The boss of Towcester Racecourse in Northamptonshire has strenuously denied being involved in a horse race rigging scam after the launch of his disciplinary hearing yesterday.
Chief executive of the racecourse in South Northamptonshire Kevin Ackerman is one of five people facing charges from the British Horseracing Association (BHA) relating to ‘the communication of inside information’ and the running and riding of horses.
The charges all relate to a series of races at Kempton and Wolverhampton between November 2011 and March 2012, in which the handicapper Ad Vitam was running.
Mr Ackerman is accused of breaking horse racing rules by offering Ad Vitam’s owner David Greenwood ‘gifts’ or ‘rewards’ for inside information about the horse Ad Vitam, and using that information to influence their betting on races the handicapper was involved in.
Mr Ackerman was due to appear at a private hearing of the BHA disciplinary panel yesterday in High Holborn, London, which is expected to last six days.
However Stewart-Moore Solicitors Ltd, which is acting on behalf of Mr Ackerman and Mr Greenwood, said: “Mr Greenwood and Mr Ackerman are extremely concerned by their treatment at the hands of the BHA.
“This firm, having represented Mr Greenwood in two prior sets of failed proceedings brought by the BHA, shares those concerns.
Stewart-Moore Solicitors Ltd says it will attempt to get the charges ‘struck out’.
In response, a BHA spokesman said: “As a rule we do not comment on the specifics of an ongoing investigation or scheduled hearing, but the BHA strongly refutes the allegations made by Stewart-Moore Solicitors Ltd.”
Mr Ackerman, is set to appear at the behind-closed-doors hearing alongside former registered owner David Greenwood, licensed jockey Michael Stainton, former licensed jockey Claire Murray and registered owner Kenneth Mackay, who are all alleged to have involvement in a rigging scheme.
Mr Ackerman, who was instrumental in bringing greyhound racing to Towcester racecourse, could a face a ban from being involved in horse racing for up to five years.
The disciplinary panel’s decision is likely to be reached towards the end of next week.