While refusing to confirm how many teams were implicated, the official admitted that investigations concerning criminal activity were underway
British Security minister Ben Wallace has revealed that at least one professional football club is currently under investigation for possible money laundering offences.
Wallace was speaking during a meeting of the House of Commons’ Treasury Select Committee on Tuesday.
Labour MP John Mann asked Wallace: “When it comes to money laundering, how many professional football clubs have been deemed as requiring investigation currently?”
“I know of (a) professional football club or clubs under investigation,” Wallace replied to the Committee.
“I couldn’t reveal how many and what they are, for that is an operational matter.”
While he continued to refuse to confirm the number of clubs implicated, Wallace added that the government probe into the sports industry was ongoing.
“There are live investigations that go on all the time and to expand any more could threaten investigations,” he said.
“The sports industry is as susceptible as anything else to dirty money being invested or their organisations being used as a way to launder money.”
When consulted on Wallace’s comments, the National Crime Agency stated: “We do not routinely confirm or deny the existence of investigations.
“We have not charged any professional football clubs with money laundering, and there are none currently in the court process.”
While there have been no formal charges presented in British football in relation to such crimes, previous reports from bodies such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have suggested that the game is used by criminal syndicates for such ends.
“Football clubs are indeed seen by criminals as the perfect vehicles for money laundering,” the OECD’s Financial Action Task Force claimed back in 2009.
Indeed, Belgian football was shocked at the start of October by a series of police raids connected to match-fixing and money laundering charges, with top clubs Anderlecht and Standard Liege among those targeted.