The HMRC raids and arrests at West Ham and Newcastle have now taken another twist.
News broke this morning (see original story below) that 180 HMRC officers were involved in a major operation in both the UK and France, targeting football clubs.
After the offices of Newcastle and West Ham were raided in early morning raids on Wednesday morning, it was reported that the raids/investigation involved transfer activity at the clubs, with agents also involved, and issues surrounding tax and national insurance.
Now breaking news in France has seen Marseille implicated in the investigation, with French radio station RTL giving the breaking news that the ex-board of Marseille are also a target for HMRC.
Get French Football News reporting on RTL breaking news:
“Breaking | Marseille’s ex-board also a target for tax investigation by English & French authorities relating to Newcastle & West Ham. RTL”
Marseille were sold in October 2016 after suffering chronic financial problems in recent years.
Former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt bought the club from Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, who had taken over the running of the club after the death of her husband.
Frank McCourt – October 2016:
“To participate in the history of Olympique de Marseille and guide the club to success, both on the pitch and off, is an honour and privilege for my family and myself,” McCourt said.
“I’m very excited about making Marseille a champion again.”
Margarita Louis-Dreyfus – October 2016:
“Today, Olympique de Marseille turns a page in its history.
“A new owner who would care for our fantastic club has been chosen among many candidates, in a long and diligent process.
“I am sure Frank McCourt will be the best choice to succeed my family and secure a great future for OM.”
Remy Cabella was sold by Montpellier to Newcastle in summer 2014, then loaned to Marseille in summer 2015 (when under the direction of the former board) with a trigger for a permanent deal.
The former Marseille management sold Florian Thauvin to Newcastle in August 2015 before loaning him back in January 2016. A further year’s loan then agreed in August 2016 with a permanent deal trigger that was passed after only three appearances this season with the transfer to formally go through in summer 2017.
As for West Ham, they bought Dimitri Payet in summer 2015 when the ex-Marseille board were in operation, only to sell him back to the Ligue 1 club in January 2017 after the McCourt administration took over.
On The Mag earlier today (Wednesday 26 April 2017):
Newcastle United have been raided by HMRC officials and Mike Ashley’s main man, Lee Charnley, has been arrested.
A large scale operation has seen 180 Revenue and Customs offers deployed in both the UK and France, with West Ham also having HMRC officers raid their premises.
It is reported that the raids/investigation involves transfer activity at the clubs,with agents also involved, and issues surrounding tax and national insurance.
There has been an official statement now from West Ham.
Short and sweet:
“The club is cooperating fully with HMRC to assist their enquiries.
“No further comment will be made at this time.”
As yet there has nothing official from Newcastle United after the raid and Charnley’s arrest.
From the Newcastle angle, George Caulkin who covers North East sport for The Times broke the story:
“My understanding is that HM Revenue & Customs are investigating transfer activity at Newcastle United & that Lee Charnley has been arrested.”
HMRC confirmed the investigation was in action:
“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.”
It is also being reported that other football clubs could also end up being part of the investigation.