Written by: Keith Tully
Published: 26th April 2017
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers have raided the offices of two of England’s largest and best known football clubs over issues relating to suspected income tax and national insurance (NI) fraud.
Newcastle United and West Ham United are the two clubs involved in HMRC’s investigations, the focus of which are reportedly the financial sides of deals taking various professional players to and from their respective teams over the course of recent months and years.
Lee Charnley, the managing director of Newcastle United, has reportedly been arrested after HMRC gained warrants to enter offices at St James’s Park, home of Newcastle United, and the London Stadium, where West Ham United now play their home matches.
Mr Charnley is understood to have played a leading role in transfer dealings at Newcastle United over the past several years, with the club having only this week gained promotion back to the Premier League and the top tier of English football after being relegated in 2016.
Statements from HMRC explain that its investigations have involved cooperation with French authorities and have seen several premises in France and England searched as part of its probe.
The UK’s main tax-gathering body confirmed that it had arrested “several men working within the professional football industry for suspected income tax and national insurance fraud”.
A total of 180 HMRC officers were apparently deployed on the morning of Wednesday April 26th at a variety of different locations.
“Investigators have searched a number of premises in the North East and South East of England and arrested the men and also seized business records, financial records, computers and mobile phones,” the HMRC has said.
“This criminal investigation sends a clear message that, whoever you are, if you commit tax fraud you can expect to face the consequences. As this is an ongoing investigation HMRC is unable to provide any further detail at this time.”
For its part West Ham United has said that it will be cooperating fully with HMRC in relation to its investigations but will not be commenting further on the matter.