Newcastle United football club recently challenged HMRC search warrants after they were investigated over allegations of tax evasion in relation to player transfers. HM Revenue and Customs (Operation Loom) conducted dawn raids on premises including St James’ Park as part of a £5m tax investigation involving both Premier League and French clubs.
Investigators seized documents, computers and mobile phones during raids in April at St James’ Park, the club’s training ground Darsley Park and the home of the club’s managing director.
“All search warrants and the application forms put before the court should be scrutinised as early as possible. We have often found that warrants can be drafted excessively wide which leads to the unlawful seizure of confidential and legally privileged material. There can also be a lot of ambiguity as to material stored electronically and what investigators should be allowed to access from such devices. It is imperative that businesses have a policy in place specifically for dawn raids - this can save a lot of upheaval and inconvenience”.