KIEREN FALLON, the former champion jockey, was suspended from racing last night after he was charged by police conducting Britain?s biggest race-fixing investigation.
Mr Fallon was one of 11 people charged yesterday, a day after winning the Irish Derby at the Curragh on Dylan Thomas.
He was later suspended from racing in Great Britain by the Horseracing Regulatory Authority ? formerly the Jockey Club ? until the end of his trial. Mr Fallon was charged with conspiracy to defraud customers of Betfair, the betting exchange. The charge was made by City of London police after investigations into an alleged plot from December 2002 to September 2004.
Detective Superintendent Tony Crampton, who led the inquiry, said the charges had been brought against individuals including Mr Fallon over allegations that they had agreed not to run horses ?on their merit?. Two other jockeys, Darren Williams, 27, from Leyburn, North Yorkshire, and Fergal Lynch, 28, of Boroughbridge, North Yorkshire, were also charged with conspiracy.
Miles Rodgers, 37, a former director of the Platinum racing syndicate, from Silkstone, South Yorkshire, was charged with conspiracy, and an offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
Alan Berry, 43, from Lancaster; Philip Sherkle, 39, from Tamworth, Staffordshire, Steven O?Sullivan, 35, of Preston, Lancashire, and Shaun Lynch, 36, of Minskip, North Yorkshire, were charged with conspiracy to defraud Betfair customers.
Brian Pilkington, 70, of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, Joanne Richardson, 27, from Silkstone, South Yorkshire, and Darren Armitage, 41, of Barnsley, South Yorkshire, were charged under the Proceeds of Crime Act. The regulation authority said a panel would hear representations from the jockeys on whether they should be allowed to continue to ride. Mr Berry?s hearing will take place today while Mr Fallon and the others must wait until Friday.
However, Mr Fallon will not face licence problems in Ireland. Denis Egan, chief executive of the Irish Turf Club, said: ?He will be able to continue to ride. The licensing committee will obviously note what has happened, but as far as we are concerned Kieren Fallon is innocent until proven guilty.?
Police described the investigation as the largest of its type yet undertaken. During the investigation more than 130 police officers raided 19 addresses in Suffolk, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and Hertfordshire. More than 30 people were arrested. Yesterday 17 people were told that they would not face charges.
In a statement the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that the charges had been brought after a detailed review of evidence by a lawyer from the CPS Special Crime Division. The CPS said the investigation had been protracted by the need to get evidence from a large number of sources.
Lawyers were given 40,000 pages of paper evidence. In February and last month Mr Fallon?s solicitors provided written representations to the CPS, which required the bail date to be extended to July.
Jonathan Caplan, QC, advised the CPS, and the case is likely to be heard at either Southwark Crown Court or the Central Criminal Court. The CPS said that the case was likely to be split into three linked trials, and that the first was unlikely to start before the spring.