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Toon chief arrested, West Ham raided and Chelsea visited as cops launch tax probe

Date Posted,April 25, 2017

Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley has been arrested in a tax fraud probe with West Ham’s London Stadium also raided by authorities.

The Toon chief is at the centre of an investigation into football with the Hammers also under scrutiny after 180 police officers were dispatched for the ‘significant’ investigation.

West Ham’s Rush Green training ground and offices at the London Stadium were raided on Wednesday morning, with the club confirming that they are assisting with all enquiries.

“The Club is cooperating fully with HMRC to assist their enquiries. No further comment will be made at this time,” read a statement.

Documents seized by police include computers, mobile phones and business and financial records.

The news follows the club’s promotion back to the Premier League (Photo: Jan Kruger)
Rafael Benitez signs a new contract as Newcastle United's manager with managing director Lee Charnley at St.James' Park on May 25, 2016
Managing director Lee Charnley poses after Rafa Benitez signs new contract in May 2016 (Photo: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty)
HMRC officers leave the home of Newcastle MD Lee Charnley (Photo: newcastle chronicle)
Lee Charnley was arrested as part of a HMRC investigation (Photo: newcastle chronicle)

HMRC officials also visited Chelsea on Wednesday, requesting information. No items were seized.

It is understood there is no allegation of wrongdoing by anyone associated with the Premier League leaders.

A Chelsea spokesman said: “In connection with its wider investigation, HMRC has requested certain information which the club will provide.”

Charnley has overseen promotion at St James’s Park this season and worked with boss Rafa Benitez to rebuild the club.

But he is being quizzed by officers from HM Revenue and Customs, after being arrested Tuesday night.

Newcastle refused to comment early this morning.

Custom officers at the London Stadium (Photo: DAILY MIRROR)
The Hammers HQ was raided in relation to the tax fraud investigation (Photo: DAILY MIRROR)
The London Stadium was raided as part of the investigation (Photo: West Ham United FC)
West Ham’s Rush Green training ground (Photo: West Ham United FC/Getty)
A map of the Hammers’ training ground (Photo: Google Maps)

The news comes days after Benitez guided the Toon to a 4-1 victory over Preston North End to get the party started with two games remaining.

Charnley is described as ‘quiet and shy.’ The 39-year-old was promoted to his current position in 2014.

HMRC have announced that they have arrested “several men working within professional football industry for suspected income tax and national insurance fraud.”

Managing director Lee Charnley with Mike Ashley in October 2015 (Photo: Getty Images Europe)

HMRC Statement

“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.”

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