Although in Prison, He’s Still a Punter

Posted: 7th April 2014 by Polina in Betting Basics

horse racingTony Mokbel may be spending the next 20 years of his life in prison, but apparently this has not stopped him from wagering on the horses. Barwon Prison officials were able to intercept phone calls that indicated Mokbel was making bets from the prison. Although these wagers were coded, prison officials claim they were able to decode the messages and have proof that wagers were made. Mokbel has been transferred to a management unit of the prison and has had his phone privileges revoked.

Mokbel was, at one time, Australia’s largest importer of illegal drugs that included cocaine, ecstasy and methyl amphetamine. Although he spent most of his life in Melbourne, he fled Australia as a fugitive in 2006 only to be arrested in Greece the following year and extradited to Australia.

Tony Mokbel was known in the 1990s for his association with horse racing and was always under the watchful eyes of Australian authorities. Not only was he a large bettor, but he was under constant suspicion of fixing races. Several prominent trainers and jockeys were warned to not associate with Mokbel because of these suspicions.

Mokbel was a member of what many called the tracksuit gang. He and his associates would appear at premier racing days when bookmakers were at their busiest. Much of the wagers that they claim to have made were thought by the police to be money laundering for cash received from the sale of drugs. Basically, they would look for punters with large winning tickets and pay them a bonus over what the ticket was worth. For example, if a ticket was worth $10,000, the tracksuit gang might pay the punter $12,000. Mokbel and his associates could then cash the ticket and have verifiable proof the money was legitimate. The bonus paid to the punter was simply the cost of washing the money.

Although it is no surprise that Mokbel would still love to wager on a horse race, the amount of money he placed on these races seemed to have been incredibly high. This is a clear indication that Mokbel still has access to large amounts of money that has, until now, gone undetected. After his conviction, all known assets of Mokbel were taken from him. This totaled over 50 million dollars and included the assets of many of his associates. Because the person who Mokbel was transmitting his wagers to was on the approved list of people to speak to by phone, prison officials were able to trace his wagers to betting accounts that were controlled by Mokbel.