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Police investigate SLA financial irregularities.

Byline: By David Ashforth

DERBYSHIRE police are investigating possible criminal irregularities during Bill Adams' reign as national secretary of the Stable Lads' Association.

Details of the investigation emerged in a report by the Trade Union Certification Officer, published on Monday, into the SLA's financial affairs between 1986 and 2006, the period during which Adams was national secretary.

The police investigation, which is ongoing, relates to money held in a separate bank account, known as the Stable Lads' Association No.2 Account, including sums paid to the SLA by the BHB from 1994 to 2005, for the purpose of "assisting the SLA in its welfare work".

During the 12-year period, these payments totalled more than pounds 200,000.

The payments were in addition to, and distinct from, the payments made to the SLA from 2001 under BHB Order 194, covering the allocation of prize-money.

Under this order, the SLA received 0.15 per cent of prize-money, which translated into sums rising from pounds 128,605 in 2002 to pounds 171,701 in 2005. These payments have been frozen until the BHB is satisfied that the SLA is in a position to manage the funds satisfactorily.

Gerard Walker, the assistant certification officer who conducted the investigation, reported that, in April 2007, the SLA's solicitors had been instructed to report "a potential financial irregularity to the police".

The certification officer, David Cockburn, directed Walker not to proceed further with his investigation of the SLA No.2 Account, as it appeared to him that, in the words of the relevant section of the 1992 Trade Union Act, "matters had come to light in the course of the investigation which suggest that a criminal offence has been committed and those matters have been referred to the appropriate prosecuting authority".

The report also examines "the processes involved for increases in salary and the payment of bonuses" to Adams, who received three pounds 10,000 bonuses between 2001 and 2005, when his salary, excluding bonuses, was pounds 37,000.

The rules of the SLA state: "The national committee shall determine the salary of the national secretary."

Walker was informed that a quorate meeting of the national committee had not been held between 1986 and late 2006, and concluded that "the issue of the national secretary's salary or increases was never discussed or determined by the national committee".

The SLA had "adopted an informal method involving the financial secretary the Reverend Vivien Baldwin and the national chairman determining the salary increases for Mr Adams", whose salary had been accurately reported to the certification office on the SLA's annual returns.

"However," the report concluded, "the fact remains that an important rule of the SLA relating to its finances was breached on a regular basis between 1986 and 2006."

Adams resigned as national secretary last December and, last month, Jim Cornelius was elected to succeed him.

When contacted by the Racing Post yesterday, Adams said he had "no comment at all" to make on the police investigation.

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Bill Adams: no comment to make about the investigation
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jun 20, 2007
Words:508
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