Monday August 19 2013
– The nation’s top crime fighter says laws that prevent police sharing telephone intercept information with sporting bodies should be relaxed to expose corruption.
“While ultimately a matter for government…there is potential and opportunity to relax those sharing arrangements but within an appropriate governance framework,” Australian Crime Commission chief executive John Lawler said.
Mr Lawler’s comments were echoed by Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton, who told Fairfax Media in an exclusive interview that it was frustrating that police were not able “to share all the information we feel that we need to share with the sporting regulators”.
Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus has ruled out changing the laws despite two of his cabinet colleagues’ dire warnings in February about organised crime corrupting sport in the wake of a commission report on the use of potentially banned drugs by AFL and NRL clubs.
Sporting bodies, including the AFL and Racing Victoria, have expressed frustration at not having access to police information.
Stewards in Victoria and NSW cannot easily obtain police information implicating a small number of jockeys and other racing figures in corruption while anti-doping inquiries in football in both states cannot obtain crime commission information about corruption.
Mr Lawler said the commission’s executive director, Paul Jevtovic, said Australian horse racing and sports were attracting increasing interest from Asia’s gambling hot spots, including those recently linked by European police to widespread fixing of soccer matches.
Fairfax Media on Sunday reported that one of Australia’s biggest punters, flamboyant Sydney identity Stephen Fletcher, is the subject of a NSW Police Integrity Commission inquiry over his association with a small number of NSW police.
Central to the inquiry are accounts with British-owned gaming giant Betfair, which controversially allows bets on horses to lose, linked to Mr Fletcher and a small number of NSW detectives.
Mr Fletcher has denied improper betting or receiving inside information from jockeys or their associates.