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Hungarian showjumper suspected of sabotage to be able to compete at the European Championships

Saturday, 03 February 2018
Sport

Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson A Hungarian rider is under suspicion for sabotage, and the Longines FEI European Championships 2017 is claimed to be his motive. Photo (c) Jenny Abrahamsson.

"Truly exceptional": That is how the FEI Tribunal describes the circumstances in a case concerning two Hungarian team-members and their horses where a third rider is under suspicion of sabotage, after the two horses tested positive on controlled substances during the CSI3*-W event in Bratislava (SVK) last summer. 

The two horses in question are Mariann Hugyecz's Chacco Boy and Gabor Szabo Jr.'s Timpex Bolcsesz. Both took part at the event in Bratislava back in August 2017, where the horses were selected for testing upon request due to an alleged sabotage.

The analysis showed positive findings of the controlled medication substance Acepromazine in the A sample of the horses.

"Acepromazine and Hydroxyethylpromazine/Hydroxyethylpromazine Sulphoxide (metabolites of Acepromazine) are tranquilisers used for sedation and peripheral vasodilation, and classified as Controlled Medication Substances under the Equine Prohibited Substances List. A positive finding for Acepromazine and Hydroxyethylpromazine/Hydroxyethylpromazine Sulphoxide in the Horses’ Sample constitutes a prima facie Equine Controlled Medication Rule violation," reads the decision from the FEI Tribunal.

A statement from the Hungarian Equestrian Federation to the FEI Tribunal sums up the events in the case as follows:

“Samples were collected from both of the horses concerned on 6th August 2017 at the CSI3 *-W held in Bratislava. The sample collections were not in connection with a Competition, but were requested by the persons responsible themselves, after informing the President of the Ground Jury. The two riders had experienced unusual symptoms on their horses the night before and the morning of the sample collection. Both riders decided -on their own, and not at the instructions of an official with such authority- not to participate in the Grand Prix on 6th August 2017 therefore bearing the consequences of not earning any raking points. Their decision was solely based on their commitment to the welfare of their horses and the prevention of having to compete with horses under the possible effect of controlled medication.”

“On 5th August 2017 two witnesses noticed another member of the Hungarian team -Laszlo Toth Jr.- leaving the box of Timpex Bolcsesz, which he had entered unauthorized. (Statements from both of the witnesses are at disposal.) The Hungarian Equestrian Federation believes that the entrance of Laszlo Toth Jr. to the box of Timpex Bolcsesz is highly likely to be in connection with the unwellness of the horse (the behaviour of which has been recorded on camera) and the positive test result. In the case of Chacco Boy, traces of injection use were been found on the skin of the horse which had also been recorded and documented with clinical and ultrasonic examination. On the night of 5th August Gabor Szabo Jr. immediately notified the stewards and the treating veterinarian about the incident and the behaviour of his horse. The President of the Ground Jury was also present during the recording of the statement of facts. On 6th August charges were pressed against an unknown individual for abuse at the local police station. The investigation included the questioning of Laszlo Toth Jr., (who had been appointed as wildcard of the national team of Hungary for the European Championships in Goteborg) and, who was spotted leaving the box of Timpex Bolcsesz.”

“According to the facts mentioned above and viewpoint of the Hungarian Equestrian Federation, there is a suspicion of crime committed by Laszlo Toth Jr. who violated the rules of the FEI General Regulations: Chapter VJ, Article 142 of the General Regulations sets forth: "No person may abuse a Horse during an Event or at any other time. "Abuse" means an action or omission which causes or is likely to cause pain or unnecessary discomfort to a Horse ( ... )" 

A statement from Gabor Szabo Jr. to the FEI Tribunal reveals what motive the involved parties believe Laszlo Toth Jr had in regards to the sabotage:

“The riders Mariann Hugyecz and Gabor Szabo Jr. are two of the four members of the National Team who were selected by the Hungarian Equestrian National Federation to compete in the 2017 European Jumping Championships, while Laszlo Toth Jr. was the fifth, spare member of the National Team. In the event of any one member of the team becoming unable to compete, Laszlo Toth Jr., as a spare, would have been included in the competing National Team.”

In their decision, the FEI Tribunal writes that:

(…)

“The FEI has proceeded to evaluate the level of Fault and Negligence of the PR. The FEI is satisfied that the PRs have demonstrated that they bore no Fault or Negligence for these rule violations as described above under 3.”

“The FEI accepts that the circumstances of the case were truly exceptional on the basis that the presence of the Controlled Substances in the Horses’ Samples were most likely due to sabotage of Mr Laszlo Toth. The Hungarian NF has already opened proceedings against Mr Laszlo Toth and suspended him from activity in the NF. As the fifth rider of the national team it is also highly likely that Mr Laszlo Toth has sabotaged for the PRs and their Horses, in order to be able to compete at the European Championship. Further, both Horses tested positive for the very same substance, and the Horses were found to not be well on the Sunday and could therefore not compete on the final day of the Event. Based on the submissions made, the evidence of sabotage, the involvement of the FEI Officials and the Slovakian Police, it has been proven very likely that the Horses were sabotaged and injected with Acepromazine by Mr Laszlo Toth during the Event.”

(…)

“The FEI reserves its right to open a case against Mr Laszlo Toth Junior, as the Additional Person Responsible due to sabotage, and/or abuse of horse, in relation to his action of sabotage in the above mentioned cases.”

To read the decision from the FEI Tribunal, click here. 



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