Reports of crime gangs using racing to launder drug money

The Jockey Club's public relations officer John Maxse today suggested a report that organised crime gangs are using racing to launder money was a warning of the sport's vulnerability.

The Jockey Club's public relations officer John Maxse today suggested a report that organised crime gangs are using racing to launder money was a warning of the sport's vulnerability.

He stressed that the Jockey Club itself has already warned of the dangers for racing of criminal activity

The Sunday Times today claimed racing "has been infiltrated by organised crime gangs seeking to launder millions of pounds of drug money", with "one in 10 jockeys" being bribed with cash, prostitutes and drugs.

Maxse stressed that the alleged scale of the problem had been overplayed but he said: "It covers some of the concerns we have already expressed publicly.

"We said in our annual report and Christopher Spence, the senior steward, has said that the Jockey Club are concerned that some criminals are trying to influence the outcome of races.

"We are also aware of the amount of illegal betting on and off-course, which may be used to launder money."

In the past two years five jockeys have been arrested by the police in a race-fixing investigation, only to be released without charge.

And Maxse stressed: "The Jockey Club's power is quite limited - only those people who are licensed by us come under our jurisdiction - and we can only pass things on to the police.

"It is a shame for racing as people may read the piece and believe the generalisations that 'racing is corrupt' which it isn't.

"But it highlights that racing is vulnerable like any betting medium and maybe we need better protection from the law.

"Under current regulation betting is under-regulated compared to other parts of the gaming industry."

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