All you need to know about HMRC’s raids at top English clubs
WEST HAM and Newcastle were both raided by tax authorities on Wednesday morning.
And St James’ Park director Lee Charnley was arrested for his dealings.
Here is everything you need to know about the ongoing investigation.
Which clubs have been raided by HMRC?
Newcastle and West Ham were both raided HMRC officers, who were up at 4am to begin the investigation.
According to reports, HMRC officers have been at Chelsea all morning with a request for information in connection to the probe – but have NOT raided Stamford Bridge.
Senior directors at Marseille have also been arrested as part of the operation.
A spokesman for Chelsea said: “In connection with its wider investigation, HMRC has requested certain information which the club will provide.”
Earlier, a statement from West Ham read: “The club is cooperating fully with HMRC to assist their enquiries. No further comment will be made at this time.”
Newcastle have yet to comment on the investigation.
What are the raids all about?
The raids are related to tax fraud in transfers between the UK and France.
HMRC confirmed almost 200 officials were deployed across both England and France as the operation crossed the Channel.
A statement read: “HMRC has arrested several men working within the professional football industry for a suspected Income Tax and National Insurance fraud.
“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.”
HMRC confirmed that no police were involved in the operation, but said in a parliamentary hearing in January that 43 players, 12 teams and eight agents were being investigated.
Meanwhile, sources in France claim: “The belief is that organised criminal gangs based in Corsica and mainland France were working with senior officials at the club, agents and other parties.
“Marseille has done a lot of high profile business with both West Ham and Newcastle in recent years, and accordingly both British clubs are being brought into this enquiry.”
Marseille directors have been charged, with over 110 companies looked into.
What is the likely punishment? Will it affect promotion?
West Ham and Newcastle could face points deductions if found guilty of serious tax fraud.
But any punishment is likely to be years down the line given the complex nature of such investigations – and much will depend on exactly what the clubs and their past or present employees are alleged to have done.
So Newcastle’s promotion back to the Premier League and West Ham’s probable survival are not under immediate threat.
The football authorities will almost certainly wait for the taxman and the police to complete their investigation, which will give them time to consider the situation.
The alleged offences would be serious enough to merit an independent disciplinary commission under Premier League rules.
Penalties open to such a panel range from a slap on the wrist to fines and transfer bans, or, in the most serious cases, points deductions.