Anglo-French soccer fraud probe sees raids on teams, arrests
Tax investigators launched a crackdown on suspected fraud in soccer in England and France on Wednesday with arrests and raids on teams after 180 officers were deployed in a far-reaching investigation.
Premier League leader Chelsea said investigators arrived at Stamford Bridge and “requested certain information which the club will provide.” Officials from Britain’s tax agency, HMRC, were pictured during early morning swoops on two clubs — Newcastle and West Ham — to seize potential evidence.
Premier League club West Ham said it was “cooperating fully with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs to assist their enquiries” at its east London stadium. Newcastle, which secured promotion back to the Premier League on Monday, was silent on the raids at its northeast England base.
“This criminal investigation sends a clear message that, whoever you are, if you commit tax fraud you can expect to face the consequences,” HMRC said in a statement.
The clubs or individuals involved were not named but the agency told legislators in December that 43 players and 12 soccer clubs in the British leagues, alongside eight agents, were being investigated. The French branch of the investigation only emerged after the raids on Wednesday.