The Malta Independent 16 May 2022, Monday

Updated: UK tax agency arrests 'several men' in football fraud case

Wednesday, 26 April 2017, 11:09 Last update: about 6 years ago

British authorities arrested several men working in professional soccer on suspicion of tax fraud on Wednesday in a far-reaching case that saw raids in England and France.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs did not say which clubs or individuals may be involved but the tax agency told legislators in December that 43 players and 12 soccer clubs in the British leagues, alongside eight agents, were being investigated.

HMRC said 180 officers were deployed across Britain and France on Wednesday in the crackdown on suspected income tax and national insurance fraud.

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"Investigators have searched a number of premises in the northeast and southeast of England and arrested the men and also seized business records, financial records, computers and mobile phones," HMRC said. "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."

In December, HMRC head of enforcement and compliance Jennie Granger told a parliamentary committee that it was investigating the issue of image rights.

Earnings from image rights are treated as a separate income stream from cash taxed at domestic rates for playing for a team. Players can pay different tax rates on image rights earnings from commercial deals. HMRC has questioned clubs and players in the past when a player lacking a public profile claims that significant earnings are from image rights.

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