Tag Archives: Gaming bars

Operation Chestnut: DIA, SFO fluffing round the edges #TTCF #ORFU

“Operation Chestnut has been a significant investigation in the Class 4 sector and we’ve welcomed the opportunity to work in partnership with the SFO and OFCANZ.” –Maarten Quivooy, DIA

### NZ Herald Online 12:00 PM Monday Feb 2, 2015
Four in court charged with $30m pokie fraud
By Hamish Fletcher – Business reporter
A former chairman of Harness Racing New Zealand and three other people have been charged over an alleged $30 million pokie fraud. It is the biggest criminal case ever of its kind involving pokies outside of a casino. Four defendants have appeared in the Wellington District Court today over the alleged manipulation of grants which come from pokie machines, a Department of Internal Affairs spokeswoman said this morning. The defendants, charged by the Serious Fraud Office with obtaining by deception, are former HRNZ chairman Patrick O’Brien, his son Michael O’Brien, Paul Anthony Max and another person with interim name suppression. The alleged offending was uncovered during an investigation called Operation Chestnut which involved the DIA, SFO and the Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand.
Read more

*The name of the fourth defendant is known to What if? -Eds.

Related Posts and Comments:
22.1.15 ORFU chairman quits —no thanks to DCC for all its help *sniff
31.12.13 Martin Legge: Operation Chestnut [DIA’s PR exercise]

█ For more, enter the terms *operation chestnut*, *pokies*, *legge*, *whistleblower*, *rorts*, *dia*, *sfo*, *ttcf*, *gambling*, *orfu*, *rugby*, *jokers* and *racing* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Filed under Business, DCC, DCHL, Delta, DIA, DVML, Geography, Highlanders, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZRU, ORFU, People, Police, Politics, Project management, Property, SFO, Sport, What stadium

Sport Otago’s Brimble and ORFU’s Kinley never give up —ugly paperwork exists boys !!

● The Trusts Charitable Foundation (TTCF Inc) ● The Trusts Community Foundation Ltd (TTCF Ltd) ● Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU) ● Professional Rugby ● Centre of Excellence for Amateur Sport ● Harness Racing ● Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) ● Gambling Commission ● Pokies ● Rorts ● Organised Crime ● Serious Fraud ● Political Interference

### ODT Online Thu, 27 Nov 2014
Sport
Gambling: Gaming funds sport: Is the trade-off worth it?
By Adrian Seconi
Are sporting bodies turning a blind eye to problem gambling because of the estimated $120 million-$130 million gaming trusts provide each year? Reporter Adrian Seconi asks prominent administrators John Brimble and Richard Kinley their thoughts. It is an ethical minefield, but without the funding the gambling industry provides, many sporting organisations would collapse and sport would be out of reach for some families. Both Sport Otago chief executive John Brimble and Otago Rugby Football Union general manager Richard Kinley want to be very clear about that point.
Read more

TOMORROW: The TAB has its say.

****

“It’s going to be fun. The NZ Racing Board is a $2 billion business that plays a vital role in the New Zealand economy by supporting the racing and sports industries. It is also the owner and operator of the TAB which is an exciting commercial enterprise and iconic New Zealand brand.”–John Allen.

### NZ Herald Online 3:57 PM Wednesday Nov 26, 2014
Mfat chief executive John Allen moves to NZ Racing Board
–Herald Online / BusinessDesk
Foreign Affairs and Trade chief executive John Allen is resigning to take up the role of head of the NZ Racing Board. Mr Allen began as the Mfat head in in July 2009 and headed a controversial restructuring of the government department which was opposed by many staff and saw 49 ambassadors and heads of foreign missions co-sign a letter criticising the plan. […] Mr Allen’s departure was flagged by political newsletter Trans-Tasman, which said he planned to announce next Monday that he is leaving for a top post in the private sector.
This afternoon, the NZ Racing Board confirmed it had appointed Mr Allen as its new CEO.
Read more

For more, enter the terms *gambling*, *pokies*, *dia*, *rugby*, *racing* *rorts* *whistleblower*, *fraud*, *white collar crime* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

2 Comments

Filed under Business, Carisbrook, CST, Economics, Geography, Highlanders, Media, Name, New Zealand, NZRU, ORC, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Sport, Stadiums

Martin Legge: Operation Chestnut [DIA’s PR exercise]

Received from Martin Legge.
Tuesday, 31 December 2013 10:54 p.m.

The relaunch of “Operation Chestnut” is nothing more than an expensive distraction for the masses – making them believe that the DIA and its Minister, Chris Tremain, are doing a great job. No small coincidence the operation was announced (Jan 2013) contemporaneous with the Government announcement that they did not intend changing the current pokie model despite the systemic corruption and the ongoing rorts. If you don’t agree with me then consider this:

1. “Operation Chestnut” was started way back in 2008 and the investigator submitted his report to Senior Management in 2008-09. The same management includes Debbie Despard, who now fronts the relaunch of Operation Chestnut but note she failed to tell media that the operation started in 2008 and she has been sitting on the report for five years watching as tens of millions flowed to people to whom it should not have.

2. DIA’s primary statutory function requires they properly regulate all the entities which they are solely responsible for licencing and that includes the pokie trusts, their managment and also the owners/operators of pokie bars. Current gambling law puts a clear statutory obligation on the DIA that they must be satisfied with these entities before they can lawfully issue a gambling licence. The legal obligation was put in place to ensure they did their job and prevented harm, and ensured the grant distribution process was fair to all grant applicants. That obligation does not require the resources of the Serious Fraud Office or the standard of proof required in a criminal case, just a balance of probabilities. Under these circumstances the public could now rightly demand why all of the issues and recommendations identified in Bermingham’s report of 2009 were not immediately addressed first and foremost with the pokie trusts named and why now after five years the taxpayer is funding a relaunch or rehash of an operation which until now was ignored by DIA.

3. In 2010, during the four to five years of DIA inaction, DIA seek and receive documents and testimony from me and others that not only linked ORFU and Harness Racing (Mike O’Brien) to three South Auckland bars but of far greater significance was the fact that the evidence implicated the involvement of one of NZ’s biggest trusts, TTCF Inc, now TTCF Ltd, and how its trustees were complicit to such arrangements and were knowingly approving millions of dollars of grants to both ORFU and Racing between 2005 and 2011.

The DIA, OAG, and now the SFO have all given me different stories about why TTCF has been excluded from Operation Chestnut but it is blatantly obvious to me and others that to include O’Brien’s relationship with ORFU and those three Jokers bars would mean including TTCF. It would open up a can of worms with the Government because, as we know, TTCF trustees are very very well connected and they have politicians who will pick up the phone.

Quite frankly, as an ex Police Prosecutor and Detective Sergeant, I am appalled at this situation. Operation Chestnut has become nothing more than an exercise in regaining the public confidence in DIA, its Minister and the gambling sector by taking scalps that fall outside their primary responsibility. Evidence implicating the pokie trusts and their trustees is being ignored or suppressed to take the scalp of someone who essentially sits outside the industry. Mike O’Brien would not have been able to get one cent, let alone the $30 million that DIA/SFO allege has been gained, if it weren’t for the primary offenders, the persons with the ultimate public responsibility, that approved that money back to those interests. Their part in the offending is far more serious than anyone outside the industry.

Pokie trust boards are stacked with high profile well connected personalities all of whom receive a payment of around $50-100k per annum for the privilege. The NZCT board includes ex Wellington Mayor, Kerry Prendergast, who is also an advisor to the Auditor General. TTCF’s Chairman is Ross Clow who is now with Auckland City Council, and then there is Warren Flaunty, NZ’s most elected man. They are the ones who approved these grants and yet they are barely mentioned, quoted or identified by media, let alone interviewed by DIA or SFO.

Last but not least, another conscientious DIA investigator recently contacted me to advise that they saw the full NZRU report into the demise of the ORFU that was supplied to the DIA. They have confirmed that it contains considerable detail of ORFU’s ownership of the Jokers bars and their relationship with Mike O’Brien and TTCF. The report was provided to DIA simply because NZRU wanted to judge the risk of DIA legal action before pumping funds into ORFU. Little wonder DIA continue to withhold that report.

[ends]

Related Post and Comments:
30.12.13 DIA insights: Pokie rorts, money-go-rounds, names

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

56 Comments

Filed under Business, Economics, Geography, Name, New Zealand, ORFU, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Sport

DIA insights: Pokie rorts, money-go-rounds, names

ODT 23.12.13 Freeze on grants urged (page 1) 2

This time last week you might have read front-page news at ODT, a story by Hamish McNeilly, Freeze on grants urged (23.12.13) — “Leaked documents confirm the earlier involvement of southern racing clubs in what has become a major multi-agency investigation involving alleged pokie money-go-rounds.” Cont./

Yesterday (and previous days) interesting activity has displayed in our Site Stats —referrers include racechat.co.nz and racecafe.co.nz

View two comments posted in response, here and here.

Go to this thread at RaceCafe—
Some light reading – started by Sheriff, 27 Dec 2013.
Mentions of Operation Chestnut, and more – Sheriff has posted two file attachments. [based on this ODT could’ve had a ‘field day’, it decided not to]

The second attachment of 22 pages compiled by gambling inspector DM Bermingham (Christchurch) is available for download here.

Report into Racing Club Activities 222 (DOC, 159.5KB)

The following draft provides a useful checklist [via screenshot]:

DM Bermingham - Table of Contents (page 1) screenshot

To open the file attachments at RaceCafe you’ll need to register as a member.

For more on Pokie Rorts at this website, enter terms such as *pokies*, *pokierorts*, *whistleblower*, *dia*, *sfo*, *racing*, *martin legge*, *orfu*, *ttcf* in the search box at right.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Image: ODT 23.12.13 – front page detail tweaked by whatifdunedin

10 Comments

Filed under Business, Economics, Geography, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Pics, Politics, Project management, Property, Sport