BHA appoints top policeman to lead review of alleged sales ring malpractice
A former top policeman has been appointed to lead a landmark review into the buying and selling of horses following allegations of potentially criminal malpractice.
Justin Felice OBE will lead the team investigating practices involved in the buying and selling of bloodstock and racehorses in British racing and will present a report outlining recommendations to the BHA board in the autumn.
Felice, 62, has 40 years' experience in law enforcement including being chief investigator for the Northern Ireland police ombudsman, anti-corruption co-ordinator for the Jamaican police and heading that country’s ministry of finance and planning’s financial investigation division.
Felice said: “I am delighted to be part of the team that is reviewing the critical area of bloodstock sales. It is important that those who are looking to invest in horseracing – which is primarily a discretionary, leisure spend – can do so with confidence and trust in the purchasing procedure.
“What has struck me so far is an openness and willingness from those involved with the industry to assist with this review. My desire is to reach out to as many people as possible in the sport who might have information to share.
“I would encourage anyone who feels they might have something to contribute, or any concerns, to contact me via the dedicated email address. All the information I receive will be treated in the strictest confidence.”
In the first update on the review into the integrity of the sales ring since it hit the headlines in the Racing Post last October, the BHA confirmed it is looking at whether the bloodstock industry code of practice, introduced in 2004, is fit for purpose.
The BHA, as racing's governing body, has no regulatory role in the sales industry. The review will consider whether the BHA should take action – via regulation or other means – to "ensure fair, transparent and responsible practices" in the British sales industry.
Felice’s appointment marks the next phase of the review and the BHA confirmed it had received information from a number of sources since the Racing Post revealed that the ethics of the bloodstock sales sector were being questioned.
The review team will interview approximately 60 individuals about current practices in the industry and possible changes. Those being interviewed include sector experts and those who directly contacted the BHA following coverage of the allegations.
Anyone wishing to provide further information to the BHA review can still do so by calling 0207 152 0015 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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