Racing clubs targeted over pokies

By Hamsh McNeilly

Clubs ordered to hand over documentation linked to investigation.

Inquiries are believed to be focused on club investments and pokie grant applications.Photo / Christine Cornege
Inquiries are believed to be focused on club investments and pokie grant applications.Photo / Christine Cornege

Dozens of racing clubs in the south have been ordered to hand over files as part of a Serious Fraud Office probe into pokie grants, while the Internal Affairs Minister confirms he is investigating options to tighten regulations for the sector.

It is understood some clubs have until tomorrow to hand over files, including grant applications and minutes of meetings, to the SFO after it issued section 9 notices last week ordering the supply of documents.

Last month both the SFO and Internal Affairs executed search warrants as part of a joint agency investigation into the alleged manipulation of pokie grants.

As part of that investigation - believed to involve at least three pokie trusts New Zealand Community Trust, Bluegrass Trust and Infinity Foundation - investigators have interviewed racing club presidents in Otago and Southland.

After the completion of those interviews, clubs were ordered to hand over documentation linked to the investigation. Several people interviewed as part of the probe said inquiries were focused on club investments and pokie grant applications.

Investigators were now understood to be interviewing people in the North Island.

Both Racing Minister Nathan Guy and Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain had been briefed about the investigation.

- Otago Daily Times

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