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$194 million lost in Bill Vlahos/BC3 syndicate debacle

Mon, Dec 9, 8:49pm by Dominic Ciconte

BC3IT’S the revelation that has shocked Victorian thoroughbred racing to its very core.

Three days ago, Victorian racing identity, Bill Vlahos, admitted that he didn’t know where more than $194 million in betting syndicate money had gone.

$194 million. Gone without a trace.

What has followed since has left the integrity of the racing industry under a cloud of controversy from which it may never fully recover.

On Friday, the NSW Supreme Court heard that Mr Vlahos’ betting syndicate repeatedly failed to hand over more than $26 million allegedly owed to a company called Aloga.

In response, Vlahos admitted that on the Thursday before the trial, he discovered the Westpac account he and another business partner named Daniel Maxwell opened “did not exist”. That account was supposed to hold more than $190 million of his member’s investments. Questions have since been raised about the whereabouts – or existence – of the funds.

The gambling syndicate led by Mr Vlahos is understood to be made up of high-profile sporting and media identities who gave millions of dollars to Mr Vlahos to bet on horse races on the promise of high returns.

It is rumoured that some of the members of the punter’s club had more than $1 million invested in the scheme, which claimed to provide returns of more than 25 per cent a year.

There could be several hundred members of the club – including senior people from the AFL, the media and the building industry.

“I’m shocked. I’m worried about everyone’s funds, including my own, which are substantial,” he told the court on Friday.

Mr Vlahos, a Torquay resident, said he opened the account six years ago with Maxwell, who now lives in Dubai.

The ripple-on effect from the admission has been stunning.

  • On Saturday, the Herald Sun reported that Racing Victoria had been warned about the troubled syndicate four years ago, but did nothing.
  • Vlahos, who is also the chairman of BC3 Thoroughbreds, has been questioned over his company’s failure to pay bloodstock auctioneer Inglis the $5 million it bid for the half-brother to champion sprinter Black Caviar, named Jimmy.
  • Racing authorities are investigating the controversial BC3 Thoroughbreds, but say they have no jurisdiction over the punter’s club.
  • In court on Friday David Studdy, SC, for Mr Vlahos had said his client had recevied threats over the past week. “He is concerned about his safety and more particularly his family’s safety,” he said.
  • Victoria Police confirmed that a man was bashed on Sunday at Grace Park, the home of the now-troubled BC3 business. That man is believed to be Bill Vlahos. He is still recovering from facial injuries and his ute was also set alight and completely destroyed during the attack.
  • Vlahos tendered his resignation as director and secretary of BC3 Thoroughbreds on Monday. He also resigned from the same positions at two other companies – BC3 Holdings and Grace Park.

Our take

Well, as far as scandals go, this is about as big as it comes in racing.

First things first, we at have consistently warned our readers and punters about avoiding betting scams. We are not saying that Vlahos’ scheme was a scam by any means, but it certainly features some of the signs that experts warn punters to stay clear of.

Anyone who tells you they can make consistent, unlimited profits on horse racing cannot be trusted. It’s as simple as that. No mathematical magician or form analysis can deliver results on horse racing with any long-term certainty. Unfortunately, it seems that promises of up to 25 per cent every year were too tempting for some.

When you factor in Vlahos’ betting syndicate, his involvement in BC3, a multi-million dollar thoroughbred ownership group, and his past involvements in similar syndicates, this is a story with the potential to reveal a dark underbelly in the racing industry.

Stay with us during the coming days – is going to be covering this all the way – bringing you angles on the story the big news outlets won’t deliver.

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