Demba Ba transfer 'named in HMRC investigation' over £2m image rights payment

Jack Austin
The Independent
Ba played for Newcastle between 2011 and 2013: Getty
Ba played for Newcastle between 2011 and 2013: Getty

Former Newcastle, West Ham and Chelsea striker Demba Ba has allegedly been named in the HMRC investigation over a £2m image rights payment, it has been reported.

The transfer of Ba from West Ham United to Newcastle in 2011 is being investigated after both clubs were raided this week.

Officers seized documents and computers from St James’ Park and the London Stadium on Wednesday morning, with Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley among those arrested before being later released without charge.

Ba's move between the two clubs was a free transfer, although it is now under investigation after it emerged that the player earned nearly £1m in image rights as part of a total £2m fee paid out by Newcastle, The Sun reports.

The £2m was allegedly paid by the Championship club into the FA’s clearing system before then being moved by a law firm to five separate parties – Ba, Habib Sissoko (Ba's agent at the time), Silkee Management (run by agent Barry Silkman), an account in Panama and the law firm themselves.

Around £375,000 was sent to the off-shore bank account in Panama while Sissoko received a payment believed to be worth £200,000.

Sissoko was one of the four people arrested in France this week as part of the probe, along with former Newcastle player Sylvain Marveaux.

Ba's current agent, Madou Diene, told The Sun: "I've had no contact with any official yet. I'm clean."

There is no suggestion that the money was not declared or taxed.

It's also claimed that the £9.5m transfer of Papiss Cisse from Freiburgis also under investigation.

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