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Australian Gaming Monitor Criticized

22 October 2002

AUSTRALIA – As reported by the Australian "Victoria's Office of Gaming Regulation has come under fresh criticism for failing to act against the founder of a children's charity charged with rigging car raffles worth up to $8 million.

"An investigation by state ombudsman Barry Perry has criticised the failure of the OGR's former director of gaming and betting, Bill Lahey, to inform the Victorian Casino and Gaming Authority about police concerns over the conduct of Kids At Sea and founder Lawrence Shannon.

"…Police told Mr Lahey that the Office of Gaming Regulation could be embarrassed if it were made public that the charity conducted raffles during the police investigation.

"…Mr Shannon was subsequently arrested in January and charged with conspiracy to cheat and defraud; obtaining property by deception; obtaining financial advantage by deception; theft; and false accounting.

"…The chairman of the authority's board, Brian Forrest, told Dr Perry he first became aware of problems with the charity and Mr Shannon's arrest after reading an Age article in January.

"Mr Forrest said the board subsequently wrote to Mr Shannon requesting he surrender the raffle permit. Mr Forrest said the board took the action because it was advised that the charity had a history of not paying prizes…"

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