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Old 3rd June 2009, 10:52   #1
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Default Football agent Willie McKay cleared in corruption investigation

Football agent Willie McKay cleared in corruption investigation

• McKay cleared more than 18 months after first arrest
• 'Finally I have been totally vindicated and cleared'

* Stuart James
*, Tuesday 2 June 2009 19.02 BST

A question mark hung over the City of London Police investigation into alleged corruption in football after the agent Willie McKay was yesterday cleared of allegations of conspiracy to defraud.

McKay, who had strongly denied any wrongdoing since he was arrested in November 2007, was emotional as he reflected on the news that he has been exonerated after enduring what he described as "two years of hell".

Six other high-profile football figures remain on bail, although the fact that McKay has been cleared will be interpreted by many as a sign that City of London Police are struggling to produce evidence of wrongdoing. The inquiry, which started in April 2007, had been expected to come to an end last year but the latest indications are that it will rumble on for at least another two months before a final decision is made as to whether to bring charges.

McKay's financial records will no longer come under the microscope after City of London Police confirmed that the 49-year-old would face no further questions. "It has been two years of hell," McKay said. "I had 30 police officers raiding my home at six o'clock in the morning [on the day he was arrested]. It was baseless right from the start. I always said that there was not a stain on my character. Finally I have been totally vindicated and cleared."

This is the second time McKay has been cleared of any wrongdoing in relation to alleged financial corruption in football. In 2007, the Quest inquiry led by Lord Stevens, which examined all Premier League transfer deals between January 2004 and January 2006, initially named McKay for not cooperating and refused to clear four of his deals, but later in 2007 clarified that it was satisfied there was no evidence of "irregular payments" involving the agent.

The latest development involving McKay came 24 hours after Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, was re-arrested by HM Revenue and Customs after facing further questioning. The Spurs manager, who has strongly denied allegations of false accounting and conspiracy to defraud, remains on bail.

A spokesman for Tottenham said: "It was a mere formality in respect of next stage information relating to a tax issue."

HMRC have taken on a more significant role with Operation Apprentice through time, and Redknapp finds himself in the same position as Peter Storrie, Portsmouth's executive chairman, and Karren Brady, the Birmingham City managing director, both of whom have been re-arrested by HMRC and denied the same allegations as Redknapp.
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