Birmingham stress their cooperation after police raid stadium

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The Independent Online

Fraud squad detectives investigating corruption in football raided Birmingham City yesterday morning and removed computers and paperwork understood to be related to transfer activity, although there is no suggestion of impropriety by the Midlands club.

Birmingham insist the police inquiries "relate to an unconnected third party or third parties" and a club source told The Independent that the raid and seizure of records, both electronic and on paper, was likely to be related to the activity of an agent or agents.

The early morning visit to the club's premises was carried out by the City of London police. A spokeswoman for the force said they were part of "the ongoing investigation into football corruption".

The spokeswoman said that, contrary to some reports, the raid was unconnected to the Lord Stevens inquiry into illicit payments to football agents.

Birmingham said they were "cooperating fully" with the police. A club statement, issued early yesterday, said: "For the avoidance of doubt, no one connected with the club has been questioned or arrested."

The most high-profile developments to date in City police's long-running investigation were the arrests in November of five prominent football figures. They were Portsmouth's manager, Harry Redknapp, the club's chief executive, Peter Storrie, the club's former owner, Milan Mandaric, the former Portsmouth midfielder Amdy Faye and Faye's agent, Willie McKay.

Police said the men were arrested "on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting", while Mandaric was also held on suspicion of money laundering. All were released and bailed until the end of February, when their bail conditions were extended for unconfirmed periods.

In Lord Stevens' final report into alleged transfer irregularities in the Premier League between January 2004 and 2006, published last summer, he said he was unable to "sign off" 17 deals, recommending further inquiry. Three of those deals involved McKay, but the agent has a raft of clients. His dealings with Birmingham alone include two January 2008 moves to the club, of David Murphy and James McFadden.

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