SFO opens criminal probe into collapse of Arena Television

The Severe Fraud Office has opened a felony investigation into Arena Television, a collapsed broadcaster that labored on the Euro 2020 soccer event and Glastonbury. 

The white collar criminal offense agency stated it searched 3 web pages on Wednesday early morning in the south of England with help from the National Crime Agency and arrested two persons. 

The SFO did not title the suspects who are now currently being questioned. It is recognized they are not Arena’s bosses, Richard Yeowart and Robert Hopkinson, who disappeared before long after the organization collapsed in November and are considered to have remaining the Uk. 

Arena supplied outside the house broadcast vehicles to customers which include the BBC, ITV and Sky. It folded in November right after a serial number the corporation delivered for a piece of tools was queried and located to be phony. 

It earlier worked on high-profile sporting activities these as rugby’s Six Nations championship and the FA Cup.

The scale of the suspected fraud was only unveiled before this year in a report by administrators at Kroll, who have taken control of Arena and are trying to find to get well cash for lenders.

They explained Arena duped banks into lending it additional than £280m for property that did not exist. 

A assessment of the tools held by the organization observed it “does not maintain the vast bulk of assets purportedly acquired”.

The directors stated the only cash they had located was £2,761 in petty money at Arena’s offices and no “significant” sums were anticipated to be recovered from its bank accounts.

The SFO explained: “These searches and arrests type portion of wider investigative exercise currently being carried out by the SFO in relation to this subject.    

“As this is an ongoing investigation, no even further remark or information and facts can be offered at this time.”

Fifty-5 lenders have been owed cash by Arena when it went under, such as NatWest, Virgin Money United kingdom, Close Brothers and Shawbrook.  

Administrators at Kroll beforehand stated they had been investigating why the organization was closed so abruptly, the disappearance of its administrators, the discovery of large money owed that had been not disclosed in accounts and alleged “misinformation” provided to loan companies and other events.

Arena was established in 1988 by Mr Yeowart to give outside broadcasting vans and helicopters to go over sporting activities.

Nevertheless, on November 10 the company’s staff members, some of whom were on their way to broadcasting jobs, were being abruptly informed it had ceased trading and that they should really return devices to the head business office in Redhill, Surrey.

Kroll declined to remark on the SFO’s investigation.