Newcastle lose legal challenge over St. James' Park tax raids

Joe Hall
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Newcastle United v Liverpool - Premier League
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Newcastle United have lost a High Court challenge over the seizure of tax documents from St. James' Park.

The Premier League side's stadium was raided in April by HM Revenue and Customs officials as part of a probe into suspected £5m income tax and National Insurance fraud within football.

The club's appeal was rejected by two judges, Lord Justice Beatson and Mrs Justice Whipple who ruled that the warrants were lawfully issued.

Financial records, computers and mobile phones belonging to Newcastle were seized as part of the investigation that also hit West Ham's London Stadium, while managing director Lee Charnley was arrested and later released without charge.

Read more: West Ham and Newcastle raided by police in HMRC investigation of income tax and national insurance fraud

Newcastle challenged the search-and-seizure orders by arguing at a hearing in July that there were no reasonable grounds it had engaged in tax fraud.

HMRC argued that they had grounds to suspect the club were "knowingly involved" in a tax fraud.

In their written ruling today the judges wrote that HMRC had evidence and facts amounting to "reasonable grounds for the belief that NUFC [Newcastle] was engaged in criminality."

They added: "They do not mean that any criminal offence has in fact been committed.

"There may, at the end of the investigation, turn out to be innocent explanations for what happened."

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