Controversial gambling figure Eddie Hayson has revealed he provided free sex to rugby league players at a brothel he owned but continues to staunchly deny any involvement in alleged NRL match fixing.
Hayson spent nearly an hour at an extraordinary press conference in Sydney on Thursday addressing allegations surrounding three NRL matches at the centre of a NSW police strike force probe and his friendships with players.
The high-stakes punter divulged that players, police officers and judges were among the clientele at the Sydney brothel he used to own, Stiletto.
He said he offered footballers and jockeys free sex to promote his business because “word of mouth is a very powerful tool”.
He denied doing so to gain leverage in order to make money on NRL games, claiming “inside information doesn’t really exist in rugby league”.
During the press conference called for him by celebrity agent Max Markson, he lashed out at the media’s “lies” and claimed his name had been erroneously used to “embellish” a fictitious underworld fix that a bikie then told to police.
“I have never fixed a match in my life, never,” Hayson reiterated.
“I have never bribed a player or even attempted to interfere with the result of an NRL match or any other sport.”
Hayson admitted attempting to place $30,000 into the Ladbrokes betting account of good friend Kieran Foran, from whom he said he would steer clear if it allowed the troubled ex-Parramatta skipper to rekindle his career.
Hayson said he tried to put the money into Foran’s account for his own use, and said it was not unusual for people to use others’ betting accounts.
Dozens of players, officials and others are expected to be interviewed by Strike Force Nuralda over the alleged match fixing in the coming months.
Reports in June linked Hayson to two 2015 Manly games, one against South Sydney and the other against Parramatta, to investigations.
Hayson was adamant he “didn’t place one dollar” on either match.
“Nobody on my behalf, no commissioning agent,” he said.
“They’ve investigated the games thoroughly already.”
He acknowledged “maybe one or two people” had placed bets on his behalf on a third match under police scrutiny, between the Sea Eagles and Parramatta this season, but said he couldn’t recall the total amount.
An $18,000 bet was reportedly placed on the Eels winning by five points or more, from which some of the proceeds reportedly ended up in the accounts of Foran and his brother Liam.
“He didn’t benefit from a bet,” said Hayson, who added there was no money trail from the bet.
“His brother put $2000 in his account three weeks later.”
Hayson said he gave cash payments to people all the time because he’s “a very generous person”.
He estimated the most he has bet on a Parramatta game this year was in the vicinity of $100,000 or $200,000, but he had not put money on the Eels for around two months.