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Australia Provincial Gambling Board Under Investigation

24 June 2002

VICTORIA, Australia – As reported by the Australian Age: "Victoria's Office of Gambling Regulation is being investigated over allegations that its senior management destroyed records and did not carry out their statutory duties.

"State Ombudsman Barry Perry's investigation follows an internal complaint claiming the gambling regulator's most senior figures did not act on police requests to cancel raffle permits issued to the founder of a children's charity charged with rigging car raffles worth up to $8 million.

"Dr Perry's probe comes after he found earlier this month that the OGR and the Victorian Casino and Gaming Authority inappropriately accepted a $US200,000 payment from an American US poker machine maker they were investigating. The OGR is a support body to the authority.

"Dr Perry decided to investigate the conduct of OGR chief executive Bill Lahey and other senior staff after he received a statement from an OGR employee alleging "improper conduct" at the organisation's highest level.

"…Senior OGR figures have also been accused of shredding paper files and removing material from employees' computers to destroy evidence.

"…The OGR and VCGA came under strong scrutiny earlier this month after Dr Perry's report to parliament, which found Mr Lahey disregarded the limits of his power by either demanding or accepting a payment from poker machine giant International Game Technology…"

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