Newly promoted side Newcastle United and a Premier League side West Ham United have been raided in a tax probe, reports in England confirm.
The managing director of the Magpies Lee Charnley is among those arrested, amongst other top players in pro English football.
The top players were picked up as they were fingered in a fraud investigation. HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) sent its officers across the UK and France on issues bordering on income tax and National Insurance fraud.
HMRC confirmed that it searched various places, seizing business and financial records, computers and mobile phones as part of investigations. Saint James Park and the London Olympic Stadium were among the places searched.
The BBC reported that Charnley, 39, was picked up and taken away by the HMRC officers. The club confirmed as well, but he was later reported released without any charge. The HMRC may decide to speak to the MD within the next few weeks, the BBC adds.
“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,” the HMRC confirmed.
The records for David Silva Fan last season show that Newcastle had a turnover of £126 million. They spent £75 million in player wages and reported a pre tax loss of £4 million. West Ham made £142 million, paid £85 million in wages and posted a pre tax loss of £4.8 million.
Earlier in the year, a Parliamentary Committee had revealed that several clubs and players with their agents were under investigation by the HMRC. There are concerns of tax evasion and use of image rights to reduce tax exposure in the football sector, hence the spotlight.