07 Nov 2018
Authorities in the United Kingdom are investigating football clubs amid concerns the sector is being used to launder dirty cash and clubs are underreporting suspicious behaviour.
Appearing before lawmakers on the Treasury Committee’s hearing on economic crime, Home Office minster Ben Wallace said that sports, like any other sector, is susceptible to money laundering and probes are currently underway.
“I know of professional football clubs under investigation. I could not reveal how many and which they are, because that is an operational matter,” Wallace said.
“There are live investigations that go on all the time. To expand any more could threaten investigations.”
When asked if the investigations were particularly concentrated in the Premier League, Wallace said: “I am not going to expand any more on an individual club or clubs. What I would say is that the sports industry is as susceptible as anything else to dirty money being invested or its organisations being used as a way to launder money.
“A few years ago, there was a football club that was used entirely for VAT carousel fraud. That club then went bust. That does not narrow it down either, but it went bust and is back up and running. I am afraid sporting institutions attract dirty money.”
Officials have expressed concern that while the banking sector is playing a leading role in alerting the authorities of suspicious issues that may be related to money laundering crimes, many other sectors, including sports, are not.
Of the 620,000 suspicious activity reports (SARs) submitted, 83% were filed by the banking sector.
Wallace told the committee that SARs filed by the football authorities ‘have not been enough.’
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