Ben Currie: Electric shock trainer arrested by police and charged with fraud

Horse racing

A trainer who was banned after allegedly planning to give horses electric shocks has been charged with fraud by police in Australia.

It is alleged Ben Currie "engaged in systematic fraudulent behaviour" by giving horses performance-enhancing substances then claiming prize money.

The 28-year-old, from Toowoomba in Queensland, is serving a seven-and-a-half-year ban from racing.

He was sanctioned for "improper action" and for use of prohibited substances.

The improper action charge related to his alleged plan to use - or instruction to use - electric shock devices known as 'jiggers', which can improve a horse's performance.

That followed an investigation into text messages by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, which banned him for four-and-a-half-years in May.

The commission also looked into claims Currie was involved in giving banned substances to horses, for which he received an additional three-year ban earlier this month.

Tuesday's police charges followed a 14-month long investigation by officers from the Queensland Police Racing Crime Squad.

"It is alleged the offender has engaged in systematic fraudulent behaviour where he has sourced and administered unregulated horse supplements designed to enhance race performance," a police statement said.

"As a result, it is further alleged the offender has dishonestly gained a benefit through entitlement to prize money for thoroughbred races in Queensland," it added.

Currie has been charged with one count of aggravated fraud and has been bailed to appear in court on 15 July.

Queensland Racing integrity commissioner Ross Barnett said the police investigation arose from the commission's own work.

"This Racing Crime Squad investigation has been carried out independently from the commission but we have provided support as requested including technical advice from our Racing Science Centre chemists," he said.

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