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Cost for collapsed Fallon case could reach £5m 23/1/2008
Matt Scott

Detailed figures have emerged about the amount of taxpayers' money the Crown Prosecution Service wasted on the Kieren Fallon trial which ended in humiliating collapse last month.
Baroness Scotland
Baroness Scotland

The attorney general, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, responding to questions in the House of Lords on Monday, said that in the three failed race-fixing trials, of which Fallon's was the highest profile, almost £1m was spent on the prosecution. The figures were released ahead of the completion of a CPS internal review into the cases, which is due to be completed at the end of next month.

Her detailed breakdown showed that the three prosecution counsel cost £701,480.37, witness expenses reached £14,527.04 and "ancillary costs" came to £234,815.91, making a grand total of £950,823.32. That sum will be compounded by defence costs - coming out of central funds - and court time. Once that and the City of London police outlay is thrown in - its covert and forensic costs, subsistence and overtime reached £450,000 in addition to officers' salaries over the course of the three-year investigation - it is thought the cost to the public purse could reach £5m.

So expensive did the police find the inquiry that late in the investigation the assistant commissioner made a formal appeal to the British Horseracing Authority for funding, a request that the new chief executive, Nic Coward, rejected out of hand. With integrity risks now a real and expensive issue for sport and the taxpayer it is small wonder that in a meeting today with the sports minister, Gerry Sutcliffe, Coward and senior representatives from football and tennis will call for the authority to charge bookmakers and betting exchanges to finance anti-corruption programmes.

Bets are on for 2012
In the meantime the government received what will undoubtedly be a tax-revenues boost from sports betting after London 2012 organisers succeeded in forcing a relaxation of the International Olympic Committee rules on gambling. The host-city contract signed by London in July 2005 stipulated that "the organising committee shall take all possible steps to prevent betting on the Olympic Games". London lobbied for that edict to be eased after winning the right to host the Olympics, with sources saying: "We reminded the IOC of the UK status quo." The IOC recognised that the regulated betting industry, with its tax revenues, would be preferable to forcing it underground. During his speech to a World Sports Law Report conference on Monday the IOC's director of legal affairs, Howard Stupp, declared that it had accordingly softened the demands on host cities. The contract for the 2014 winter games' host city, Sochi, now calls for the host Olympic committee not to be involved in betting and demands collaboration with the government to protect the integrity of the sport.
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