NRL player manager George Mimis has vowed to fight a six-month suspension over his involvement in the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal in 2010.
Mimis, head of the SFX Sports Group, represents the Storm's superstar fullback Billy Slater, and was banned by the Rugby League Player Agent Accreditation Committee with immediate effect until October 31, along with David Riolo and Isaac Moses of the Titan Management Group.
Allan Gainey, who manages South Sydney and former Melbourne centre Greg Inglis, was issued with a caution.
The committee ruled at a meeting on Wednesday night that each of the agents had breached the rules of the scheme and the code of ethics for accredited agents in relation to the salary cap rort, which was uncovered in 2010 and resulted in the Storm being stripped of their 2007 and 2009 premierships.
Mimis, in a statement on Thursday, denied any wrongdoing and claimed he'd provided a statutory declaration to the committee from Slater to show there had been nothing untoward in their dealings with the club.
"I strongly maintain my innocence in this matter," Mimis said.
"I have given a detailed account to the player agent committee of the relevant dealings including co-operation with the salary cap auditor with his enquiries.
"I maintain my innocence throughout this matter and my innocence was supported by a statutory declaration given by the player as to the sequence of events.
"The Committee's decision is, personally, a heavy disappointment. I intend to take all steps open to me to have the decision set aside."
ARL chief executive David Gallop lauded the decision of the committee, chaired by Tony Whitlam QC and made up of Martin Meredith from the NRL, Australian Secondary Schools Rugby League President Bruce Wallace, David Garnsey and Ben Bana from the RLPA and agents Wayne Beavis and Steve Deacon.
Gallop said the suspensions represented a significant stance for the accreditation committee and the game.
"The salary cap is a foundation stone of our competition which has produced the most unpredictable and exciting footy again this season," Gallop said.
"The penalties for breaching it must be substantial as we saw because of the large scale nature of what happened at the Storm.
"Anyone who was complicit in that must know that the net may fall on them.
"That has happened here and the effect of not being able to negotiate contracts for six months will cause anyone tempted to be part of a breach to think again.
"Equally to be suspended by one's peers and other representatives of the game is not the reputation that anyone would wish for. A clear warning is now out there."
The ban prevents the trio from negotiating contracts for their clients, but does not stretch to stopping them from speaking to their players or scouting for young players.
However, they are unable to sign individuals directly to their companies until their bans have been served, but other members of the staff who are accredited could still operate on their behalf.
Riolo and Moses, who represent Storm skipper Cameron Smith and back-rower Ryan Hoffman, were unavailable for comment, but it's believed they will also fight the decision.