Banned racing identity faces fraud charge

Ben Currie, once Queensland's most successful horse trainer, is now facing criminal charges after being hit with the longest non-lifetime ban in the state's history.

Detectives from the Racing Crime Squad arrested the embattled Currie in Toowoomba yesterday following a 14-month investigation into alleged cheating.

He spent several hours inside before emerging to claim he had no idea why he'd been detained.

"I don't even know what the charges are, to be honest," Currie said outside the police station. "I don't even know what it's about."

Police will allege Currie engaged in "systematic fraudulent behaviour" from November 2016 to March 2019, sourcing an "unregulated horse supplement designed to enhance race performance" by circumventing current testing methods.

Police will allege this resulted in Currie fraudulently collecting prizemoney he wasn't entitled to.

Currie has been plagued by legal troubles in recent years.

He was suspended in February this year amid stewards charges he'd been using a jigger - a device delivering electric shocks to horses.

In May he was found guilty in a stewards' inquiry of five prohibited substance charges after tests picked up irregularities in his horses, including two that tested positive for cocaine.

A month later, he was disqualified from racing for seven and a half years. Currie has also fought a series of allegations he treated horses on race day.

Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said the latest allegations arose from a "protracted and ongoing investigation" into Currie Racing that began in April, 2018.

"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.

"During the period of these alleged charges Mr Currie was a licensed thoroughbred trainer in Queensland. This investigation again demonstrates the importance of the partnership between the Commission and the Racing Crime Squad and the value of them being seconded to the Commission to deal with allegations of criminal conduct which arise during our investigations into the Queensland racing industry."

Currie was charged with one count of aggravated fraud and will face Toowoomba Magistrates Court on July 15.



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