Police probe Hammers’ claim

West Ham, who were chosen by the OPLC to move into the Olympic

Stadium after the 2012 Games ahead of Tottenham, allege the police

investigation relates to unlawful activity by a private

investigator. The OPLC appointed auditors Moore Stephens to

investigate their own procedures six weeks ago. That investigation

was triggered when Dionne Knight, the OPLC’s corporate services

director, was suspended after having worked as a consultant for

West Ham during the bid to move into the £486million stadium.

She was immediately suspended on full pay while any possible

conflict of interest was investigated. She had declared a personal

relationship with Ian Tompkins, a West Ham director, when she

started at the OPLC. She only told the legacy company of her work

at the club after a Sunday newspaper claimed she was on West Ham’s

payroll. Moore Stephens found that Knight did not have access to

confidential information and did not pass any such information on

to West Ham or anyone else, and the OPLC board recommended that

there were no grounds for reconsidering its recommendation that

West Ham’s was the preferred bid. West Ham say the police are now

looking into the conduct of a private investigator who they allege

unlawfully acquired bank and telephone records belonging to senior

executives at the club and the OPLC. A statement from the

Metropolitan Police read: “We can confirm that West Ham United

Football Club and the Olympic Park Legacy Company have made

allegations to the MPS in respect of the unlawful obtaining of

personal information. “These allegations have been assessed and an

investigation has now commenced by officers from the Economic and

Specialist Crime Command.” A statement from West Ham read: “We

confirm the Metropolitan Police’s Economic and Specialist Crimes

Unit is dealing with the serious matter of a private investigator

acting unlawfully. “This is in relation to reported breaches of the

Data Protection Act and Computer Misuse Act as a result of the

unlawful acquisition of bank and telephone records belonging to

senior executives at the club and the OPLC. “We are advised that if

found guilty of these crimes, those responsible can expect to

receive custodial sentences. We have full faith in the police

investigation into this matter and shall continue to provide the

fullest of assistance to them.” The news came on the day Judge Mr

Justice Collins ruled the High Court should review decisions made

by both the OPLC and Newham Council in the awarding of the stadium

to West Ham after deciding Tottenham had an “arguable” case. The

judge said the West Ham bid approved by the OPLC would remain on

hold until the High Court had decided whether any decisions had

been unlawful. The High Court is scheduled to rule on the case

following a hearing due to start in London on October 18. League

One side Leyton Orient were also given permission to challenge the

decision. Bosses say the stadium is less than two miles from

Orient’s ground and any move to the arena by West Ham could

“destroy” the club’s fan base and threaten its “very existence”. A

spokesman for the International Association of Athletics

Federations said their position remained the same regarding the

stadium and the bid for the 2017 World Athletics Championships.

Earlier this month, IAAF president Lamine Diack said ruling members

would be deterred by a lengthy legal dispute and the situation

needs to be resolved before the destination of the 2017

championships is decided.