Just after Newcastle United won promotion to the Premier League back in April, fans were stunned to hear that the stadium and training ground had been raided by tax officials.
The HMRC investigation in the UK and on the continent saw NUFC Managing Director Lee Charnley, one of a number of European football officials to be arrested before being later released.
The HMRC investigation centred on football agents and the payments made in transfer dealings between English and French clubs – West Ham were another club to be raided.
Various business and financial records were seized, as well as computers and mobile phones belonging to the club.
In July, Mike Ashley engaged his legal people to argue that no reasonable grounds existed for believing it had engaged in suspected tax fraud and so the HMRC had no right to seize and examine any documents.
This led to a stalemate with HMRC officers not allowed to examine the seized documents until/unless the High Court then gave them the go ahead at a future hearing.
This (Wednesday) morning has seen the High Court come to a decision and it being made public, with two judges rejecting the challenge by Newcastle United over the legality of the search and seize orders obtained by the HMRC from a judge at Leeds Crown Court.
Dismissing the football club’s application for judicial review, Lord Justice Beatson and Mrs Justice Whipple ruled that “The warrants were lawfully issued.”
So six months after the initial seizure it is a blow for Mike Ashley and the club, so now we wait to see what HMRC will come up with when examining the Newcastle United documents.