Wednesday’s drama involving Newcastle United, with the questioning of Lee Charnley and HMRC raids on St James Park & training ground, was never going to quickly fade away.
Lee Charnley was allowed to go home last night after questioning and the HMRC investigation will no doubt take a considerable time before we find out if there has been any wrongdoing by any party, whether at Newcastle or elsewhere.
However, it was always likely to spark the media into life and there is one very interesting report this morning.
The Sun claim that the whole HMRC investigation was sparked when they looked at the move of Demba Ba from West Ham to Newcastle, the player said to have a relegation clause at the time that was triggered, allowing the striker to join NUFC for ‘free’.
This then led to numerous other transfers being looked at, with those of Yohan Cabaye and Mathieu Debuchy from Lille to Newcastle amongst those claimed to be under investigation.
However, The Sun report includes an exclusive on another Ligue 1 player who joined Newcastle – Henri Saivet.
The midfielder moving to St James Park in January 2016 for a reported fee of £4.5m.
Franck Peslerbe was the agent of Henri Saivet for 10 years but claims that Newcastle United’s Chief Scout, Graham Carr, told the then Bordeaux player that he had to move agents if he wanted to sign for the Magpies.
Saivet duly switched to agent Rudy Raba and he signed for Newcastle, a transfer that baffled NUFC fans at the time as the club was fighting a relegation battle and were desperate for defenders and strikers, yet had numerous central midfield options. Henri Saivet ending up making only two Premier League starts and didn’t play a single minute of football under Rafa Benitez.
The Sun report that Peslerbe also alleges that Newcastle United increased the agent’s fee from the standard five% of Saivet’s £35,000 a week salary to eight%. Which meant Raba banked £800,000, £300,000 more than Peslerbe would have earned.
The Sun state that they have seen the contract Henri Saivet signed and it also demanded that Raba’s commission be paid upfront, rather than the usual staggered payments over the length of the deal.
“Henri Saivet called me and said he had received a call from Graham Carr (pictured above to the left of Mike Ashley) who asked him to sign a mandate with Raba if he really wanted to move to Newcastle.
“Carr had apparently said to Henri that it was difficult to make a deal with a French agent, so it was better for him to let this other agent work on the deal.
“I immediately called and emailed Carr to give him the chance to say he had no direct part in it. I got no response so I emailed Charnley about it and he replied telling me not to contact Carr anymore about this case.
“But what reason could there be for Carr to tell the player to sign for another agent?”
Recent seasons have seen Newcastle United be one of the clubs to make the highest payments to agents each season, regulations mean that each club has to give the total paid to representatives/agents ove the course of each 12 months.