Third man arrested in UK Olympic surveillance case

Third man arrested in UK Olympic surveillance case

Published Jan. 14, 2012 1:56 a.m. ET

A third person has been arrested by police investigating allegations that people acting for Premier League soccer club Tottenham spied on officials during the club's failed bid to take over London's Olympic Stadium after the Games.

Tottenham has been accused of ordering surveillance on the London Olympic executives who eventually chose the bid of rival London club West Ham to take over the stadium.

Since August, London police have been investigating allegations of wrongdoing in the bidding process that were made by West Ham and the Olympic Park Legacy Company, whose board members decide the future of venues on the site of the Games.

Two people were arrested in November in connection with the illegal procurement of information and now police say they detained a 57-year-old man in Cheshire on Wednesday ''on suspicion of fraud offenses'' before releasing him on bail until February.


He is Howard Hill, a former partner at accountancy firm PKF that a judge said last year ''was engaged by Tottenham Hotspur to carry out an investigation that was in some way connected with the Olympic Stadium.''

PKF was not available for comment late Friday, but there was no reference to Hill on its web site. The Daily Telegraph newspaper, which broke news of Hill's arrest on Friday night, cited a PKF statement as saying: ''Howard Hill resigned from the firm on Dec 15 and we have not had any communication with him since.''

West Ham's deal to take over the stadium collapsed in October and the $744 million venue has been left without any tenant after the Olympics, pending a new search.

Separate to the ongoing police investigation, West Ham is taking legal action in an attempt to discover details of the ''wrongdoers responsible'' for the alleged obtaining of phone records. A judge said at a hearing in November that the telephone records of West Ham vice chairman Karren Brady were ''unlawfully obtained by subterfuge'' during the bidding process.

The High Court heard that PKF, which denies being engaged in any unlawful activity, said it had copies of wrongfully obtained telephone records.

OPLC company chair Margaret Ford made the allegations about Tottenham in a London Assembly committee hearing in November.

Tottenham denies any allegations of spying or the illegal obtaining of information, previously stressing that it ''did not instruct PKF to engage in any unlawful activity and PKF have confirmed that they did not.''