A huge internal affairs investigation has been launched due to fraud on a massive scale in relation to pokies. The fraud is actually due to grants from pokie revenues going to the wrong place and it seems the racing industry is heavily involved.
Internal Affairs struck up their low key investigation after irregularities surfaced around pokie grants. The Internal Affairs department swooped on many residences in the past four weeks with warrants to search key buildings and peoples homes they feel are part of the scam. In total 10 warrants were served and a team of 50 Internal Affairs and Serious Fraud officers were involved.
All files retrieved as part of the operation have been handed over to the Serious Fraud Office who will now investigate to see if there is a case to answer.
The case actually centres on around $30 million in pokie grants that seem to have been given out illegally. The documents seized include meeting notes and pokie grant applications to check for irregularities.
The main people being targeted for the fraud is Blenheim racing trainer and publican Mike O’Brien and his father Patrick O’Brien who both had their addresses raided. The three main pokie trusts at the centre of the possible scandal are New Zealand Community Trust, Infinity and Bluegrass Trusts and the Otago and Southland racing boards are also implicated.
The trusts concerned are all related to the O’Briens in one form or another and the feeling from the Internal Affairs team is that they are illegally giving grants to others in return for their own personal gains.
This is not the first time that Mike O’Brien has faced these types of accusations as he also did so in 2006 when his pokie trust business, Metro Trust, was shut down by O’Brien after Internal Affairs thought something shady was occurring and moved to shut it down themselves.