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Melb Bookie's Office Searched Over Mystery Bets
Victorian racing investigators yesterday searched the South Yarra office of leading Melbourne bookmaker Simon Beasley "as part of an investigation into claims that millions of dollars in undeclared bets have been concealed from authorities," reported The Age newspaper. The investigators searched "on computers for client statements to verify betting records over 2 years". Beasley is one of Australia's biggest bookies (with a turnover of more than $60 million) & the decision to search the office "was made with the consent of Mr Beasley & conducted at an agreed time". The newspaper revealed yesterday's search followed an earlier search by racing investigators at another bookmaker's office, during which "seized computer records allegedly revealed a 2nd set of black books that show $3.5 million in undeclared bets over the 2-year period". The list of clients on the black books who have been drawn into the scandal includes "high-profile customers & well-known political figures"; however "there is no suggestion they have breached any laws". The current investigation began "when a bookie staff member handed-in to racing officials a spreadsheet from the black books, rather than the legitimate set". The newspaper also reported the Australian Taxation Office "is set to launch an investigation of bookmakers who are alleged to have avoided income, turnover & capital gains tax".