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BHA Finds Chopra Guilty
Friday, 25th Jan 2013 13:53

Town striker Michael Chopra has been found guilty of breaching the rules of racing by a British Horseracing Authority (BHA) race-fixing inquiry. Doncaster midfielder James Coppinger, his former Rovers team-mate Mark Wilson, Chopra’s former agent Yogesh Joshee and jockey Andrew Heffernan were also amongst those found guilty.

The inquiry panel set out its full findings regarding the charges against Chopra, which date from early 2011 during his time with Cardiff City, and the other eight individuals this afternoon, the four-day hearing having concluded last Friday.

The penalties will be published after a penalties hearing, which is currently taking place. The only sanction the BHA can impose on Chopra is to ban him from racecourses and gambling establishments it licenses, something the 29-year-old said he would welcome as he continues his battle against his gambling addiction in a statement prior to the enquiry.

Regarding Chopra, the panel said: “It was plain beyond doubt to the panel that Chopra was fully engaged in the conspiracy. He did not attend the enquiry or even send in some indication of his defence in writing. Thus, his only contribution was in the interviews he gave to the BHA Investigators.

“Much of what he said in those interviews consisted of lies. His denial of knowing Heffernan or of ever speaking to him was exposed as utterly untrue. He made many calls to Heffernan's 1174 [phone] number, which no doubt both he and Heffernan thought was safe from detection.

“He made calls to his landline and to [another one of the individuals charged, Kelly] Inglis's phone in an attempt to communicate with Heffernan.

“If further confirmation were needed, it comes from the damning series of texts between Chopra and Heffernan using Inglis's phone. There was an earlier run of texts (other than those already set out in this decision) which clearly show that Inglis's evidence that she and Heffernan met with Chopra in a Cardiff nightclub was true.

“The sequence of texts which has been set out in the paragraphs considering the case against Heffernan showed beyond argument that Chopra was trying to get Heffernan to stop It’s a Man’s World for a bribe of £2000, of which he was only able to raise £800. Those texts indicate that he was also an essential part of the earlier arrangement for the stopping of Silver Guest.

“He told the BHA Investigators that he decided to lay Silver Guest because he overheard a couple of people he did not know in a branch of Ladbrokes in Cardiff saying that they did not think it would win. That may seem a comical explanation, but it was a lie nevertheless, as the texts and a wealth of other evidence show.

“So not only was Chopra engaged in the conspiracy, but the allegation that he offered bribes to Heffernan was also made good.”

It is as yet not clear whether the police will launch an inquiry into the matter.

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