Four arrested in Millennium Dome fraud probe

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The Independent Online

Police have arrested four people in connection with allegations of fraud involving a Millennium Dome contract, Scotland Yard said today.

Police have arrested four people in connection with allegations of fraud involving a Millennium Dome contract, Scotland Yard said today.

A man in his 30s and a woman in her 60s were detained yesterday morning at addresses in London and West Yorkshire.

Two more, a man in his 30s and a woman in her 20s, were arrested in the Wavertree district of Liverpool yesterday afternoon.

The first two were bailed to return to a London police station in February.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said the second two were arrested by Merseyside police and will be brought to a London police station "in due course".

The spokesman said a number of addresses were searched during the operation by the Metropolitan Police fraud squad's public sector team in London and a "quantity of material was removed".

The addresses included what police described "a business in south east London" - there was no word whether this was the Millennium Dome itself.

Homes in east London and West Yorkshire were also searched.

In statement Scotland Yard said: "Two people were arrested by the public sector team of the fraud squad in connection with allegations of the procurement of a contract by a company in south east London.

"It was alleged that the contract was awarded inappropriately.

"On the morning of October 12 officers from the public sector team arrested two people. A woman in her 60s was arrested at a residential address in West Yorkshire and taken to a West Yorkshire police station.

"A man in his 30s was arrested at a business address in south east London and taken to a central London police station.

"They were later bailed to return to a central London police station at a date in February 2001 pending further inquiries.

"On the afternoon of October 12 two more people were arrested. A man in his 30s and a woman in her 20s were arrested at an address in Wavertree, Liverpool, by officers of the Merseyside Police on behalf of the Metropolitan Fraud Squad and taken to a Liverpool police station.

"They will be brought to a central London police station in due course.

"Officers also searched a number of addresses that day in connection with the inquiry, two residential addresses, one in West Yorkshire and another in east London and a business address in south east London was searched and a quantity of material recovered."

A New Millennium Experience Company spokesman said the arrests were a matter for the police and the courts, and would not comment further.

Details of the probe into allegations that a Dome contractor was awarded a contract "inappropriately" first emerged almost a month ago.

The allegations were brought to the notice of police by the New Millennium Experience Company, which runs the troubled attraction, after it spotted the alleged irregularity during an internal audit.

The matter was passed to officers at the fraud squad last month.

NMEC said in September the contractor in question was responsible for services within the Dome rather than the actual structure or the attractions.

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