Organised crime squad investigating multi-million pound Wakefield Trinity stadium deal

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josie andrews
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Organised crime squad investigating multi-million pound Wakefield Trinity stadium deal

Post by josie andrews »

They bought it with the help of a taxpayer loan

Organised crime officers are investigating the deal that saw Wakefield Trinity buy their Belle Vue ground with the help of a taxpayer loan, it can be revealed.

The Super League club bought their home venue from a third party last year after Wakefield Council loaned them just over £3m.

But the National Crime Agency (NCA) is looking into the circumstances surrounding the deal and has spoken with top officials from both Trinity and the council, the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) understands.

The probe is linked to the NCA’s ongoing investigation into Belle Vue’s former owner, Manni Hussain. A court order was granted in January to have his assets frozen, amid allegations he had links to organised crime.

It was revealed then that Leeds-based Mr Hussain had been asked to either explain the source of his wealth or hand it over to the authorities.

It followed the NCA saying last year it had been granted an unexplained wealth order in relation to Mr Hussain’s portfolio of eight properties, believed to be worth a combined £10m.

It’s understood agency detectives visited West Yorkshire in March before lockdown started to conduct formal interviews with some of the people close to the stadium deal.

Asked for comment by the LDRS, Wakefield Council’s chief legal officer, Gillian Marshall, said: “In 2019 the council made a loan to Wakefield Trinity to purchase the stadium at Belle Vue from a company owned by Manni Hussain.

The decision was made in private as it concerned the business affairs of the club, which is one of the categories under which information can be considered in this way. It was made by a delegated decision notice due to the urgent need by the club to conclude the sale.

“Wakefield Council has no association with Manni Hussain or his company and was only made aware of the NCA involvement through media reports. As the NCA proceedings are still ongoing we cannot comment further at this time.”

Wakefield Trinity declined to comment when approached.

The club’s purchase of Belle Vue last year was seen as a significant landmark in its pursuit of an improved home ground.

For several years fans had hoped Trinity would move to a new community stadium on land to the north of Wakefield in Stanley, but despite planning permission being granted in 2012 the ground was never built.

The club and the council said owning Belle Vue would allow for it to be redeveloped.

Club chiefs had been close to submitting a planning application for expansion just before lockdown started, but the pandemic stalled that process.

Papers leaked to the LDRS after the ground was purchased showed it was bought for around double it’s estimated value, which was around £1.7m.

Speaking about the investigation into Mr Hussain in January, the NCA’s head of asset denial Andy Lewis, said: “This latest order will enable the NCA to properly scrutinise a sizeable sum of money.

“We are using all available tools to carry out investigations into possible illicit finance, and these efforts are a vital part of protecting the people and economy of the UK from serious and organised crime.”

https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/news/wes ... wdA6QER0ls
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Shaun1967
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Re: Organised crime squad investigating multi-million pound Wakefield Trinity stadium deal

Post by Shaun1967 »

I'm surprised to find out that they never owned the ground despite having played there for over a hundred years!
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DaveO
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Re: Organised crime squad investigating multi-million pound Wakefield Trinity stadium deal

Post by DaveO »

Shaun1967 wrote: Thu May 27, 2021 12:55 pm I'm surprised to find out that they never owned the ground despite having played there for over a hundred years!
Who knows what the history of the ownership of the ground is.

I do know from an RL point of view Wakefield have made promise after promise about getting "their" ground up to scratch or moving to a new one that was suitable. All have come to nothing and they even avoided being replaced in SL when we had franchising on the back of such empty promises when the ground fell far short of the minimum standards required. One year they were absolutely convinced they were for the chop but got off. Another year they survived because the side being promoted (might have been Whitehaven) decided to decline the opportunity.
fozzieskem
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Re: Organised crime squad investigating multi-million pound Wakefield Trinity stadium deal

Post by fozzieskem »

So yet another delay to the “new” stadium it’ll never happen will it?
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