Fallon race-fixing investigation expected to delay NoW libel case

The News of the World is expecting champion jockey Kieren Fallon to suspend his libel action against it pending the outcome of a criminal investigation into betting fraud.

The paper first made allegations about the jockey in a front-page piece headlined “The Fixer” in March 2004, giving rise to the libel action.

On Monday, Fallon was charged with conspiracy to defraud customers of online betting company, Betfair.

As a result, News International legal manager Tom Crone said he expected libel proceedings to be put on hold pending the outcome of the current criminal inquiry.

Crone said The News of the World was currently defending the libel action and had co-operated with the current police investigations.

Daily betting newspaper, The Sportsman, is sticking by Fallon, who is their star columnist.

A spokesman said: “He has his hearing with the Horse Racing Association on Friday and they might well give him his licence back. Obviously, it’s innocent until proven guilty in our book, and he’s still a massive name. He won the Irish Derby on Sunday.

“We’re very much delighted to have him on board and I think his Saturday column should be very interesting. Hopefully that’ll help with the sales.” In May 2002, Fallon and two trainers registered complaints of harassment to horse racing’s governing body, the Jockey Club, following investigations led by BBC programmes Kenyon Confronts and Panorama into allegations of race-fixing and doping.

This led to the Jockey Club warning its members that “two men purporting to be owners are in fact undercover reporters and may be seeking to produce a story which could damage the reputation of racing”.

Fallon is due to appear before magistrates on 17 July.

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