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Monday, March 14, 2005

Odd Shoe News

Shoe Used to Rob Casino
Daily Telegraph

A BATTERED shoe worn by a Hungarian tourist in Sydney has sparked an investigation into a syndicate cheating top casinos across Europe.

Two Belgian police officers will fly to Sydney later this month to study the shoe design which they suspect could be behind the multi-million dollar European fraud.

Four years ago, Sydney detectives arrested Hungarian tourist Laszlo Sendor Kovacs after he won large bets at a Star City casino roulette wheel.

Casino security personnel became suspicious of the then 59-year-old gambler constantly tapping his right foot under a roulette table.

Police found a Maxwell Smart-style microcomputer hidden in the heel and sole of his scuffed elevated dress shoe.

With a tap of a toe, a microcomputer in the shoe transmitted a voice-synthesised message to a wireless micro-earpiece telling the user of roulette wheel's speed. This could help calculate the next number that would appear.

Police found $74,184 in cash and chips on Kovacs' body including $10,000 in his underpants.

The Daily Telegraph has learned Belgian and Sydney police are assisting a royal commission-style inquiry, known as the European Union Court of First Instance, into large scale casino frauds which they suspect involves shoes allegedly designed by Kovacs.

The Sydney shoe is the only one of its kind found so far.

Kovacs, a professional gambler, was deported from Australia in 2001 before he could be sentenced over "using a device" to defraud the Star City Casino. A warrant for his arrest is now in place should he return to Australia.

European police believe he is the gadgets man and may have assisted a well-known European criminal gang perfect the microprocessor shoe technology. He has been questioned by police in Europe, including in London.

A Star City spokesman yesterday confirmed Belgian police will visit the casino.

Kovacs, who visited every casino along the east coast, had won more than $120,000 at Star City before his arrest, although police suspect he won twice that amount. Evidence show he used the Pyrmont Post Office to wire a large amount of money in $10,000 lots, to an overseas account.

NSW Police yesterday declined to comment on the case "on advice from Belgian authorities".

Mystery Shoe Saga
BBC News

Pairs of shoes are being left in mysterious circumstances outside a remote farmhouse in Lincolnshire.

Jason and Claire Foster, who live near Market Rasen, do not know who is doing it or why they have left as many as four pairs of shoes at one time.

The family have video footage, which shows an elderly couple driving by in a green vehicle depositing the shoes.

Mrs Foster said that although it was scary at first, she was rather hoping some of the pairs might fit.

What I do is kick them in the pants with a diamond buckled shoe!
~~Aileen Mehle~~

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