Covert police surveillance has led to a media personality becoming embroiled in the major investigation into alleged corruption in the harness racing industry.
National Organised Crime Group detectives have interviewed Trackside presenter Greg O’Connor after gaining information from phone conversations.
O’Connor has been questioned over a series of bets, which police believe were placed on behalf of two Canterbury drivers allegedly involved in fixing races.
The Star has learned O’Connor may now become a key witness as court cases over alleged race-fixing and drug offences unfold over the coming months.
The Star can reveal O’Connor was questioned as a result of information gathered from electronic phone surveillance, The bugging has been part of the 17-month investigation which has led to 13 people being charged on a variety of offences including race-fixing and drugs charges, mainly ecstasy.
O’Connor is not one of those charged.
One of the two drivers for whom bets were allegedly placed is already facing the courts. The other is expected to be interviewed by detectives when he returns from overseas.
The driver who has been charged currently has district court-granted interim name suppression.
O’Connor did not return calls to The Star yesterday. He was also not at the Trackside Christchurch office.
His father Brian O’Connor told The Star his son had disconnected his phone because of “everything that is going on.”
The New Zealand Racing Board which oversees Trackside, would not comment when approached by The Star.
Trackside is a racing channel which screens on Sky TV. It covers harness, galloping and greyhound races daily and produces documentaries on the racing industry.
Police also would not respond to questions about their interview with O’Connor.