– One of Australia’s top professional punters, flamboyant Sydney identity Stephen Fletcher, is under investigation for using police to run secret gambling accounts and obtaining betting information suspected to have been leaked by Victorian and NSW jockeys or their associates.
Fairfax Media can reveal the NSW Police Integrity Commission is probing Mr Fletcher’s association with a small number of NSW detectives, including a homicide squad officer whose offices were recently raided by investigators. The PIC has also travelled to Victoria to conduct inquiries.
The police officer’s account with gambling agency Betfair has been seized by the PIC along with multiple betting accounts linked to Mr Fletcher, who bets on behalf of several wealthy, high-profile Australians.
The revelation of the inquiry by the PIC – which has the power to tap phones and hold public inquiries – will alarm several high-profile Sydney and Melbourne sporting, legal and business identities who associate with the multimillionaire Australian punter.
It will also cast a shadow again over the racing industry as it involves allegations of well-placed insiders trading in information not available to the general public. Fairfax Media has separately discovered that an associate of Mr Fletcher, Melbourne man Ben Joyner, has for several years spruiked his ability to obtain inside information from jockeys he associates with, and claimed that he had inside mail on horse More Joyous before the running of the now infamous All Aged Stakes.
The PIC inquiry is focusing on allegations that Mr Fletcher maintained an inappropriate relationship with members of the NSW police force which may have involved financial inducements. The NSW police force is responsible for investigating illegal betting and racing and sports corruption in that state. The PIC probe could also expose Mr Fletcher’s secretive betting operations and ties to prominent racing figures.
The PIC inquiry spans at least two states, with investigators having spoken to Victorian racing stewards along with other racing industry figures.
Mr Fletcher’s betting on the NRL, tennis, thoroughbred and greyhound racing has previously been investigated over allegations he received inside information or acted improperly, while NSW stewards have previously referred his activities to the police over suspicions Mr Fletcher has operated as the state’s biggest SP bookmaker.
The Betfair records seized by the PIC include an analysis of Mr Fletcher’s highly suspicious betting activity in relation to a top Melbourne jockey. The analysis suggests Mr Fletcher may have been getting inside information that the jockey could not win certain races.
Over six weeks in early 2012, Mr Fletcher risked more than $200,000 to win around $70,000 when he successfully bet that this jockey could not win in more than 12 races.
Several of the horses Mr Fletcher gambled on to lose were highly rated by bookmakers, including a second-favourite horse on which Mr Fletcher risked $45,000 by betting it could not win. Some of Mr Fletcher’s gambling patterns were mirrored in betting accounts held under the name of police officers.
Mr Fletcher has denied being leaked inside information or having any improper dealings in relation to the Melbourne jockey.
Fairfax Media can reveal that a business partner of the Melbourne jockey last year stated in text messages that he had leaked inside information to punters in Sydney about the jockey’s riding activities, an activity banned under the rules of racing and which may breach criminal laws.
The jockey’s business partner is minor racing identity and convicted criminal, Ben Joyner, who stated in text messages he sent an associate this year that he had leaked inside information from jockeys to Fletcher. One text message from Joyner stated that he had leaked information to “several guys” in Sydney turning over hundreds of thousands of dollars”.
Mr Joyner also boasted via text messages that he had been given inside information about the outcome of the now infamous All Aged Stakes – the race which led to a NSW stewards inquiry involving the Waterhouse racing family earlier this year – with Mr Joyner texting a Melbourne punter prior to the race that he had been told that trainer Gai Waterhouse’s horse More Joyous could not win the race.
Mr Fletcher and Mr Joyner have both confirmed they had business dealings in 2012 when Mr Joyner ran a Vanuatu betting agency, betJack, bit both have denied any wrongdoing.
Fairfax Media has decided not to name the Melbourne jockey – who in 2011 and 2012 had extensive business dealings with Mr Joyner – because there is no evidence the jockey knew of Mr Joyner’s activities.
Mr Fletcher is Australia’s most flamboyant sports betting figure, with contacts among top AFL, NRL and racing figures – former AFL star Brendan Fevola once owed Fletcher $20,000 – as well as friendships in the business and legal world, including with top NSW prosecutor, Margaret Cunneen.
In a 2011 case, Mr Fletcher successfully fought a move by Queensland stewards to ban him from racecourses and placing bets after they uncovered a series of bets that suggested jockey Bobby El-Issa was telling Mr Fletcher which of his horses couldn’t win.
Mr Fletcher became part of gambling folklore in 2005 when he and another punter legally manipulated the price of a greyhound called Lucy’s Light from $1.10 to $13 shortly before the race started. The pair walked away with $700,000 – Nick McKenzie & Richard Baker


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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