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'Several arrests' made as West Ham involved in HMRC probe into suspected tax fraud in football

12:35 EAT 26/04/2017
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Individuals have been arrested and a number of locations searched in England and France as part of a probe into tax fraud in football

British authorities have confirmed that "several" people have been arrested and a number of premises searched as part of an investigation into suspected tax fraud in football, which involves West Ham United.

HMRC stated on Wednesday that 180 officers had been deployed to locations in the north east and south east of England, as well as a number of unspecified locations in France.

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Financial and business records were seized, along with some computers and mobile phones. West Ham confirmed they are cooperating with authorities.

"HMRC has arrested several men working within the professional football industry for a suspected Income Tax and National Insurance fraud," an HMRC statement confirmed.

"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."

Meanwhile, Chelsea have confirmed that they are also cooperating with authorities.

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