Bar owner quizzed
Rhino boss interviewed over Cowboys betting sting
THE owner of a popular Townsville nightclub has been caught up in a police investigation of a betting plunge on a North Queensland Cowboys game last year.
Rhino Bar owner Joel Solinas was reportedly interviewed by New South Wales police in Townsville on Saturday night.
Police have identified the four people captured on CCTV video placing bets on the NRL Round 24 Cowboys-Bulldogs clash last year – two in Sydney and two in Townsville.
Police have said there is no suggestion that any of the men has done anything illegal, but yesterday confirmed all the men were identified.
A police spokeswoman said all the men would be interviewed by police in coming days.
Police refused to provide any more information about the police officers’ presence in Townsville or Mr Solinas’ involvement in the investigation.
Mr Solinas’ legal representative, Michael Springer of Emanate Legal, said he could not comment on his client’s involvement in the betting scandal investigation yesterday.
‘‘ At this present time, it’s not appropriate that any comment be made by Emanate Legal,’’ he said. Mr Solinas’ upmarket Rhino Bar on Palmer St in South Townsville is known to be a popular hangout for Cowboys players.
His involvement comes after Cowboys co-captain Johnathan Thurston’s manager Sam Ayoub was arrested on Thursday following a five-month police invest i gation i nto an alleged attempted betting sting on the Cowboys-Bulldogs NRL match on August 21. The 49-year-old former rugby league player John Elias, who was also charged with attempting to defraud betting agencies, faces up to 10 years in jail if found guilty of the charges.
About $ 50,000 was staked that the first points of the match would come from a Cowboys penalty goal. A penalty was awarded early in the contest, but punters lost out after Cowboys hooker Anthony Watts opted for a quick tap and scored a try.
The player penalised, Ryan Tandy, was charged with giving false evidence to a law enforcement agency over the alleged scam. He pleaded not guilty on Thursday. Despite police invest i gators t r avelli ng north t o Townsville, Cowboys CEO Peter Jourdain r emains confident there is no club involvement.
The Rhino Bar, owned by Joel Solinas