New probe of Jim Cassidy's links to Mokbel
NICK MCKENZIE AND RICHARD BAKER
One of Australia's top racing officials is to meet NSW detectives in an attempt to obtain information about corrupt payments allegedly made by drug boss Tony Mokbel to champion jockey Jimmy Cassidy.
Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy will ask racing investigators from the NSW Police organised crime squad today to help him obtain any law enforcement information that could enable him to investigate Cassidy over allegations the jockey was paid by Mokbel in return for inside information about his mounts.
Murrihy's meeting with NSW detectives was prompted by revelations in The Sun-Herald that federal police had, in 2006, discovered that a Melbourne gangland figure turned police informer had hand-delivered secret payments from Mokbel to Cassidy, who will ride the favourite in the Caulfield Cup this weekend.
''The matters that are alleged are matters of a very serious nature,'' Murrihy told the Sydney Morning Herald. "'There is no statute of limitations, and while the allegations go back a number of years, if there is an allegation that a jockey has involvement in tipping to a crime figure, we want the information.''
Murrihy also expressed his frustration at the inability of NSW stewards as well as Victorian racing officials to gain access to or act on information held by police about racing corruption.
Victorian government sources told the Herald that Victoria's Racing Integrity Commissioner, Sal Perna, is likely to detail similar
frustrations in his upcoming report examining race-fixing. Murrihy said: ''It is an enormous frustration. Racing stewards are on the frontline ... but there is certain information that comes from sources beyond what the stewards have access to, and we find it very frustrating that this information can't be shared with us.''
The gangland informer, who was convicted and agreed to testify over the 2003 killings of Jason Moran and Pasquale Barbaro, told federal law enforcement authorities that he was once given $25,000 by Mokbel to give to Cassidy in return for inside information on his races.
The rules of racing prohibit jockeys selling inside information about their races.
The informer said he flew to Sydney with the money, and handed Cassidy the cash.
Murrihy said he would consider sending one of his officials to meet the informer in prison as part of an investigation into the claims. ''We have certainly in the past used our own racecourse detective to visit prison to interview people,'' Murrihy said.
Victorian racing authorities said on Sunday that they were interested in pursuing any police information about the alleged payments to Cassidy.
Cassidy, who has publicly denied receiving the money or giving tips to Mokbel, has never been held to account over this conduct, despite at least three policing agencies having evidence showing it occurred.
It is the second time Murrihy has attempted to get policing agencies to hand over information showing that Cassidy received up to $A100,000 from Mokbel between the late 1990s and mid 2000s.
In 2008, after the Herald revealed Victoria Police had information showing Cassidy was on Mokbel's payroll, Murrihy wrote to then commissioner Christine Nixon asking for the information.
He also wrote to the Australian Crime Commission, in the belief that it, too, had information implicating Cassidy in racing corruption but both the ACC and Nixon refused to hand over the information.
''We contacted all the enforcement bodies, including the crime commission and the Victoria Police, and we were unsuccessful in getting any information, which we found quite frustrating.''
Murrihy said that since his failed attempt to get information about Cassidy, NSW Police had set up a dedicated racing and gaming unit. ''It may be that such information can be provided to a body like that,'' he said.
When Cassidy was interviewed by Murrihy in 2008 about his association with Mokbel, the jockey denied taking money from the drug lord.
But the Sydney Morning Herald is aware of information held by a number of policing agencies that shows Cassidy was lying when he made his denials.
- Sydney Morning Herald