An unnamed employee of trade union Unite has been accused of bribery, fraud, money-laundering and tax evasion, according to South Wales Police.
The police have formed a specialist investigation group with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to look into the allegations because of the “seriousness and complexity of the case”.
The investigation was launched after police officers raided the office of a Unite employee in London in April and took away material as part of their inquiries.
According to a police statement, the employee is suspected of awarding contracts for services “on behalf of Unite to companies controlled by other linked persons, in return for personal financial and other rewards”.
It is understood the contracts concerned were of about seven years in duration and involved many thousands of pounds a month.
Unite has carried out its own forensic inquiry into the contracts that have been awarded in the last seven years, having become concerned about the cost and duration of some of them.
Although accusations have been levelled at the employee, no arrest has been made. The police have also said that the investigation is still in its early stages and that the union will be required to hand over any material relevant to their investigation.
Commenting on the investigation, Milsted Langdon’s Forensic Partner, Roger Isaacs, said: “The cooperation between HMRC and the police to form a joint taskforce is an interesting and unusual development. No doubt if it proves to be successful, it may well be an approach that starts to be used more often.
In the meantime, one of the challenges that forensic investigators will face in this case is obtaining evidence that dates back many years. One of the consequences of GDPR data regulations is that organisations including banks and financial institutions are now more efficient than ever before when it comes to the deletion of old documentation. This can frustrate attempts at financial analysis that seek to delve back into the past, especially in relation to anything that took place more than six years ago.”
Source(s): BBC News