When Tottenham and West Ham clash it’s never pretty, but the battle over the Olympic Stadium is getting especially nasty. After West Ham alleged that Spurs had obtained information on the application process illegally, Scotland Yard announced a 45 year old man is being held at a London police station – the fourth arrest in connection with the case.
During the search of his property in South London, sources allege “an amount of material was seized”.
While Spurs continue to delight on the field, being tipped as potential title winners, Margaret Ford, chairman of the Olympic Park Legacy Committee (OPLC) has accused the club of putting its 14 members under surveillance.
Today’s arrest follows that earlier this month of Howard Hill, partner of an accountancy firm hired by Tottenham, on suspicion of fraud. In a separate court case Hill’s former company PKF were forced to hand back the mobile phone records of West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady, which it was claimed were “unlawfully obtained by subterfuge”.
However, Spurs’ private investigation found possible dodgy dealings on the Hammers' side too. A Sunday Times article last year, with the aid of the Tottenham findings, accused West Ham of making payments totalling £20, 400 to Dionne Knight, an OPLC executive, before and after the body’s decision to grant West Ham the stadium. Furthermore Knight was found to be in a relationship with Ian Tompkins, a West Ham Director. The club deny any wrongdoing.
It seemed the case was over when West Ham were granted the rights to transform the Olympic arena into a football stadium last February. However the collapse of West Ham’s bid, with the Government fearful of “legal paralysis”, has seen the bitter feud run on. The ground will remain in public ownership, with the clubs able to bid to rent the stadium at a later date - the beautiful game it won’t be.
Photo by Zefrog from the Londonist Flickr pool