Embattled trainer Richard Gibson revealed he has become “the victim of a complex internet fraud involving the transfer of money on a sale of a horse” in recent months.
Gibson has landed just two winners this season, none since Navas scored at Happy Valley in October, and last week lost his major owner, Pan Sutong, who has transferred four horses to Tony Cruz.
But Gibson on Wednesday issued a press release, explaining that he wanted to put the whole matter of the internet scam on the record.
“Following some reports in the press concerning my dealings with another owner, I wanted to put on record what has happened in the last three months which has put considerable stress on my family and business.
“I was unwilling in the past to make a press statement as this matter involves the police and several law firms,” he said.
“In early September, my business became the victim of a complex internet fraud involving the transfer of money on a sale of a horse.
“The vendor, the agent, the buying owner, and myself were all victims of this complex internet fraud. Both the Hong Kong police, the Australian police are still actively involved in this case and that is why I am unable to disclose any further details.”
Gibson indicated that the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s security department had been involved and “have been very supportive and were the driving force in helping us to recover the majority of these funds which have already been sent back to the buying owner”.
“The current status of the case is that the remaining funds have been frozen in a foreign account and with the help of elite international law firms we hope that we will recover the remaining assets.”
A winner of 143 races in his first five seasons, and six Group Ones including the Derby, Hong Kong Cup, Gold Cup and Stewards’ Cup, Gibson’s performance has declined dramatically this season.
“This fraud has been a grave concern for me personally and has taken up a great deal of time with meetings and legal papers. It has not surprised me that my business has suffered as a result,” Gibson said.
“It has also put a great deal of pressure on my family as the case involves significant sums of money. We have always acted with full integrity and honesty.
“Once this case is resolved I will disclose all the details as I do not want Hong Kong owners and Hong Kong horsemen to be victims of internet crime which is a growing concern in our internet culture.
“My administration has installed a new security system to ensure all future financial transactions and prevent any future fraud scam.”
Tony Kelly, the Jockey Club’s executive director of racing business and operations, said the club’s security department had responded to a request for assistance from Gibson.
“We are supporting Mr Gibson where possible and, through our contacts in law enforcement, the club has been able to put Mr Gibson in touch with the appropriate departments. We understand that, as a result, there has been a degree of success in recovering the money involved,” said Kelly.
“However, our general stance is that this situation is a private matter between Mr Gibson and the owner involved.”