Footballer Michael Chopra and jockey Andrew Heffernan have been named among nine individuals charged with serious breaches with regard to the rules of racing.
Nine individuals including two other footballers, Mark Wilson, a former Manchester United and England Under-21 international who spent most of his career at Doncaster and has been recently released by Oxford; and midfielder James Coppinger, also formerly at Doncaster but now on loan at Nottingham Forest were also named in the probe.
The British Horseracing Authority investigated suspicious betting activity on a number of Flat races between 1 November 2010 and 31 March 2011 where it is alleged that horses were being laid to lose on betting exchanges.
Heffernan (who is currently licensed to ride in Australia) and eight unlicensed individuals (Michael Chopra, James Coppinger, Paul Garner, Kelly Inglis, Yogesh Joshee, Douglas Shelley, Pravin Shingadia and Mark Wilson) have all been charged with a breach of Rule (A)41.2 of the Rules of Racing in that they conspired with other persons to commit a corrupt or fraudulent practice by:
•In the case of Heffernan, communicating directly or indirectly to one or more Betting Exchange account holders information relating to the prospects in the race of that horse
•In the case of the unlicensed individuals by placing bets and/or causing one or more other Betting Exchange account holders to to place bets on the horse Andrew Heffernan rode in the race using information they had received directly or indirectly from the Jockey or other licensed person relating to the prospects in the race of the named horse.
Andrew Heffernan has also been charged with breaches of:
•Rule (A)36.1 in that he communicated directly or indirectly to one or more account holders on betting exchanges, for material reward, gift, favour or benefit in kind, information relating to the prospects of his rides, which was or included Inside Information knowing, such information was Inside Information
•Rule (A)33.4 in that he offered to receive or receive a bribe
•Rule (B)59.2 in that he intentionally failed to ensure that a horse ridden by him was run on its merits (Wanchai Whisper, Gallantry, and/or Silver Guest).
Of the unlicensed individuals, Rocky Michael Chopra, Paul Garner, Yogesh Joshee, Douglas Shelley and Mark Wilson have also been charged with breaches of Rule (A)33.1.2 in that they offered bribes to Andrew Heffernan.
Kelly Inglis is also charged with a breach of Rule (A)33.4 in that she connived with Andrew Heffernan to offer to receive a bribe or bribes from Rocky Michael Chopra, Paul Garner, Yogesh Joshee, Douglas Shelley and Mark Wilson.
Paul Garner is also charged with a breach of Rule (C)64.2.1 in that he placed lay bets on horses trained by Alan McCabe at a time when he was entered on the Register of Stable Employees at Alan McCabe's yard.
Paul Scotney, the BHA's integrity, compliance and licensing director, said: "The charges BHA has issued are the result of a long and complicated investigation. This process has taken significant time and resources.
"However, investigations such as these are very similar to fraud investigations and as such are complex and time consuming.
"Furthermore, we encountered difficulties in obtaining telephone records from certain individuals who refused to co-operate. This resulted in us having to make a number of applications to the High Court for orders against their mobile telephone service providers for disclosure of the relevant records.
"We hope that the announcement demonstrates our commitment to deterring and detecting wrong-doing and taking action against those who we believe to have breached the rules.
"However, racegoers and those betting on British Racing should be reassured that instances of this nature are extremely rare and that the overwhelming majority of races are free of suspicion."
Races under the spotlight
1. December 4 2010 Southwell 12:20 Toteplacepot Win Without Backing A Winner Maiden Auction Stakes MUJAPISTE.
2. December 10 2010 Southwell 11:20 Toteplacepot Win Without Backing a Winner Selling Stakes HIGH KICKIN.
3. December 11 2010 Southwell 13:10 40 Live Football Markets At Totesport.com Selling Stakes CROCODILE BAY.
4. January 28 2011 Lingfield 15:25 Fred & Ron Gibson Memorial Handicap WANCHAI WHISPER.
5. February 2 2011 Lingfield 16:40 Play Rainbow Riches At Bluesq.com Handicap JUNGLE BAY.
6. February 2 2011 Kempton 19:20 Betdaq Mobile Apps Handicap GALLANTRY.
7. February 4 2011 Wolverhampton 18:30 Stay At The Wolverhampton Holiday Inn Handicap PETOMIC.
8. February 9 2011 Lingfield 13:55 Ashurst Wood Classified Claiming Stakes SILVER GUEST.
9. March 8 2011 Southwell 13:40 Hospitality at Southwell Racecourse Handicap (Div I) IT'S A MANS WORLD.