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Eels' inquiry into alleged attempt to fix election

Date

Exclusive Chris Barrett

The Parramatta Eels are investigating the systematic tampering of memberships in the lead-up to last year's Parramatta Leagues Club elections and a break-in and suspected theft of their records.

While Brad Arthur's rejuvenated team are sitting fourth on the NRL premiership ladder after 11 rounds, the fresh off-field probe has found up to 150 memberships were covertly entered into their database and backdated by three years in a ploy that gave those members automatic voting rights.

The tampering is alleged to have been carried out on club computers on April 4 and April 5, 2013, mostly between 6am and 9am when the Parramatta Leagues Club was not open.

And in a further development, the Eels have called in police after a break-in and the alleged theft of records last week from their archives facility near the club headquarters. Furthermore, witnesses have told officials there was an attempt to break into a private audit room that has been set up inside the leagues club building to carry out the investigation.

The internal inquiry, still in its early stages, continues with an investigator to be added to the team of six IT personnel who have been trawling through the club's electronic records for several weeks.

Parramatta Leagues Club (PLC) chief executive Bevan Paul on Tuesday confirmed the Eels' new inquiry and its alarming initial findings when contacted by the Herald.

''What we know is that there has been some tampering of membership records and the tampering is of a nature that would suggest the objective is so those people could vote,'' Paul said.

The backdating of new memberships occurred just weeks before last year's PLC elections on May 11 and is alleged to have begun three days after Parramatta were thrashed 50-0 by the Roosters.

Members must be financial for three years and be board approved to vote, according to the Eels' constitution.

The poll of members was a tightly contested affair and produced a change of leadership, with Roy Spagnolo's Parra 4 Eva campaign unsuccessful in retaining the chairmanship he had held since 2009 and losing his place on the board completely.

TheHerald can reveal that many of the approximately 150 member records so far found to have been tampered with were in the names of associates, family or friends of Spagnolo. Of the memberships entered in a frenzied two days on the database last April and backdated so their registration dates read March 2010, six have the surname Spagnolo.

Among others to have had tampered memberships identified are Spagnolo's friend Roy Mittiga and six others with that surname, Spagnolo's brother-in-law Patrick Agostino, real estate agent Pat Sergi and three other Sergis, relatives of Spagnolo's friends George Gaitanos and Vince Lombardo, another Spagnolo business associate Chris Crawley and porn king Con Ange.

Sergi, named at the Woodward royal commission in relation to connections with former crime boss Robert Trimbole, last month appeared before the Independent Commission Against Corruption hearing into political fund-raising.

Three others identified as having memberships altered are Libertinis. Mario Libertini ran on Spagnolo's ticket at the 2013 election and is a PLC director. Spagnolo is still chair of the Parramatta District Rugby League Club, but was last October banned for two years from holding a PLC directorship.

Eels memberships are created and entered at the leagues club, with the new member's photo for their card taken by staff at the front desk before a generic backdrop.

Aside from the backdating, the Parramatta investigation found photographs on membership records with a different background, as well as some duplicates - photos that have been used for more than one membership. It is understood that a few of the members were listed as being 18 years of age, meaning they would have been only 15 - three years below the age of eligibility - when they supposedly first became financial members.

Paul said the inquiry had not yet determined who was responsible for the tampering, but confirmed the changes occurred mostly early on two mornings in April during hours when the leagues club was closed.

''The records suggest that, yes,'' Paul said. ''Some has been; we don't know if all of it has been because we haven't finished looking at all the records yet.''

He said it was suspected records had been taken from the club's archive facility on Ferris Street during a break-in last week.

''We think so, yes,'' Paul said. ''But we don't have an inventory of what was stored down there, so it's hard to say what was stolen.''

The Eels are already awaiting the outcome of a NSW Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing Investigation into alleged irregularities under the previous administration, and Paul is expected to update PLC directors on the findings of the new probe at a board meeting on Friday morning.

Spagnolo did not return the Herald's calls on Tuesday.

Do you know more? chris.barrett@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Twitter - @ChrisBarrett_

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NRL Season 2015

Round 1
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PAR 42vs MAN 12 Report Report Stats
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NEW 24vs NZW 14 Report Stats
GCT 18vs WST 19 Report Stats
NQL 4vs SYD 28 Report Stats
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PEN 24vs CBY 18 Report Stats
CRO 20vs CBR 24 Report Stats
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STG 4vs MEL 12 Report Stats
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Round 2
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CBY 32vs PAR 12 Report Stats
CRO 2vs BRI 10 Report Stats
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PEN 40vs GCT 0 Report Stats
MAN 24vs MEL 22 Stats
NQL 14vs NEW 16 Report Stats
Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 34vs SYD 26 Stats
CBR 6vs NZW 18 Report Stats
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WST 22vs STG 4 Stats
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Round 3
Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
MAN 12vs CBY 16 Report Stats
BRI 44vs NQL 22 Report Stats
Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 29vs PAR 16 Report Stats
CBR 20vs STG 22 Report Stats
MEL 36vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Sun, 22 MarTimes shown AEDT
SOU 20vs WST 6 Report Stats
GCT 18vs NEW 20 Report Stats
Mon, 23 MarTimes shown AEDT
SYD 20vs PEN 12 Report Stats
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Round 4
Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
PAR 29vs SOU 16 Report Stats
WST 24vs CBY 25 Report Stats
Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
NEW 26vs PEN 14 Report Stats
CRO 22vs GCT 24 Report Stats
STG 12vs MAN 4 Report Stats
Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
NZW 16vs BRI 24 Report Stats
SYD 34vs CBR 6 Report Stats
Mon, 30 MarTimes shown AEDT
NQL 18vs MEL 17 Stats
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Round 5
Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
CBY 17vs SOU 18 Report Stats
GCT 16vs BRI 26 Report Stats
Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
MAN 16vs CBR 29 Report Stats
NEW 0vs STG 13 Report Stats
Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
SYD 12vs CRO 20 Report Stats
Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 6vs WST 22 Report Stats
MEL 30vs NZW 14 Report Stats
PEN 10vs NQL 30 Report Stats
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Round 6
Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
BRI 22vs SYD 18 Report Stats
CRO 22vs NEW 6 Report Stats
Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
PAR 16vs GCT 38 Report Stats
NZW 32vs WST 22 Report Stats
PEN 22vs MAN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
CBR 10vs MEL 14 Report Stats
STG 31vs CBY 6 Report Stats
Mon, 13 AprTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs NQL 30 Report Stats
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Round 7
Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 28vs MAN 16 Report Stats
STG 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
GCT 32vs PEN 6 Report Stats
NQL 28vs NZW 24 Report Stats
MEL 17vs SYD 16 Report Stats
Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
WST 22vs CBR 30 Report Stats
NEW 22vs PAR 28 Report Stats
Mon, 20 AprTimes shown AEST
CRO 18vs SOU 10 Stats
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Round 8
Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
CBY 14vs WST 38 Stats
Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs GCT 32 Report Stats
NEW 24vs NQL 26 Report Stats
SYD 12vs STG 14 Report Stats
MEL 10vs MAN 12 Stats
BRI 28vs PAR 16 Stats
Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
PEN 26vs CRO 18 Stats
SOU 22vs CBR 30 Stats
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Round 9
Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs PEN 5 Report Stats
SYD 36vs WST 4 Stats
Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 56vs GCT 16 Stats
CRO 16vs NZW 20 Stats
NQL 23vs CBY 16 Stats
Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs NEW 10 Stats
PAR 10vs MEL 28 Stats
Mon, 11 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 16vs STG 10 Stats
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Round 10
Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
CBY 10vs SYD 24 Stats
NQL 31vs BRI 20 Stats
Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
PAR 13vs NZW 17 Report Stats
GCT 22vs CRO 23 Report Stats
MEL 16vs SOU 12 Stats
Sun, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
STG 32vs CBR 18 Report Stats
NEW 22vs WST 12 Stats
Mon, 18 MayTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs PEN 11 Stats
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Round 11
Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
SOU 14vs PAR 12 Report Stats
Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
WST 0vs NQL 8 Stats
Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs CBY 41 Stats
Mon, 25 MayTimes shown AEST
NEW 18vs BRI 31 Stats
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Round 12
Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs PAR 26 Stats
Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
GCT 16vs SOU 22 Report Stats
CBR 12vs BRI 24 Stats
NQL 18vs MAN 14 Report Stats
Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
NZW 24vs NEW 20 Stats
STG 42vs CRO 6 Stats
Mon, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs MEL 2 Report Stats
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Round 13
Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs MAN 10 Report Stats
WST 20vs GCT 27 Report Stats
Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 22vs CBR 44 Stats
SOU 36vs NZW 4 Stats
PEN 0vs MEL 20 Report Stats
Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
CRO 10vs SYD 4 Stats
Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 29vs STG 16 Stats
PAR 30vs NQL 36 Report Stats
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Round 14
Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
WST 34vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 21vs SYD 25 Report Stats
Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBY 14 Stats
Mon, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
MEL 22vs PAR 26 Report Stats
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Round 15
Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
MAN 30vs WST 20 Report Stats
Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs NQL 21 Report Stats
GCT 14vs NZW 36 Report Stats
CBY 24vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
NEW 28vs CRO 30 Report Stats
MEL 12vs BRI 14 Report Stats
Mon, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
STG 14vs SYD 19 Report Stats
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Round 16
Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
BRI 44vs NEW 22 Stats
SOU 20vs MAN 8 Report Stats
Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
NZW 30vs CBR 8 Stats
NQL 18vs CRO 24 Report Stats
PAR 16vs STG 12 Report Stats
Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
SYD 20vs GCT 10 Stats
WST 12vs PEN 35 Stats
Mon, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
CBY 20vs MEL 4 Report Stats
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Round 17
Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 20vs SOU 6 Report Stats
Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
STG 12vs NQL 18 Report Stats
Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 28vs CRO 16 Report Stats
Mon, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
WST 16vs PAR 28 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 18
Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 36vs NEW 22 Stats
Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 4vs SYD 24 Stats
CBY 8vs BRI 16 Stats
Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 28vs MEL 14 Report Stats
CRO 28vs STG 8 Report Stats
Mon, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
GCT 6vs MAN 38 Stats
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Round 19
Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
PAR 4vs CBY 28 Report Stats
MEL 52vs PEN 10 Report Stats
Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
CBR 20vs CRO 21 Report Stats
NEW 30vs GCT 2 Report Stats
STG 8vs SOU 24 Report Stats
Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 24vs NZW 0 Report Stats
BRI 42vs WST 16 Stats
Mon, 20 JulTimes shown AEST
MAN 12vs NQL 30 Stats
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Round 20
Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
BRI 34vs GCT 0 Report Stats
WST 8vs SYD 33 Stats
Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
NZW 12vs MAN 32 Stats
MEL 22vs STG 4 Stats
SOU 52vs NEW 6 Stats
Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
PEN 24vs CBR 34 Report Stats
CBY 16vs CRO 18 Report Stats
Mon, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
NQL 46vs PAR 4 Stats
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Round 21
Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
SYD 38vs CBY 28 Report Stats
WST 34vs MEL 16 Report Stats
Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 14vs CRO 18 Stats
NQL 32vs CBR 24 Stats
MAN 44vs BRI 14 Stats
Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 46vs NEW 24 Stats
SOU 20vs PEN 16 Report Stats
Mon, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 24vs PAR 14 Stats
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Round 22
Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 16vs CBY 18 Report Stats
MAN 28vs SOU 8 Stats
Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
NZW 0vs STG 36 Stats
CRO 30vs NQL 18 Stats
PAR 10vs PEN 4 Stats
Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
NEW 22vs SYD 38 Report Stats
Mon, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 18vs WST 20 Stats
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Round 23
Thu, 13 AugTimes shown AEST
NQL 18vs SOU 31 Stats
Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
BRI 32vs STG 6 Report Stats
Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 18vs NEW 24 Stats
PEN 24vs NZW 10 Stats
SYD 28vs PAR 18 Stats
Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 24vs MAN 26 Stats
CBY 36vs GCT 14 Report Stats
Mon, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 2vs MEL 30 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 24
Thu, 20 AugTimes shown AEST
STG 19vs PEN 12 Report Stats
Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 18vs CBY 32 Report Stats
Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
CRO 40vs WST 18 Report Stats
NZW 16vs NQL 50 Report Stats
SYD 12vs BRI 10 Report Stats
Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
GCT 28vs CBR 12 Stats
MAN 16vs PAR 20 Report Stats
Mon, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
MEL 6vs NEW 20 Report Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 25
Thu, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
SOU 12vs BRI 47 Report Stats
Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
MAN 10vs SYD 46 Report Stats
Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
PAR 28vs CRO 35 Stats
NEW 18vs CBY 20 Stats
MEL 14vs NQL 6 Report Stats
Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
WST 50vs NZW 16 Report Stats
GCT 28vs STG 26 Stats
Mon, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
CBR 34vs PEN 18 Stats
View All Fixtures
Round 26
Thu, 03 SepTimes shown AEST
BRI 8vs MEL 15 Report Stats
Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
SYD ($1.48)vs SOU ($2.70) 19:45AS
Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
PEN ($2.40)vs NEW ($1.60) 15:00Pepp
STG ($1.70)vs WST ($2.20) 17:30ANZ
NQL ($1.22)vs GCT ($4.40) 19:301300
Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
PAR ($1.60)vs CBR ($2.40) 14:00Pirtek
CRO ($1.50)vs MAN ($2.65) 16:00Rem
CBY ($1.06)vs NZW ($10.00) 18:30ANZ
View All Fixtures
NRL Ladder 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D Pts
Sydney Roosters 23 17 6 0 38
Brisbane Broncos 24 17 7 0 38
North Queensland Cowboys 23 16 7 0 36
Melbourne Storm 24 14 10 0 32
Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks 23 14 9 0 32
Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 23 13 10 0 30
South Sydney Rabbitohs 23 13 10 0 30
St George-Illawarra Dragons 23 11 12 0 26
View all
 

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