IRC NEWSLETTER, Monday, 14 June

Exposing racing’s hoods may be as easy as ‘There You Go!’

Life unites us all, and sometimes the funniest things make us reminisce. A song or a quote from someone makes us think of someone or something in our past, writes JOAO DA MATA.

Last week something happened that triggered a good memory from my youth. Those close to me will know that I have a peculiar sense of humour, and that I often sit at home breaking news to those around me. “Over 800 criminals arrested worldwide after being duped into using an anonymous app”, I announced from my armchair investigations into news sources last midweek.

The story goes that law enforcement had arrested more than 800 people and gained an unprecedented understanding into the functioning of modern criminal networks. For years the FBI had secretly run an encrypted communications app called “ANOM” used by organized crime in order to surreptitiously collect its users’ messages and monitor criminals’ activity on a massive scale.

Burner phones, commonly sold to people (including criminals on the move) for quick and limited use, had the app installed in such a way that a master key silently attached itself to every message sent through the app, enabling law enforcement to decrypt and store messages as they were transmitted.

In all, the elaborate operation netted more than 20 million messages from over 11,800 devices used by suspected criminals. In so doing, 170-odd murders were prevented and massive drug busts were performed, all on the back of a $120k investment.

You can just imagine how the use of this app grew: “Hey, Pablo, checka out this app, it’s totally private man. It must be, because it’s called ANOM!”

This made me laugh and think of my Daddy. You see, my late father, Leopoldo (also known as Trajano, his third name) was a military policeman in the city of Goa, India. He was a member of a force that investigated all sorts of crimes.

As a young man he would tell me stories and the one I recall the fondest is the following: There had been a break in to the Officer’s Quarters and quite a substantial amount of cash was stolen. Specifics I don’t have but let’s go with 1000 Escudos. Already in those days, the 1950’s, my dad had figured out that to catch a thief sometimes needed only a simple action.

In the case of the 1000 missing Escudos a story was run in the newspaper misleadingly stating that following a break-in, it had been determined that 10 000 Escudos had been stolen.

Well, you see, crooks also read newspapers and when they read the article and saw that their ring leader had “robbed them” of their cut/split, they quickly broke ranks. In disarray, some came forward and the culprits were arrested.

Newspapers don’t lie and neither does Sky/CNN/Twitter/Tik Tok or any of the ways we get fed information. Yeah, right! Today, I received a Whatsapp message saying Phil Collins had died, and 17 people wrote RIP on that message. It took me 3 seconds to verify if it was real or not.

So be careful out there, things are not always what they seem to be, and in horse racing, too!

Sometimes four horses shortening are not part of a massive coup as we have seen recently. Clearly some people are “putting out information” and getting the momentum of the public to spread the word. The horses tumble in price and orchestrators simply cash out or lay their bets back, guaranteeing them a profit. In the last 3 months in the UK there have been four or five dramatic betting moves on multiple horses with them going from 25/1 into 5/2 during the day and returning 12/1 race time with clearly no serious money for them.

The people doing this need to be brought to book because while their manoeuvres fool the public and cost them money, they also affect the trainers of horses concerned as they are left having to explain to their owners why their horses are being punted as if defeat is not an option.

We have laws in place and I am not a supporter of infringing personal privacy – just wondering if there isn’t a similarly inventive way of luring racing’s bad guys into a trap, too. Who would be exposed, and will there be any big names among them?

My Dad used to say, ‘There you go!’ All you have to do is publish something in a believable format and the masses will vouch for it. Somewhere in his account of a wily crook trap there may be the key to rooting out betting manipulators.

RIP LGT Da Mata, a/k/a Daddy

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