Both Newcastle United and West Ham United are at the center of a huge fraud investigation by tax authorities in the UK.
HMRC released a statement on Wednesday saying that 180 officers had been deployed across the UK and France and that it had arrested “several men working within the professional football industry.”
Financial and business records, cell phones and computers were seized in the raids which is in relation to income tax and national insurance fraud.
In a statement HMRC had the following to say about the ongoing investigation.
“180 HMRC officers have been deployed across the UK and France today. 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 French authorities are assisting the UK investigation, have made arrests and several locations have been searched in France. 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.”
Unconfirmed reports state that Lee Charnley, the managing director of Newcastle United, was arrested during raids on the training ground and St James’ Park.
West Ham released the following statement following the raid on their London Stadium home early on Wednesday.
“The clubs is cooperating fully with HMRC to assist their inquiries. No further comment will be made at this time.”
HMRC has recently stepped up its investigations into the tax paid by soccer clubs on lucrative transfer fees and image rights.