ordered in response to revelations by Four Corners which found live animals were being used to blood greyhounds used for racing.

Mr Perna’s report also found there was no current evidence to substantiate the allegations of a cover-up at GRV in regards to live baiting at Tooradin or elsewhere.

This is beyond greyhound welfare. This is animal welfare. Cruelty is just not on.

Sal Perna, Victorian Racing Integrity Commissioner

He recommended increasing the powers of animal welfare compliance, education and integrity staff at GRV.

“This is a small group of people that are conducting unlawful activity,” he said. “I don’t think it’s representative of the industry.”

Mr Perna also called on GRV to make formal agreements with animal welfare groups such as the RSPCA to ensure the immediate reporting of allegations of cruelty.

“This is beyond greyhound welfare,” he said. “This is animal welfare. Cruelty is just not on.”

Mr Pakula asked the Department of Justice to examine what legislative changes were needed to increase animal welfare compliance powers.

He also asked the new GRV to get straight to work implementing the five interim recommendations from Mr Perna’s report.

They included increasing the powers of animal compliance officers, introducing new regulations for trainers, and new strict compliance rules for trainers and owners regarding the ownership and transfer of ownership of greyhounds.

Animal welfare ‘comes last’ in racing industry: RSPCA

The RSPCA said the greyhound industry’s efforts to regulate itself had been an “abject failure” and an independent body was needed to oversee the sport.

Its Victorian chief executive, Liz Walker, said the interim report lacked clear outcomes, and greyhound welfare seemed to come last.

“The evidence shows that under self-regulation, it’s been an abject failure,” she said.

“If the public are going to have confidence that greyhound welfare is going to be the utmost concern, then the only way forward is to have this independent body.”

Opposition Leader Matthew Guy welcomed the resignation of the board.

“As far as I’m concerned it is good that the board’s gone,” Mr Guy said.

“It sends a message, it sends a clear message to everyone in the greyhound industry that those who have been complicit or take part in live baiting should and will be brought to justice.”

He also said he supported a review into whether greyhound racing needed a greater level of oversight to protect animals.

“I think the time’s come for a discussion around animal welfare, which may be outside of the scope of what we’ve seen previously,” he said.

Mr Pakula was asked why the board members resigned if they had been cleared of wrongdoing.

“They’ve taken the view, which I share, that for the code to move forward and public confidence to be restored that a new start is required with a new board,” he said.

“We don’t for a moment believe the appointment of a new board itself will restore confidence.

“It will be about the way that the industry carries itself and the way it deals with those people who insist on doing the wrong thing.”


UPDATE 03/03/15

Queensland greyhound trainers Reg Kay, Tom Noble, Debra Arnold, James Harding and Tony McCabe have all been banned for life for their part in archaic live baiting practices. The five will never participate in the sport of greyhound racing again after being warned off racetracks and banned from training or owning greyhounds, as well as being banned from placing any wagers on greyhound racing.Racing Queensland Chairman explained the reasons behind the decision.”As a board we determined the actions of these individuals proved they should not be considered fit and proper persons to continue to be involved in the greyhound industry,” Mr Dixon said after a Racing Queensland board meeting at Deagon.

“The conduct we saw from these people in the evidence provided to us is not only against the rules of greyhound racing, it is deplorable by its very nature.

“There is no place for anyone who engages in this type of conduct in the industry.”

This conduct came to light after an investigation by the ABC’s Four Corners program, which exposed horrific cruelty in the widespread use of live animals such as piglets, possums and rabbits on mechanical lures as a means of ‘blooding’ greyhounds.

Racing Queensland’s probe into the cases of involving trainers Greg Stella and Michael Chapman is yet to be resolved.


update 20/02/15 Well done WA but is this retrospective?otherwise you will catch nobody going forward. There are thousands of rabbits free that were doomed to die alive a few days ago

WA imposes life ban, $50k fine for greyhound industry live bait offenders

Anyone found to be involved in the practice of live baiting in the greyhound industry will be banned from the sport for life, under tough new rules announced by Racing and Wagering WA.

The industry has been embroiled in a live baiting scandal in the eastern states but there is no clear evidence of the practice in WA.

Racing and Wagering WA said offenders involved in live baiting will face a minimum 10-year disqualification and $50,000 fine, in addition to a life ban from the sport.

Previously the penalty was a 12-month disqualification from the industry.

General manager Denis Borovica said offenders would not be able to participate in greyhound racing in any registered capacity for life.

“We felt that it would more appropriately reflect the zero tolerance we have for offenders by having a penalty provision that prescribes a period of not less than 10 years disqualification and a fine of $50,000 for any person found guilty of an offence involving live game,” he said.

“So effectively what the penalty means is that for 10 years you’re unable to set foot on the racecourse and after that you become a member of the public again, but you’ll only be a member of the public you will not be a participant of the racing industry again.”

The State Government said WA now has the harshest penalties for animal cruelty in the country.

latest 19/02/15

The entire board of Greyhound Racing NSW has been dismissed following revelations of widespread live baiting within the industry, the New South Wales Government says.

The board’s powers have been referred to interim chief executive officer and head of the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing, Paul Newson.

NSW Racing Minister Troy Grant said he dismissed the board because his government wanted to restore the integrity of the industry.

“They have agreed with me that the community has lost confidence in the industry, and we now need the clear air in order to reform and reshape the industry,” he said.


NOTICE FROM OWNER AND ADMINISTRATOR OF THIS SITE

To those highlighted (and those pending, you can’t delete every pic online)  in the gallery. Stop trying to threaten me via email etc or any other way you like because NOTHING will be removed. It does not work that way anymore…

The PIG/RABBIT/POSSUM is out of the bag and talking And I keep every instance of contact via communication, email, mobile, social media etc for safe keeping.

ROGUE TRAINERS GALLERY (added to daily)

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QLD

THIS IS trainer deborah arnold
DEBORAH ARNOLD -PRESIDENT of the United Queensland Greyhounds Association and a prominent trainer and breeder, owns kennels at 14 Wotan road, Churchable, Qld

“Um… If they do I don’t know about it and I don’t really want to know about it. Um, but yeah, so this is the…It’s cruel. Yeah. You know, it’s not…No, it’s not the done thing.”

Tom Noble I am ashamed

Tom Noble I am ashamed

TOM NOBLE, TRAINER, owner/operator of a popular break-in centre on Wotan Road, owner/operator of a popular break-in centre on Wotan Road, Churchable

“Yeah, one with no muzzle: that was $100. That was $50 there to kill the pig. They’re $50 each, them c**ts.”

(Footage of RSPCA inspectors at Tom Noble’s training track)

INSPECTOR: So have you ever used pigs? Have you ever been on this property and used pigs in the past?
TOM NOBLE: No, I haven’t.
INSPECTOR: Never?

REG KAY: 3 Greyhound of the Year titles and the “2008 Australian trainer of the year”

TONY MCCABE, TRAINER,

JAMES HARDING, TRAINER

MICHAEL CHAPMAN, TRAINER

GREG STELLA , TRAINER

STEPHEN SHERWELL, TRAINER

GERRI CRISCI, TRAINER

ANTHONY HESS, TRAINER

STEVEN ARNOLD, TRAINER

MICK EMERY, TRAINER

SAMANTHA ROBERTS, TRAINER
NSW

Liar, trainer and live baiter John Thompson

Liar, trainer and live baiter John Thompson

JOHN THOMPSON, TRAINER, Shannon Brook, NSW

“What people have got to realise: it’s like anything you do. You’ve got to come out of the old days into the new days. With the welfare of greyhounds now, your biggest factor is, is that it, it doesn’t happen that easy any more”

ZEKE KADIR, TRAINER break-in Centre, Wilshire Park, Londonderry, NSW

ZEKE KADIR, TRAINER break-in Centre, Wilshire Park, Londonderry, NSW

ZEKE KADIR, TRAINER break-in Centre, Wilshire Park, Londonderry, NSW
(The rabbits are tied to a hand-pushed lure controlled by Zeke Kadir, dragged along the ground at speed, pursued by dogs in so-called training.)

trainer Harry Sarkis

trainer Harry Sarkis

HARRY SARKIS, TRAINER, so many questions, read all about the luxury kennels built by TAFE and more read here

http://www.australianracinggreyhound.com/australian-greyhound-racing/new-south-wales-greyhound-racing/harry-sarkis-called-to-icac-over-tafe-fraud-inquiry/21203

(In a further blow to the industry, champion Londonderry trainer Harry Sarkis has been suspended pending an inquiry into vials of banned substances found at his kennels during an inspection.

Sarkis has trained champion dogs for more than 20 years, including Tenthill Doll and Kristy’s Charity, and reportedly paid $800,000 for Brett Lee at the end of its career.)

IAN MORGAN, TRAINER, The trainer was caught removing the possum’s fur and flesh from its mouth. He’s blooding one of his up-and-coming dogs, Cee Cee Quoted.Four days later, we caught Ian Morgan leaving his western Sydney home with Cee Cee Quoted, bound for an afternoon race meet in Newcastle.

JOHN CAUCHI, TRAINER, Box Hill
(footage of Cauchi swinging a live rabbit before a greyhound as it attacks it)

BRUCE CARR,  TRAINER,  has been suspended after GRNSW removed four live rabbits from his property.

JOHN O’BRIENTRAINER has admitted keeping eight live European rabbits in cages on his Congewai property, but denied any involvement in live baiting after  explosive evidence of systemic  cheating uncovered by ABC’s Four Corners program.

Mr O’Brien, a licensed trainer based west of Cessnock, was immediately stood down on Thursday after officers from Greyhound Racing NSW raided his property and found eight live European rabbits.

His property was raided the same week as five registered trainers and operators in western Sydney who were targeted by RSPCA NSW officers over live baiting.

Mr O’Brien stressed he had no intention of live baiting the rabbits,   saying he kept them to use for ‘‘finish-on-lure’’ trials, where a humanely killed rabbit is attached to the arm of the lure as incentive for the greyhound to chase.

‘‘How I do it is I get bush rabbits, wild rabbits, and I break their neck and remove their head and everything else, the intestines and stomach and the dead rabbits go on the lure,’’ he said.

‘‘My only problem was I kept the bunnies alive, a bunny out of the freezer can come out quite wet and cold and if you put it in the microwave then it can fall apart.

‘‘I was silly, but fresh is best, once you put a frozen rabbit on the lure,  the dogs are not that interested, they show more interest if they [rabbits] have just been gutted or have a bit of blood on them.

‘‘They only need it once, the dog at least has to know there is something on the lure.  It is a 100% difference in how they run, something cold on the lure coming out of the fridge is nothing to them.’’

VIC

BOB SMITH, Greyhound Racing Victoria’s (GRV) former integrity and racing operations manager 

the state’s former second in charge of greyhound racing, can be seen in the footage taken at the Tooradin trial track south-east of Melbourne.

Smith has been serving on a GRV steering committee and his involvement casts serious doubt over the regulator’s claims of integrity.

ANDREW MILLS, TRAINER the former deputy chief steward for Greyhound Racing Victoria, now the regulator’s chief racing grader for the entire state

STUART MILLS A SUCCESSFUL TRAINER AND OWNER-OPERATOR OF TOORADIN no more (Large)

STUART MILLS A SUCCESSFUL TRAINER AND OWNER-OPERATOR OF TOORADIN no more (Large)

STUART MILLS, A SUCCESSFUL TRAINER AND OWNER/OPERATOR OF TOORADIN, a GRV-approved and licensed trial track.

“Yeah, look, I think the, the live baiting and, and that has certainly been clamped down on in the last five years, um, and it’s cleaned right up.”
Early the next morning, we paid Stuart Mills a visit.

(To Stuart Mills) Caro Meldrum-Hanna from Four Corners. How are you?
STUART MILLS: Yeah, not bad.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA (to Stuart Mills): We’re just here to ask you a couple of questions.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: A clearly shaken Stuart Mills maintained his denials.
(To Stuart Mills) Have you been live baiting here, Stuart?
STUART MILLS: No.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Why do you think they were here yesterday?
STUART MILLS: You ask them that.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: Did you?
STUART MILLS: Yeah.
CARO MELDRUM-HANNA: And what did they say?

Mills gets told to shut up by someone off screen and walks away

PAUL ANDERTON, TRAINER, and former steward for Greyhound Racing Victoria.

NEVILLE KING, TRAINER, and the president of Cranbourne Racing Club

DENNIS DEAN, TRAINER,

DARREN MCDONALD, PREMIER TRAINER, a Two-time Australian Greyhound Trainer of the Year; more than $4 million in prize money.

(It’s the 18th of November, 2014. Darren McDonald, dressed in a white t-shirt, attends Tooradin, carrying a hessian sack. A tiny, pink piglet is lifted out, tied down, its little legs kicking.As the mechanical lure starts up, McDonald and handler Chris Connelly appear, two greyhounds straining on leads. As they near the camera, muzzles can be made out on each dog.After two laps, the muzzles are removed. The piglet can be heard squealing as it’s mauled to death off-camera. Seventy-two hours later, Darren McDonald and his star dogs are at the annual Greyhound Melbourne Cup, the richest night on the racing calendar.)

Trainer of the Year – Darren McDonald...What he should be saying

Trainer of the Year – Darren McDonald…What he should be saying

Live possums, rabbits, piglets  and other small animals are being used as live lures in training and secret trials. Some of the biggest names in greyhound racing will be shamed tonight on Four Corners. What the governing bodies could not do within their multi billion dollar industry, an animal welfare group could. On a shoestring budget they were able to discover in a few weeks. The dirty secret the hold industry knows about and ignores.Pathetic, sad, and will disgust most Aussies.

It makes a joke of this page they boast

http://www.greyhoundracingthefacts.com/


NSW and Victorian industry awards nights set down for Friday have been postponed, as has an awards night in Queensland.

GRV has resolved to suspend any greyhound trained and/or owned by the 10 persons suspended by the board, on Friday, February 13, in relation to live baiting. The dogs will reportedly not be able to race until investigations into the allegations are completed.

GRV MOVES TO SUSPEND GREYHOUNDS

17/02/2015

On the advice of the Racing Integrity Commissioner, the board of Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) has resolved to suspend any greyhound trained and/or owned by the ten persons suspended by the board, on Friday 13 February, in relation to live baiting. This suspension will continue until the Racing Integrity Commissioner and GRV have concluded their investigations into these serious allegations.

update 17/02/15

Live baiting claims a shock: racing chief Really, 5 years in the job and your shocked, you should be bloody sacked. It is common knowledge if the industry and EVERYONE turned a blind eye for decades

VICTORIA’S racing integrity commissioner believes the illegal practice of live baiting is isolated in the greyhound industry.

SAL Perna says the allegations of live baiting aired in an ABC report were a shock and he was only aware of one instance, which was disproved, in his five years in the job.

MrPerna says the extent of the practice isn’t known. “My guess is that it is isolated but I really don’t know yet,” he told reporters on Tuesday. He says he will investigate the extent of the problem.


The State Government has promised to crack down on the industry, with Racing Minister Martin Pakula labelling the live baiting practice “barbaric, abhorrent and illegal”.

RSPCA chief Dr Liz Walker said she was “stunned” Greyhound Racing Victoria’s stewards did not discover the practice, which was instead exposed by a small team of Animals Australia activists.

More than 70 greyhound trainers have been implicated in the scandal, with at least 20 people suspended from the industry across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

The ABC’s Four Corners program last night aired videos showing small animals squealing as they were flung around training tracks as bait.

The footage showed dogs released to chase a possum as it was flung around a racing track 26 times at high speed until it was left hanging by its spinal cord.

One well-known interstate trainer was recorded excitedly telling others to smash a baby possum’s head in.

Other injured animals were stuffed into small boxes.

Among those implicated has been two-time Australian Greyhound Trainer of the Year Darren McDonald, who was allegedly caught on camera carrying a piglet inside a sack into the Tooradin property where dogs then mauled the animal.

Also shamed was successful Victorian trainer Stuart Mills, the brother of Andrew Mills, who was a former deputy chief steward for Greyhound Racing Victoria and now the regulator’s chief racing grader.

Another former Greyhound Racing Victoria steward, Paul Aderton, who policed the industry in his former role, has also allegedly been caught training his dogs with live bait.

Mr Pakula promised to stamp out the cruel and illegal ­training technique.

On Monday night he announced he would be cancelling Greyhound Racing Victoria’s Industry Award Night, which was due to take place this Friday.


This is from a jurno at http://www.australianracinggreyhound.com overnight

ABC live-baiting investigation draws blood

Written By 9 hours ago

Queensland wrap-up:

  • Prominent greyhound breeder and trainer and president of the United Queensland Greyhound Association Deborah Arnold allowed her 70 greyhound puppies and racing dogs at her property ‘Dessa Downes’ in Churchable to be filmed by Four Corners. “The kennels have to be RSPCA QLD-approved,” said Arnold. “It definitely meets the requirements.” When questioned on the practice of live-baiting, Arnold denied any knowledge of it: “If they do I don’t know about it, and I don’t really want to know about it.”
  • Undercover footage from Animal Liberation Queensland and Animals Australia earlier filmed a training track in Churchable, Queensland, across the road from Arnold’s property. On film, it captures Arnold and her dog Dorak Des chasing a live pig on the lure while Arnold asks “what’s the quickest been today” before being informed her dog is.Arnold is later asked by Four Corners what mantra is at the forefront of greyhound racing in 2015, to which she states, “animal welfare.”
  • Professor of animal behaviour and animal welfare science Paul McGreavy offered his comments on the matter of live-baiting coming from a decade of research into the breed, insisting there are breeds far more dangerous and that greyhounds are simply “chasing to catch, not to kill”. He emphasises the dogs “love racing, they love moving around that speed – they’ll be getting off on this,” and that they “are so sedentary when they’re not exposed to this stimuli.”
  • Animal Liberation Queensland investigator Hailey Cotton reveals the first tip-off regarding live-baiting in Churchable was passed to her: “Their words to me were ‘something really bad is going on there,’ and they said ‘it smells like death’”.
  • Undercover cameras were placed in the property of prominent Queensland trainer Tom Noble, a celebrated, award-winning greyhound trainer with almost 50 years in the game. His break-in centre is the epicenter of greyhound training in Queensland, and the live baiting footage of Deborah Arnold’s dog occurred on his track.
  • More than 40 owners, trainers and handlers are recorded on camera while live baiting occurs on Tom Noble’s property. “These people are leading trainers, they’re training their dogs with these methods,” said Cotton. “They’re then going on to win races using these methods, so the whole integrity of greyhound racing is really brought into question here.”
  • Footage confirms four times a week, piglets and later possums are flung around Noble’s track 26 times at high speed. The piglet is shown squealing with a man on the camera swearing at it, and one or two dogs are let loose to chase, grab and maul the possum while it’s still alive. Some 56 minutes later, the lure stops and the possum is snapped in half, the corpse still attached by its spinal cord, with the men in the footage making light of the situation.
  • Discussion of dumping dead dogs is captured on film, leading the investigation to ask NSW greyhound trainer John Thompson about the issue. Animal Liberation Australia links him as the man in the footage telling others to smash a baby possum’s head in so the live baiting of its mother can begin. “They ripped the baby from the mother, they tied the mother on the lure, and they then stick the baby’s head in the sand to kill it while its mother is watching on, all the time laughing and joking on how amusing it is,” said Hailey Cotton.

Victoria wrap-up:

  • In mid-November 2014, Lyn White of Animals Australia simultaneously led an investigation at the Tooradin Trial Track in Victoria after a tip-off. Considered to be in the heart of greyhound racing territory in the state, the track is run by owner operator Stuart Mills, whose brother is Andrew Mills, former deputy chief steward for Greyhound Racing Victoria and now the regulator’s chief racing grader for the entire state.
  • Lyn White reveals 17 people were captured live baiting the first time undercover footage was recorded. The first trainer identified is former steward of Greyhound Racing Victoria Paul Anderton, who arrives as Stuart Mills attaches a lure on a wooden plank with leather straps, before returning with a live rabbit and stretching it out tightly as he buckles it down flat. The rabbit is shown returning five minutes later, mauled but still alive and twitching in agony. “It tells me this is a practice that has been going for an acceptable level to trainers for years and years,” White said.
  • Anderton’s dogs went on to win three races days after being captured on the footage in Tooradin. President of Cranbourne Racing Club Neville King is also filmed on camera live baiting two days before Christmas at Tooradin.
  • Trainer Dennis Dean and a young girl watch as live rabbits are leashed and thrown to the dogs to kill. CEO of Greyhound Australasia Scott Parker was questioned on his thoughts of live-baiting behaviour during the revelations of the footage and the discovery of children being brought to watch while it occurs: “I think that’s ridiculous and abhorrent. I don’t support that at all. I’m not aware of it, and never heard of it, live baiting is illegal as well as being wrong and against the rules of greyhound racing.”
  • Footage of dogs on the Tooradin track is shown, encouraged to savagely kill several rabbits, which are skinned or tied as they maul them.
  • Former steward at Greyhound Racing Victoria Amanda Hill says there was a problem inside GRV regarding regulators failing to pick up and follow on rumours of live-baiting in the state: “Lack of resources, lack of funds, lack of knowledge, or plainly, they don’t want to accept that it’s a possibility.” She believes some trainers are “doing it to try and get an edge. It’s probably harder to get caught live baiting than what it is to using performance-enhancing drugs.”
  • Hill left GRV in 2004 and became the Chair of Stewards in Greyhound Racing Tasmania, where she was able to do better in stopping live baiting. In 2008, Hill caught a female trainer red-handed live baiting a possum. Possum carcasses were found all over the track, and it remains one of two cases in the past decade where a steward has followed through and successfully convicted a live baiter.
  • Hill identifies two-time Australian greyhound trainer of the year Darren McDonald as one of the figures caught on film three days before the 2014 Melbourne Cup, engaging in live baiting at Tooradin alongside handler Chris Connelly. He is shown on camera carrying a sack with a tiny pink piglet before placing it on the lure. The two men remove the muzzles on their dogs after two laps and the dogs maul the piglet, heard squealing as it dies off-camera. McDonald has since transferred all of his greyhounds to his wife’s name.

New South Wales wrap-up:

  • McDonald’s top sprinter Keybow is revealed by Four Corners to have been broken in across the border in NSW at Londonderry by Zeke Kadir.
  • Four Corners received a tip-off within the industry that Kadir was rumoured to be the best live baiter within the state, and that it occurred at his property as part of his training purposes. “He mentioned that he broke (in) Keybow, and he talked about how he gets live rabbits from a person he knows, and he gets about 30 a week,” a private investigator for Four Corners confirms.
  • Footage shows Zeke Kadir using the rabbits tied to a hand-pushed lure, controlled by Kadir. They’re dragged along the ground at speed pursued by dogs in training. On January 12, 2015, the footage captures Ian Morgan arriving at the venue for a private session, where a native possum is strung to the lure struggling to escape as two muzzled greyhounds attempt to bite the possum. Four minutes later, the muzzles come off and the cry is captured off-screen of the possum’s demise. “I am fearful at how widespread this is, and the consequences for literally thousands of animals each year,” said Lyn White.
  • Morgan is later seen removing the dead possum from his greyhound, Cee Cee Quoted. Four days later, Four Corners catches him leaving his Western Sydney home bound for an afternoon race meet in Newcastle, where Cee Cee Quoted places third. John Cauchi, of Box Hill, was also caught practising live baiting by hand.

Aftermath:

  • Four Corners notes requests for interviews with the regulators in all three states caught live-baiting were declined, deferring comment to CEO of Greyhounds Australasia Scott Parker. “I don’t suspect this is a systemic problem at all,” Parker said. “It’s illegal, abhorrent, and totally rejected by the industry.”
  • When asked about how three tracks have been confirmed to have had live baiting occurring on site that have not been detected by regulators, Parker surmises “our controlling bodies do a great job, but it’s a big industry and a lot of these facilities are a long, long way away from Sydney and Melbourne and Brisbane – and that’s why compliance officers are employed to get out there.”
  • In Queensland, RSPCA caught the live-baiters at Tom Noble’s establishment during their follow-up raids and saved a live piglet tied in a sack moments away from being bound and baited. Tom Noble was on-site, as well as his staff James Draws and Tony McCabe. They denied any wrong-doing despite being caught on film. RSPCA eventually found a second piglet hidden inside a shed on the property, wounded from a previous live-baiting session.
  • At Tooradin, Stuart Mills was watched closely, but no animals were caught on-site. Four Corners visited him the next day of the raids, and he’s clearly shaken as he maintains his denials about live-baiting.
  • Zeke Kadir’s property was visited, but he refused to answer Four Corners’ reporters on live baiting.
  • Four Corners’ investigations are now a criminal matter, with state charges imminent.

Post program:

  • In Victoria, GRV chair Peter Caillard has welcomed a $6 million government investment for investigative resources for GRV to help detect and prevent practises such as live-baiting from occurring in the future. In addition, GRV have also announced that dead animals will no longer be allowed to assist in the training of greyhounds. “The use of live animals is already outlawed. GRV will also outlaw the use of dead animals in greyhound training whether on private premises or registered training premises,” Mr Caillard said in a press release. Caillard has also agreed to cancel the Greyhound Industry Awards night, which was to be held this Friday night, after instruction from MP Martin Pakula. The Darren McDonald-trained Sweet It Is was the frontrunner to take out the highest honour, 2014 Victorian Greyhound of the Year.
  • In New South Wales, GRNSW have announced that a taskforce has been established to investigate the extent of the live-baiting practices in the state. The taskforce will be led by former High Court justice and eminent legal practitioner, the Hon. Michael McHugh AC, QC. The taskforce will look into the training methods used in NSW and will arrange for trial tracks and training facilities to be monitored. It is also set to examine whether GRNSW and relevant agencies such as the RSPCA NSW have the necessary powers to correctly investigate animal cruelty allegations. “We need to stamp out live baiting once and for all. Not only is it illegal but it is sickening and we are disgusted with what we have witnessed on air,” GRNSW CEO Brent Hogan said in a press release. “GRNSW welcomes Michael McHugh’s acceptance to head this taskforce and is committed to working closely with him and the taskforce as quickly as we can. The taskforce will help ensure that live baiting and other acts of animal cruelty identified in NSW are eradicated as quickly as possible.”

This sort of thing is what the sport keeps hidden away, But it gets worse

This sort of thing is what the sport keeps hidden away, But it gets worse

A must watch tonight on the ABC on Four Corners 8.30pm

Greyhound racing: Live baiting revelations on Four Corners to be ‘extremely damaging’ to greyhound racing industry

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-02-16/evidence-of-live-baiting-in-greyhound-racing/6121688

Mon 16 Feb 2015, 9:47am

Australia’s greyhound racing industry is in turmoil ahead of an explosive Four Corners report, set to air tonight, that reveals conclusive evidence of live baiting.

Live baiting is the practice of using small live animals in secret greyhound training sessions.

It has been banned and criminalised for decades, but trainers and owners across the country have been using the illegal training method in the belief that it will improve a dog’s performance.

Live baiting carries substantial financial penalties and sentences of up to five years’ imprisonment. The evidence that will be broadcast tonight on the ABC could have a massive impact on the industry.

The RSPCA, in conjunction with police in NSW, Victoria and Queensland raided five properties on Wednesday last week after the Four Corners program, in conjunction with Animals Australia and Animal Liberation Queensland, confidentially handed over the results of its investigation into the sport to the state-based RSPCAs more than a fortnight ago.

Tonight in its exclusive report, Four Corners will reveal how trainers and owners across the country, working in concert with licensed trial track operators, are training their dogs using banned methods and engaging in illegal activity.

Make no mistake. This story will be explosive, emotive and extremely damaging to the future of this sport in Australia.

Greyhound Racing Victoria CEO Adam Wallish

This behaviour constitutes cheating under the laws of greyhound racing.

Tracking dogs and their trainers from private training facilities and on to official race meets and using undercover investigators to infiltrate the industry, the program has discovered the integrity of potentially thousands of races and millions of dollars in prize money is now in question.

Aware that the Four Corners program was set to air, Greyhound Racing NSW, Greyhound Racing Victoria, and Racing Queensland, the sport’s statutory regulators, moved to suspend more than 20 trainers, owners and trial track operators late last week.

In another attempt to pre-empt the program, on Sunday, Racing Queensland announced a $1 million taskforce to combat live baiting and other allegations of cruelty.

But the regulators’ attempts to act raise further serious questions about their ability to fulfil obligations and adequately police the sport in addition to carrying out their dual role as the sport’s promoter. Australians are now wagering a staggering $4 billion on the sport annually.

It is also revealed the illegal activities have remained undetected by the regulators, and makes it clear self-regulation has been a failure. At the same time, the evidence could prompt governments to reconsider their support and endorsement of the sport.

‘This story will be explosive’

In an internal memo written by Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) and obtained by Four Corners over the weekend, GRV’s chief executive officer Adam Wallish encouraged trainers and owners to start strategising and preparing to react publicly after the Four Corners program airs tonight.

“Make no mistake. This story will be explosive, emotive and extremely damaging to the future of this sport in Australia,” Mr Wallish wrote.

“As a group of people that love the greyhound breed we should all be shocked and outraged by the allegations in the story and prepared to fight the small minority that continue to partake in such practices jeopardising the future of the sport and indeed the future of the breed itself.”

Mr Wallish also urged the greyhound racing community to focus their anger on the wrongdoers in their sport, rather than the messenger.

“You will be emotional, you might be angry. Don’t be angry at those that attack us, regardless of their position. Be angry at those within the sport that are doing the wrong thing and undermining the values for which we stand,” he wrote.

“This time is a testing one for all of us in the industry and we need to stay resolute in our desire to exceed social standards and public expectations.

“The future of the sport and the wonderful greyhound breed necessitates it.”

Greyhound Racing Victoria has also set up a counselling telephone hotline to support those affected emotionally by the allegations. The hotline is contactable on (03) 8329 1100 and will be available from 7:30am on Tuesday morning.

The program, Making a Killing, will broadcast tonight on ABC1 at 8:30pm. Anyone with further information can contact Four Corners


Tooradin track closed after claims greyhound trainers used live bait

GREYHOUND Racing Victoria has suspended 10 people and closed the Tooradin Trial Track for alleged live baiting.

The news comes in the wake of revelations a Geelong-trained greyhound tested positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine (known as ice) after a race in Warragul on January 17.

GRV has confirmed the RSPCA is investigating the Tooradin track and Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna is involved.

GRV chief executive Adam Wallish said live baiting, where a dog is given a live animal to hunt down in the lead up to a race, was a criminal and abhorrent practice.

“The use of live bait in the training of greyhounds is disgusting and has no place in our sport.

Any person engaged in live baiting can expect to be disqualified and prosecuted. We have zero tolerance for these individuals,” Mr Wallish said.

“In accordance with GRV’s Animal Welfare Penalty Guidelines those responsible face a 10 year ban from the sport.”

Live baiting was a criminal offence punishable under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and attracted a jail term of up to two years and a fine of more than $30,000, he said.

“GRV takes matters of animal cruelty extremely seriously. Allegations of live-baiting are extremely disappointing and GRV supports the RSPCA and Victoria Police’s efforts to investigate any wrong-doing within the sport of greyhound racing,” Mr Wallish said.

A spokesperson for RSPCA Victoria confirmed it had executed warrants and conducted an inspection at a greyhound training facility in south-east Victoria.

The inspection had resulted in the launch of an investigation into greyhound training practices, she said.

Lara trainer Jenny Hunt said she was “gutted” and “bewildered” her dog Jubilea Bale tested positive to drugs, and planned to travel to Warragul to have “a look around”.

“I’ve asked all my employees and they all said they have nothing to do with it (ice),” Hunt said.

Greyhound Racing New South Wales also suspended five people and closed Sydney’s Box Hill Trial Track this week for alleged live baiting.

The RSPCA said anyone who had information about cruel or illegal practices in the greyhound industry should report it immediately by calling 9224 2222.


Live animals allegedly used as bait in greyhound racing

February 15, 2015

Natalie O’Brien

Greyhound racing is in the spotlight amid allegations of live baiting.Greyhound racing is in the spotlight amid allegations of live baiting. Photo: Max Mason-Hubers

More than 20 greyhound racing dog owners and trainers across NSW, Victoria and Queensland have been suspended after a series of raids which allegedly discovered the illegal use of live animals being used to bait and lure dogs.

The shock revelations come just a year after the industry regulator NSW Greyhound Racing told a parliamentary inquiry it had no evidence that such alleged crimes were occurring in the $144 million a year industry.

The inquiry’s deputy chairman and Greens MP John Kaye at the time claimed Greyhound Racing NSW had “dodged a bullet” and issues like animal welfare and the allegations of live bait had been put in the “too-hard basket”.

Late on Thursday, Greyhound Racing NSW announced it had stood down five industry participants and one licensed trainer for alleged live baiting offences and closed down the Box Hill trial track. Victorian greyhound racing authorities also announced it had suspended 10 people for allegedly using live baits at a track in Tooradin, south-west of Melbourne.

In Queensland seven trainers have been suspended after they were allegedly about to use live pigs as bait for their dog training. Racing Queensland’s General Manager of Stewarding and Integrity Operations Wade Birch said the trainers had been stood down and their greyhounds scratched from all competition pending an investigation.

“This decision was based on further information received by Racing Queensland, the substance of which required immediate action by stewards,” said Mr Birch.

The RSPCA has been involved in raids but officials refused requests for any information. A statement released by a media spokeswoman said they “had received a number of complaints regarding animal cruelty and greyhounds, these are currently under investigation”.

Fairfax Media reported in 2013 that the illegal practice of allowing animals to be killed by greyhounds as part of their racing training was still occurring in NSW.

Problems have beset the industry over decades. As far back as 1972, newspaper reports revealed that a leading greyhound trainer and industry figure were fined and narrowly escaped jail for using a possum and a rabbit for live baiting at a track in Kellyville. The magistrate at the time said their previous good behaviour had saved them from a custodial sentence.

In 2013 there were shocking revelations at the parliamentary inquiry about the barbaric act of live baiting including details about the use of guinea pigs, rabbits, chickens, kittens and possums which have had their claws and teeth removed so they can’t hurt the dogs being mauled to death in training sessions.

“I have been told ‘anything that squeals will do’,” an industry stakeholder, whose identity has been suppressed, said in a written submission to the parliamentary inquiry.

TV vet Dr Robert Zammit had also backed up the claims in his evidence to the inquiry and RSPCA NSW chief inspector David O’Shannessy said they had also received anonymous complaints but so far they had been unable to substantiate the claims. He encouraged people to come forward with information.

Dr Kaye said on Saturday that slowly public pressure is forcing Greyhound Racing NSW to admit what most people have known for decades.

“It’s clear that live baiting still occurs and that the dogs are brutalised, and rabbits, cats and possums are being ripped apart while they are still live,” said Dr Kaye.

“Greyhound Racing NSW dismissed allegations before a NSW Upper House Committee of live baiting, claiming they lacked evidence. Suddenly, they act against five participants suspected of live baiting and one trainer with live European rabbits on his premises.

“The regulatory body had been told of possums that had their teeth and claws ripped out and that then died in terror and agony, yet they failed to act until they faced the threat of media exposure,” he said.

ABC’s Four Corners program will screen a program on Monday night about greyhound racing.

Dr Kaye said the failure to crack down on live baiting by the regulatory authority for the past six years, is another reason for stripping the industry body of its animal welfare and regulatory functions.


 RESPONSES TO FOUR CORNERS

Racing Queensland’s response to Four Corners | 13 February 2015

Greyhound Racing Victoria’s response to Four Corners | 12 February 2015

Greyhound Racing NSW’s response to Four Corners

MORE INFORMATION

Participants Stood Down With Immediate Effect | Greyhound Racing, NSW | 12 February, 2015

Letter from Adam Wallish to Clarify Issues on the Animal Welfare – Penalty Guidelines | Greyhound Racing Victoria

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 | Victorian Government

Is the use of live baits and lures in greyhound racing and other dog racing illegal? | RSPCA

Own motion investigation into Greyhound Racing Victoria | Victorian Ombudsman

Legislative Council Select Committee on Greyhound Racing in New South Wales

Animal Welfare Guidelines | Greyhound Racing Victoria | 2014

Investigation into the ACT racing industry | Independent Competition and Regulatory Commission | 2011

Report on Own Motion Inquiry into Betting Activities of Racing Officials Employed by the Victorian Racing Industry | Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner | June 2012

Implementing the recommendations arising from the Review of Integrity Assurance in the Victorian Racing Industry

Animal welfare act review report and recommendations | Tasmanian Department of Primary Industries | 2013

Queensland Animal Care and Protection Act 2001

Victorian Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986

Greyhound Racing Information | Animals Australia

MEDIA

Fallout spreads as industry braces for Four Corners probe | Australian Racing Greyhound | 16 February, 2015

Stewards query Kay; some finish-on-lure trials put on hold | Australian Racing Greyhound | 16 February, 2015

Greyhound racing: Live baiting revelations on Four Corners to be ‘extremely damaging’ to industry | ABC News | 16 February, 2015

Live animals allegedly used as bait in greyhound racing | Sydney Morning Herald | 15 February, 2015

Queensland sets up taskforce as greyhound racing hit with cruelty claims | Courier Mail | 15 February, 2015

Tooradin track closed after claims greyhound trainers used live bait | Geelong Advertiser | 15 February, 2015

Victorian greyhound racing authorities suspend 10 people for allegedly using live rabbits as lures | ABC News | 14 February, 2015

Queensland legend Reg Kay denies involvement in live-baiting raid | Australian Racing Greyhound | 14 February, 2015

Greyhound owners, trainers suspended | Sydney Morning Herald | 14 February, 2015

Greyhound racing industry hounded by claims of abuse | Illawarra Mercury | 1 August, 2014

Greyhound racing industry ‘dodged a bullet’ | Sydney Morning Herald | 30 March, 2014

Greyhound inquiry by NSW Parliament: committee member and Greens MP John Kaye critical of welfare inaction | ABC News | 28 March, 2014

Logan to get new greyhound racing track, at expense of Gold Coast | Brisbane Times | 16 March, 2014

NSW greyhounds boss rejects claims of cronyism, bullying | Sydney Morning Herald | 9 February, 2014

Vets claim live animals used as bait to train greyhounds | Sydney Morning Herald | 24 November, 2013

Greyhound racing industry denies claims of widespread animal doping | ABC News | 16 October, 2013

Greyhound racing industry hit with doping, cruelty, collusion allegations | 7.30 | 16 October, 2013

The unbearable lightness of being a greyhound | The Conversation | 2 December, 2012

The quick and the dead | Background Briefing | 11 November, 2012

Allegations of doping in greyhound racing industry | 9 November 2012

Hounded to death | Sydney Morning Herald | 25 October, 2004

Indonesia gives approval for Aussies, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran’s transfer from prison to be executed


Updated about an hour agoFri 13 Feb 2015, 10:38am

Indonesian authorities have approved the transfer of two convicted Australian drug smugglers from their Bali prison, in preparation for execution.

The head of the Bali prosecutor’s office, Momock Bambang Samirso, confirmed he received permission from the Justice and Human Rights Ministry on Wednesday night to transfer Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran out of Kerobokan prison, so they can be taken away for execution.

There will be a meeting today to discuss the final logistics and then coordinate with other prisons to have the men relocated.

Mr Momock said the execution would be done as soon as possible.

“The permit to transfer the prisoners has been received. We are going to transfer [them] and conduct execution as soon as possible,” Mr Momock said.

“We’re not delaying execution … the attorney-general’s office asked to do it as soon as possible.”

He has said the families of the two men would be notified before the transfer goes ahead, giving them the opportunity to visit for the last time.

“We will inform the families and inmates a few days before the transfer,” Mr Momock said.

The ABC understands officials have already been speaking to airport authorities and the national carrier Garuda Indonesia, which has apparently agreed to be involved in flying the two men to where the executions will take place.

The pair is likely to be flown to Yogyakarta and then driven about five hours to Cilacap in Central Java province near Nusakambangan Island, home to a high-security prison.

Indonesian attorney-general Muhammad Prasetyo will make the official announcement that the executions are to go ahead three days beforehand.

The two men, the ringleaders of the so-called Bali Nine group of heroin smugglers, have been denied presidential pardons and are due to face a firing squad this month.

Indonesian president Joko Widodo, who has a policy of denying clemency for all drug offenders, said he had rejected 64 bids for clemency and was not forgiving any drug criminal.

But lawyers for Chan and Sukumaran are still attempting to appeal the president’s decision to refuse them clemency without considering their cases.

An appeal was filed in the State Administrative Court in East Jakarta on Wednesday in the hope of forcing Mr Widodo to reconsider the cases individually.

Julie Bishop and Tanya Plibersek call for stay of execution

In a show of unity, Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop moved a motion in Parliament, seconded by Opposition counterpart Tanya Plibersek, calling for a stay of execution for the two men.

Ms Bishop said the Government would continue to make representations in an effort to save the pair’s lives.

“Over 55 personal representations at Ministerial and Prime Ministerial level have been made,” she said.

“High-profile Australian officials and members of the business community have made discreet overtures to their influential Indonesian contacts.

“Our officials in Jakarta have made – and are continuing to make – respectful, tireless and targeted diplomatic representations at the highest levels.”

However, Indonesia’s foreign minister Retno Marsudi said she had explained the Indonesian government’s stance on executing drug smugglers to Ms Bishop.

“I told Julie that this is not against a country, this is not against a national of a certain country but this is against crime, it’s against an extraordinary crime,” she said.

Last month Indonesia executed six people, including five foreigners, for drug offences.

Melissa Parke renews her plea for pair to be spared

Federal Labor MP Melissa Parke has also renewed her plea for Chan and Sukumaran to be spared from execution.

“These young men are rehabilitated and reformed, they’re helping others every day, they could be a vital part of Indonesia’s campaign to educate young people about the dangers of drugs,” she said.

“We honour the wonderful human beings that they have become and we’re very hopeful about the things that they can still do in their lives and we send them our love, our hope and our courage.”

The former United Nations lawyer said the pair’s good behaviour should provide a legal basis for a stay of execution.

“Indonesia’s own constitutional court has not only concluded – based on a huge amount of evidence – that the death penalty is not a deterrent, but it has also recommended that the death penalty should be able to be amended where a prisoner demonstrates good behaviour for 10 years,” she said.

Ms Parke also criticised the Australian Federal Police for alerting Indonesian officials to the Bali Nine in the first place.

“That was a terrible mistake, AFP guidelines have been amended now and I think that we would all hope that that would never happen again,” she said.

Ms Parke has written a letter signed by 111 federal MPs to the Indonesian Government asking for men’s death sentences to be lifted.

Chief Government whip Philip Ruddock, Chief Opposition whip Chris Hayes, and Greens leader Senator Christine Milne were among the co-signatories.

Artist and wife of embassy official Jane Hardy, Vytas Kapociunas allegedly molested child


After months and months of diplomatic bullshit at our expense, this sick pervert is going down.A sleazy “Artist” again, happened to be married to an Aussie diplomat. So what happens, Harm minimisation of course to the image…Fuck that…read on

Husband of Australian diplomat to stand trial on child sex offences

January 15, 2015 – 11:30AM

Courts reporter for The Canberra Times.

Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy.Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy. Photo: Facebook

The husband of a top Australian diplomat accused of molesting a child while overseas has been committed to stand trial.

Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 71, maintained pleas of not guilty to three charges of sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia when he appeared in the ACT Magistrates Court on Thursday.

The offences are alleged to have occurred overseas, but are before the ACT courts as the charges fall under Commonwealth law.

Chief Magistrate Lorraine Walker on Thursday committed him to stand trial in the ACT Supreme Court.

Kapociunas was arrested at Canberra Airport in September last year.

Court documents said the allegation surfaced after the girl told her mother that the artist kept kissing her.

When questioned further, the girl allegedly said he “kisses me on the lips, and here,” pointing at her groin.

The mother reported the conversation to the Australian Federal Police.

Kapociunas, in a police interview, allegedly acknowledged he had had physical contact with the girl that included kissing in greeting and farewelling, piggy-back rides, and blowing raspberries on her belly button.

But he denied abusing the girl.

He was originally charged with one count of child sex and first appeared in court in October.

Two additional charges were laid in December.

The painter and sculptor is married to top Australian diplomat, Jane Hardy, who, in November, ceased her role as Australia’s ambassador to Spain and returned home almost two years into a three-year appointment.

Ms Hardy’s identity and diplomatic position were previously subject to a court suppression order, but that has now been lifted.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have emphasised that “no allegations of inappropriate or illegal behaviour” have been made against Ms Hardy.

Lithuanian-born Kapociunas studied art in South Australian and lived Spain, France and Britain before he wed Ms Hardy in 1982.

He has since accompanied her on diplomatic postings to Malaysia, South Korean, the United States, and Spain .

He work has been exhibited at the Australian embassy in Washington.

On Thursday, Ms Walker continued the defendants bail, but added the condition that he notify the court if he changes address.

The case will appear in the Supreme Court for directions next month.


 

Australian diplomat returned from posting after husband charged over child-sex allegations

January 14, 2015 – 4:31PM

Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy.Vytas Bronius Kapociunas with his wife and former ambassador to Spain Jane Hardy. Photo: Facebook

One of Australia’s top diplomats has returned early from an overseas posting after her spouse was arrested and charged with child sex offences. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed that Jane Hardy ceased duty as Australia’s ambassador to Spain on November 3, 2014, less than two years into what would normally be a three-year appointment.

A DFAT spokesperson declined to answer Fairfax Media questions about the precise circumstances leading to the ambassador’s return to Australia, only saying Ms Hardy “returned by mutual agreement with the department.”

Charged: Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 71, is accused of child sex offences.

Charged: Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 71, is accused of child sex offences.

However it is a matter of public record that the Australian Federal Police arrested Ms Hardy’s husband, artist Vytas Kapociunas, on September 20, 2014, in relation to an allegation of sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia. 

Mr Kapociunas, now aged 71, appeared before the ACT Magistrates Court in Canberra on October 3 in relation to one charge of sexual intercourse with a child outside of Australia. Two additional charges of sexual intercourse with a child outside of Australia were laid against Mr Kapociunas in December. He has pleaded not guilty to all three charges. 

The sculptor and painter first came to police attention after the girl told her mother that she had a secret to tell her.

“I need to tell you a secret,” the child said, according to court documents. “I think Vytas really likes me, because he keeps kissing me.”

The AFP say the mother questioned her daughter further, and the girl allegedly said: “He kisses me on the lips, and here,” pointing to her groin.

The mother contacted the AFP who opened an investigation and interviewed the girl.

Mr Kapociunas was informed of the allegations on September 17 and was met by AFP officers at Canberra Airport three days later.  He agreed to an interview in which, according to police, he acknowledged he had met the girl three times and had physical contact with her including kissing.  However he denied he had committed any child sex offences, saying he was “unsure” why the girl would say such things. He was then arrested. 

Born in Lithuania in 1943, Mr Kapociunas studied at the South Australian School of Art and spent his early post-graduate years in Spain, France and Britain . He married Ms Hardy in 1982 and accompanied her on diplomatic postings to Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Washington DC and most recently Madrid.  In 2008 his sculpture Passage through Fire was exhibited at the Australian embassy in Washington.

Ms Hardy’s identity and position were subject to a temporary court suppression order, now no longer in force. not anymore

DFAT has emphasised that “no allegations of inappropriate or illegal behaviour” have been made against Ms Hardy who assumed duty as ambassador to Spain in January 2013.

“Ms Hardy performed creditably in her role in Spain and, following her return, has taken up a suitably senior position in Canberra,” a departmental spokesperson said.

DFAT’s organisation chart shows Ms Hardy is now in charge of the department’s arms control and counter-proliferation branch.

Her executive assistant told Fairfax Media she is not currently in Canberra and cannot be contacted.

A new ambassador to Spain has not yet been appointed.

Mr Kapociunas’s solicitor, Chloe Preston, declined to comment. His case is listed for a further procedural hearing in the Magistrates Court on January 15.


 

Artist pleads not guilty to child sex offences allegedly linked to overseas Australian embassy

Date
December 4, 2014

Reporter for The Canberra Times.

An Australian artist has been accused of two more sexual offences against a child connected to an overseas Australian embassy.

Sculptor and painter Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 70, is facing the ACT Magistrates Court, accused of molesting a child overseas.

He was charged on Thursday with two additional offences of sexual intercourse with a minor outside of Australia, meaning he is now charged with three offences.

Kapociunas, represented by lawyer Chloe Preston, has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

He first came to police attention when his alleged victim told her mother she had a secret.

“I need to tell you a secret,” the girl allegedly said.

“I think Vytas really likes me, because he keeps kissing me.”

She also allegedly told her mother:

“He kisses me on the lips and here”, pointing to her groin.

Police went to meet Kapociunas at Canberra Airport earlier this year and he agreed to an interview, court documents suggest.

He told police he had no idea why the girl had been saying such things. Kapociunas denied her allegations.

He was arrested and initially charged with a single count of having sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia, which is a Commonwealth offence.

The artist allegedly told police he piggy-backed the girl, blew raspberries on her belly button, and that she kissed him on the lips when saying hello and goodbye.

The case was adjourned by Magistrate Robert Cook until January.


 

Artist Vytas Kapociunas allegedly molested child linked to overseas embassy

October 17, 2014

Christopher Knaus

An Australian artist has been accused of molesting a child connected to an overseas embassy.

Well-known sculptor and painter Vytas Bronius Kapociunas, 70, was arrested earlier this year after a young girl at an Australian embassy alleged he sexually assaulted her.

Kapociunas, who is fighting the allegation, first came to police attention after the girl told her mother that she had a secret to tell her.

“I need to tell you a secret,” the girl said, according to court documents. “I think Vytas really likes me, because he keeps kissing me.”

Police say the mother questioned her daughter further, and the girl said:

“He kisses me on the lips, and here”, pointing to her groin.

The offence is alleged to have occurred overseas, but is now being prosecuted in the ACT under Commonwealth law.

The mother called the Australian Federal Police, who began investigating, and went to meet Kapociunas at Canberra Airport last month.

He agreed to an interview and denied the allegations, claiming he had no idea why the girl would say such things.

Police arrested the artist, and he is currently before the ACT Magistrates Court on one charge of sexual intercourse with a child outside Australia, an offence under the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

He appeared before Magistrate Peter Morrison on Friday morning, and pleas of not guilty were entered on his behalf.

The artist told police during an interview that he had piggy-backed the victim and blown raspberries on her belly button, and that she kissed him on the lips when saying hello and goodbye.

But he denied to police that he had committed any child sex offences.

The court heard on Friday the brief of evidence against him was mostly prepared, and the case was adjourned until December. 

Kapociunas is an artist who has worked across Australia and the world, and studied and taught in South Australia.

He has also studied at the University of Canberra, according to his earlier news reports, and has written children’s books.


 

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