Monday, 26 September 2011

Gib Gaming Commissioner stalked by private detective

Gaming Commissioner Phil Brear
GIBRALTAR (GibChronicle/Dominique Searle) The complex twists and turns of the gaming world have delievered a startling new dimension to the court case seeking to force Gibraltar’s Gaming Commissioner Phil Brear to release payments of some £825,000 to a set of gamblers he claims were party to a clever ruse that deprives them of their winnings. Papers submitted to the Supreme Court reveal that the claimants are relying on the reports of hired private detectives who followed Mr Brear and family around Gibraltar, at the Eliott Hotel, Gauchos and to meetings at Hassans, even apparently to Amar’s bakery for a snack and then to his second home in Sotogrande.>>>

The private eye even noted what papers were being carried, clothes worn and the value of Mr Brear’s properties. Phone calls were made to Hassans offices to see if lawyers were in meetings when Mr Brear was there.

The claimants are using this to support their suggestion that Mr Brear has not acted impartially towards them.


Mr Brear is faced with a legal challenge in the form of an application for judicial review to the Supreme Court. A case management meeting yesterday has set this hearing down for December.

The claimants seek not only to have Mr Brear’s intervention declared unlawful but also question the very powers under which he acts.

Mr Brear has yet to submit his statement to the court but court papers have already shown that even an autobiography written by one of horseracing’s most colourful characters Barney Curley, is being used in evidence against Mr Curley in a bid to suggest that the claimants were part of an elaborate ‘insider trading’ style coup.

Damian Hall, Rupert Collier, James Tetherton, Emmett Monaghan and Luke McBride accuse the Gibraltar commissioner of acting without authority and point to the fact that other gaming regulators, including the UK Gambling Commission, of which Mr Brear was once operations chief, have allowed payouts on these same punts.

So far Chief Justice Anthony Dudley has not, at this stage, ordered that they appear before the court to give live evidence and face cross examination as Mr Brear’s lawyers have requested.

Court documents obtained by the Chronicle last month showed that Mr Brear accuses the claimants not only of failing to make a full disclosure of all material facts, but of having “falsely averred that their accounts are not proxy accounts for Mr Curley.”

The judge is also understood to be questioning whether or not the claimants should have pursued their claims by suing parties directly rather than through a judicial review.


The proceedings have come about as a result of a series of multiple bets placed by the applicants with Betfred and 888 on four horses running at various race meetings held in England on the 10th May 2010. Both Betfred and 888 were instructed by Mr Brear to freeze the applicants’ account pending the outcome of investigations in the United Kingdom and a decision as to the bona fides of the bets. To date the monies have not been paid.

Bets placed in other jurisdictions by the applicants were paid out and as a result of the interest generated the British Horse Racing Authority and the Independent Betting Adjudicating Service (IBAS) undertook detailed investigations and both bodies found there had been no breaches of the rules of racing.

The applicants, represented by Freddie Vasquez QC, of Triay and Triay, have argued that contractual issues between the parties are an entirely separate matter. Submissions to the court from them described the allegations against them as “scatter gun”. They also challenge the way the gaming authority in Gibraltar was investigating their private affairs and allege there may have been breaches by the Gaming authority of a duty to maintain confidentiality.

They have submitted a report carried out by the detective agency Annisa Intelligence Ltd of Surrey which followed and photographed Mr Brear between Monday July 25 and Friday July 29 of this summer. It recorded his attending meetings with Betfred’s lawyers Hassans and other movements and as a result the claim is that confidentiality may have been breached and that Mr Brear was seeking to support the gaming operators in resisting making out payments and that he is not impartial.

Betfred, who alerted the Gibraltar authority to their concerns, say that the dispute is not about money. “The company will always honour bona fide bets,” it said adding that it became aware of “irregular betting activity” on May 10 2010. It believes that 50 accounts were opened for the purpose of the coup. Betfred allege that the claimants are in fact friends and family of Mr Curley.

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