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.



  • MickM

    What sort of points deduction are we looking at here?

    • anyobrien

      none

    • Geordie-7676

      Zilch!

  • Alex

    So, the common denominator seems to be Marseille. Let’s hope it’s them that’s the main target for investigation, and the British clubs involvement is only down to having done business with Marseille.

  • james new

    did rangers get demoted for the same thing

    • Polarboy

      I’m pretty sure you can only be demoted if the paying back of money results in insolvency. Rangers were spending money they didn’t have and then using some dodgy tax avoidance scheme to pay wages through.

    • Lord

      Rangers got a points deduction for going into administration (bankrupt) – that was caused by HMRC successfully challenging a tax avoidance scheme leaving Rangers will a bill they couldn’t pay.

      They got demoted for not filing company accounts a year later which contravenes league rules.

      So not the same (thankfully). Still embarrassing and worrying in equal measures, especially as we are all hoping Rafa stays on.

  • mentalman

    It’s all down to Marseille and agents. Ourselves and West Ham have filed tax returns saying we have paid x for a player, Marseille have filed tax returns saying they were paid z for the same player, the discrepancy has been discovered and an investigation needs to be carried out to see who has filed the incorrect amount and tried to avoid paying the tax. The issue with the agents is who they should be paying their tax and national insurance to.

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      you may well be right

    • Geordiegiants

      Nah all of our signings are undisclosed, we always sign from the same agency, Penfold has been ARRESTED not taken in for questions.

  • MichaelMaximusMoose

    Much as i dislike Penfold the guy`s a bean counter & i don`t think he`s the type to fiddle the tax people & his scumbag boss is unlikely to be involved in any way, the snide`s to street wise for that & 5 mills peanuts to him
    drop the lot on the Frogs toes !!

  • Al Devon

    Surely if it was Newcastle who were under suspician then Graeme Carr would have been took in aswel? It has to be to do with Cabella and/or Thauvin. Chances are we’ve done nothing wrong and its the French who have cooked their books. Rafa will be spitting feathers 😡

  • TubbyMunky

    Apparently Chelsea have also had a visit from HMRC….

    • Jimblag23

      Atsu or Batshuayi maybe?

      • Geordiegiants

        Fair to say it will be to do with Atsu.

  • Geordiegiants

    Penfold has been arrested not took in for questioning, there is a massive difference, they have something on him personally or they would not make such a high profile arrest from the off. My mate lives a couple of doors down from him and there has been loads of reporters about his house today, they are waiting for something. Three deals in particular seemed very very strange to me at the time. Cabella, Thauvin then what on earth was the Saviet deal about? Something has been off for a long time, some of the other signings have been very weird as well.

    • TubbyMunky

      If all 3 of those players share the same agent, then the plot would thicken further…

      • Geordiegiants

        As far as I’m aware, most if not all French signings have been from one agency.

    • Lord

      Agree with the Saivet deal in particular. That was bonkers. Might have been insurance for Tiote being transferred out (which fell through) but all smelt like a backhander at the time.

      He’s still on our books isn’t he? No permanent deal in place.

      There was a post on here last year about all the French players coming from the same agency and I wondered at the time whether Carr would have had some dodgy arrangement; looks like it’s our MD who has been a silly boy.

      • MichaelMaximusMoose

        Or the Gimp Carr`s blind sided Penfold

    • Jimblag23

      The Thauvin signing stinks the most for me.

      • Phil K

        Was thinking along same lines – ridiculously overpriced, the French were suspicious THEN

        • Geordiegiants

          How much did he cost like?

          • ATRECTU5

            15mill wasn’t it ? The French football press couldn’t believe it. It was like Gouffran being sold to some French club for 20 mill to them. 3 or 4 times what the French thought he was worth

          • Geordiegiants

            Nah that’s my point, it was undisclosed, nobody knows what any of them were bought and sold for.

    • Mrkgw

      Looking at the news he lives on an everyday estate. I’d have thought that he (Charnley) would have lived in Darras Hall in a gated private property. Just shows what a modest salary he is possibly being paid.

      • Geordiegiants

        Ha ha lol. He does live in a big house, my mate lives 3 doors away from him on the great park.

        • Mrkgw

          Unbelievable! Does he (Charnley) have a black and white front door? Or, a picture of Pardew on the front of his wheelie bin?

          • Geordiegiants

            Nah I’m sure I can see a big Mural of Ashley fist pumping a hand full of Euros on his living room wall though. 😀

          • Mrkgw

            Haha – quite.

  • Doug Dacre

    So is West Ham and Chelsea….Might just get rid of Ashley as the Qatar stories rise again..

    • MichaelMaximusMoose

      Only a surface to air missile will get rid of Fatso

  • Geordiegiants

    We might get lucky here. There is a possibility that Penfold has been trying to skim off the top of the pot from under Fatties nose, given that he is the most under paid and over worked MD in football, there is always the chance he has been caught with his finger in the till. Just another theory to throw in the pot.

  • Alreet

    All them french dealings in the last 2 years. Thats wat its all about

  • Toon fan

    Has anyone noticed that Newcastle did make an official statement this morning? That was widely missed by the blood sucking press aye? Interesting!
    Charnley released without charge and apparently not formally interviewed which would mean he wasn’t arrested.

    • Soldier

      the Mail reported 20 mins ago that he was arrested, interviewed & released without charge

      • Toon fan

        He wasn’t formally interviewed. The Mail are just another shyte newspaper

        • Phil K

          Name one paper that isn’t just lies and personal bias bullshit Mail is disgraceful – even they aren’t as bad as Guardian, Independent (couldn’t sell enough to survive, didn’t have Guardians corrupt councils subsidies so only on net) or the Sun

  • Scottpaige

    I think Carr is tied up in the tea room to keep him from talking about what fatty and Penfold have been up to !!!

  • Ralphy 1973

    Will our promotion be stopped for this ?

    • Toon fan

      No

  • Whickhamrobbie

    It will blow over . It was Harrys dog wot did it guvnor .

  • james new

    The French players all had the same agent one was told to change from his agent to the same as the others if he wanted to come to Newcastle. it cost more for that agent than the one he had to give up .our getting Demba ba on a free cost us £2 million in fees to club and agents Thauvin was bought after a short period loand back to French club no fee by the sound of it we will find out . as for Rangers not being able to pay their bill to HMRC could we. did we not make an operating loss last financial year .and I cant see Ashley paying the bill he only takes the money from the club .if we made a loss where did the 30 million profit from the players sale go