Racing authorities have accused Bill Vlahos of using deception to siphon hundreds of thousands from his failed punting club to his horse training and syndication operation, BC3 Thoroughbreds.
Nanjing Night Net

In two charges laid under the rules of racing on Friday, authorities also accused Mr Vlahos of irregularities over the purchase of champion mare Black Caviar’s half-brother, ‘‘Jimmy’’, at last year’s Inglis sales in Sydney.

Pending a hearing of the charges, Mr Vlahos has been warned off racecourses and suspended as a registered owner and stablehand.

The charges were laid after Mr Vlahos failed to appear before stewards on Thursday.

Mr Vlahos has kept a low profile since December 9, when he was allegedly beaten and a ute containing punters’ club documents was set on fire at BC3’s Surf Coast training facility.

He resigned from BC3 and declared bankruptcy shortly afterwards.

Fraud squad detectives are investigating the club, The Edge, into which punters poured more than $140 million.

Racing Victoria integrity manager Dayle Brown said investigators had so far analysed more than 1 million emails and conducted more than 40 interviews.

‘‘We have kept the Victoria Police fraud squad abreast of our findings to date and we are continuing to cooperate and assist them with their investigation into The Edge,” Mr Brown said.

Racing Victoria stewards allege that between 2005 and 2013 Mr Vlahos deposited punting club money in his personal bank account. It is alleged money was then loaned to BC Thoroughbreds.

They allege that in just two and a half months last year, more than $380,000 flowed from Mr Vlahos’ account to BC3.

‘‘Accordingly, Mr Vlahos used some of the funds invested into ‘The Edge’ by those people to support the financial operation of BC3 Thoroughbreds,’’ stewards said.

‘‘This was done without the consent or knowledge of those persons, and without any benefit being conferred on those persons.’’

Stewards also allege Mr Vlahos gave three members of The Edge a stake in Jimmy even though there was not enough money in the punting club to pay for their shares.

BC3 promised to pay $5 million for the colt, which was put down in late December after being crippled by laminitis.

Stewards allege that after the auction BC3 reaped $1.78 million by selling stakes in the horse to 10 people.

But three part-owners were told the invoices ‘‘did not need to be paid, but instead the shares would be ‘gifted’ on the basis of funds held in [The Edge],’’ stewards allege.

‘‘Mr Vlahos knew, or ought reasonably have known, that the funds of ‘The Edge’ were insufficient to meet the invoices issued to these three people.’’

Stewards allege Mr Vlahos only paid $825,000 of the $1.78 million to Inglis and almost $960,000 was ‘‘diverted to BC3 Thoroughbreds’ other expenses’’.

Mr Vlahos’ trustee in bankruptcy, Clyde White of PCI Partners, confirmed money had been transferred from Mr Vlahos’ account to BC3 but said he could not comment further until he knew more about Racing Victoria’s allegations.

‘‘If there’s something they’ve got that I haven’t got, I’d like to look at it,’’ he said.

The charges are to be heard by the Racing and Disciplinary Appeals Board at a date to be fixed.

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