Former Newcastle United midfielder Sylvain Marveaux has been arrested in France as part of the investigation into alleged tax evasion and National Insurance fraud that led to the club being raided by HMRC officers on Wednesday morning, it has been reported.
French newspaper Le Parisien claimed on Thursday that Marveaux was one of four men to be detained on Thursday, with the 31-year-old said to be “answering questions” in custody.
The other three men are claimed to be football agents, and The Independent understands that the HMRC investigation – which is being assisted by French authorities – regards agents’ fees and image rights included in transfer deals over the last 10 years.
Le Parisien reported: “According to our information, they are three players' agents, as well as Lorient's attacking midfielder Sylvain Marveaux, the former Newcastle player.”
Marveaux left Newcastle in May 2016 after seeing out the five-year contract that he signed when joining the club in June 2011, and he currently plays for Ligue 1 side Lorient, where he has scored five goals in 26 appearances in all competitions this season.
Lorient have not commented on the legal allegations surrounding Marveaux.
The investigation led to Newcastle and West Ham having their stadiums and training grounds raided on Wednesday morning after allegations of £5m worth of tax evasion and National Insurance fraud were made, The Independent has learned.
It is understood that Newcastle’s managing director, Lee Charnley, was one of “several men working within professional football” who was arrested over “suspected income tax and National Insurance fraud”, with authorities working with French investigators, who have also made several arrests.
It’s understood Charnley was later released without charge on Wednesday.
No employees or representatives of West Ham United have been arrested during the investigation.
West Ham released a statement on Wednesday morning to confirm that they are cooperating with HMRC “to assist their enquiries”, while Chelsea also issued a statement to clarify that they are providing “requested information” to HMRC officers.
Newcastle followed suit on Wednesday evening, saying: “Newcastle can confirm that a member of its staff has this morning been assisting HMRC with their inquiries. The club will make no further comment at this time.”