HMRC (Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs) have raided Newcastle United’s St James’ Park stadium, as well as the club’s Darsley Park training ground in Benton.
It is believed the raid is connected with an investigation into the transfer dealings of a number of top clubs. West Ham United and Chelsea have also been raided and the HMRC operation is linked to raids by the French authorities in France.
The investigation seems to be focused on tax frauds connected with image rights and agent payments. Newcastle’s managing director Lee Charnley is reported to be among those arrested.
The raid, during which inspectors seized financial documents, comes just days after Newcastle United won promotion to the Premier League.
HMRC said today that they have arrested “several men working within the professional football industry for a suspected £5 million income tax and national insurance fraud.”
An HMRC spokesperson commented, “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 several arrests and several locations have been searched in France.”
“The 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.”
Northumbria Police have stated that they have had no involvement in the investigations.
Newcastle United have so far made no comment. The club recently clinched promotion following a 4-1 win over Preston on Monday night, but it is not known at this stage if the club may face any penalties such as points deductions.