Bar owner quizzed

Rhino boss in­ter­viewed over Cow­boys bet­ting sting

Townsville Bulletin - - Front Page - by Nathan Paull nathan. paull@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

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

Joel Soli­nas

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