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Marseilles and Chelsea dragged into transfer fraud probe as police hunt tax cheats

April 27 – Secret payments made to players and agents is reported to be at the centre of the football tax fraud investigation launched by British and French authorities.

In the latest twist to the probe, which initially focussed on Premier League West Ham and newly promoted Newcastle and is said to involve several million pounds, a French radio station reported that Marseille were also implicated while tax officers in the UK have also visited Premier League leaders Chelsea though the club’s premises were not subject to a search warrant and no arrests were made.

“In connection with its wider investigation HMRC has requested certain information which the club will provide,” a Chelsea spokesman confirmed.

Unconfirmed French reports say the former board of Marseille have been targeted. The club was sold in October 2016 after suffering chronic financial problems.

The French Prosecutor’s office would not comment on the Marseille angle but said 10 searches were carried out in the country and that and four people were placed in police custody as the probe intensifies.

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