‘Clear And Compelling Evidence’: British Horseracing Authority Review Finds Unethical Acts In Bloodstock Industry

The British Horseracing Authority released an 83-page report detailing various unethical actions in the country’s bloodstock industry with plans to improve the industry’s integrity, and members of that country’s industry have pledged to reverse that momentum, Racing Post reports.

The full release of the report concludes a two-year long, wide-sweeping investigation of England’s bloodstock industry, which had parts leaked to the Racing Post in August. Over 70 people were anonymously interviewed over the course of the investigation.

Justin Felice, a former police officer who led the report, noted that the “vast majority” of the bloodstock industry’s participants conducted themselves within the social and governing laws in place, but the industry at large has been affected by those who act unscrupulously.

“We have found clear and compelling evidence of widespread instances of breaches of agency and fiduciary duties . . . which in certain circumstances also constitute potential criminal offences, including under one or more of the Bribery Act 2010, the Fraud Act 2006 and the Criminal Law Act 1977. There are also concerns that certain alleged practices could constitute money laundering and/or tax fraud offences,” Felice wrote.

The report included eight recommendations for improving the market’s integrity, one of which is already in progress – the formation of the Bloodstock Industry Forum. The organization, which includes members from many different sectors in racing, held its first meeting in September with the goal of cleaning up the bloodstock realm.

Another notable recommendation from the report was the licensure by the BHA of bloodstock agents, and penalties for parties acting without a license including fines and exclusions.

Despite the investigators finding evidence of secret profiteering, agents representing both sides of a transaction without one side being aware of it, agents demanding “luck money” – a payment to an agent before or after a sale outside of the direct transaction – and the premeditated bidding-up of horses, the report found there had been no recorded complaints of improper actions. This, the report states, points to a flawed code of conduct. The code has been overhauled twice since 2004, and a third reboot is likely, to remove the perceived risk of repercussions from those who report issues.

Read more at Racing Post.

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