Top crime fighter hits back at critics

AUSTRALIA'S top crime fighting agency has defended itself against allegations of grandstanding after rocking the nation with an intelligence report exposing organised crime links and drug use in the country's favourite sports.

The Australian Crime Commission's chief executive John Lawler hit back on Saturday at critics to clear up ''confusion'' as to why he did not name names, given the explosive nature of the allegations.

Mr Lawler said classified strategic assessments had been sent to all police agencies around the country and Commonwealth agencies, which were now responsible for pursuing action.

''Very detailed information, the names of the clubs, the names of all the persons, the details of how, when and why and where, based on the intelligence, the persons suspected, has been provided to the anti-doping agency ASADA and to the police. Particularly the NSW and Victorian police,'' he told Fairfax Media.

Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare echoed Mr Lawler's comments as a number of sporting identities and commentators questioned the investigation and motives behind the report's release along with its veracity.

The concerted defence came as revelations of drug taking in sport at senior levels continued, with veteran boxer Dean Waters revealing he had seen fighters dope themselves on multiple occasions.

And the high level of use of performance enhancing drugs has been shown by record seizures of performance enhancing drugs by Customs and Border Protection, a trend that was the catalyst for the ACC investigation.

Statistics show cargo and post seizures of drugs including peptides rose from 2493 in 2009-10 to 8314 in 2011-12.

Mr Lawler said secrecy provisions, legislation and ongoing operational concerns prevented the ACC from naming and shaming the corrupt sporting teams, players and managers.

''We got very good co-operation from the [sporting] codes. They got classified briefings, so they know the clubs, who is involved. But under our legislation they are not allowed to disclose that to the clubs,'' he said.

''I am working with the codes to see if we can find a way through the legal framework so that they could disclose which clubs are actually implicated but those discussions are ongoing.''

Mr Lawler said one ACC investigation was into match fixing but would not comment on claims it was an A-League football match between Melbourne Victory and Adelaide United last December that resulted in $49 million placed with a Hong Kong bookmaker.

But the Football Federation Australian has said no match was under investigation.

A spokesman for the NSW Police Force confirmed it had worked with the ACC on a specific allegation of illicit drug use, but no charges were laid and the investigation had been suspended.

The NSW Police are not investigating any match fixing allegations.

A Customs spokesman attributed the sharp increases to an explosion of online shopping in recent years. Furthermore, many offenders were unaware they were buying a supplement that contained a banned substance.

''The easy access to these substances over the internet make people believe that it is legally acceptable in Australia,'' the spokesman said, adding the use of performance enhancing drugs had spread from body builders and elite athletes to the broader market.

One US-based distributor, Pure Peptides, which also supplies HGH, claims to have received more than 10,000 orders from Australia over the past year.

Law enforcement agencies and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Authority have also failed to stem the proliferation of anti-ageing clinics that promise the fountain of youth by openly prescribing drugs such as HGH.

This story Top crime fighter hits back at critics first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.