'Club or clubs' investigated for money laundering says security minister

At least one professional football club is under investigation for alleged money laundering, security minister Ben Wallace has revealed.

Wallace told MPs "a club or clubs" were being looked into when asked about the issue at a Treasury Select Committee meeting on Tuesday.

"I couldn't reveal how many and what they are, for that is an operational matter," he added.

He said to reveal more details could "threaten investigations".

But he added: "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."

Wallace was speaking after Labour MP John Mann asked him: "When it comes to money laundering, how many professional football clubs have been deemed as requiring investigation currently?"

The minister also pointed out "not enough" had come from football authorities to help tackle the issue.

A National Crime Agency spokeswoman said the body would "not confirm or deny the existence of investigations".

She added: "We have not charged any professional football clubs with money laundering, and there are none currently in the court process."

A 2009 report by the international Financial Action Task Force said football could be targeted by money launderers because it involves large sums of money crossing international borders.

In 2016 police in Portugal, with help from European crime agency Europol, broke up a Russian mafia money laundering ring which targeted struggling football clubs. The Operation Matrioskas team said it discovered links to the UK, as well as Austria, Estonia, Germany, Latvia and Moldova.

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