Police have raided an office at the headquarters of one of the UK’s largest trade unions as part of an investigation into allegations of corruption, money laundering and fraud.
More than 20 South Wales Police officers arrived unannounced at Unite’s offices in Holborn, central London, on Wednesday. The police took away a number of items, including documents, notebooks and a computer.
The raid was part of a joint investigation by the South Wales Force and HM Revenue and Customs. Officers also executed warrants in police areas of South Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, Dyfed-Powys and Northamptonshire.
A Unite spokesperson said: “A Unite employee is under criminal investigation by police. On Wednesday April 6, the employee’s office at Unite’s headquarters in Holborn London was visited and searched by police under warrant.
Unite was Labour’s most generous donor under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn’s party. In December its new general secretary, Sharon Graham, said she planned to cut donations to Labor and divert the money to union campaigns.
Graham, who was elected in August, has launched an investigation into how the costs of building a hotel and conference center in Birmingham turned into a ‘potentially significant loss’ for the union.
The initial planned cost for the 170-bedroom complex was £57million, but the cost has soared to £98million, an increase according to Unite resulting from the safeguarding of on-site employment practices.
A police spokesperson said: ‘South Wales Police have executed warrants as part of an investigation into allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering. The warrants were executed on Wednesday April 6 at addresses in South Wales, Metropolitan, Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, Dyfed Powys and Northamptonshire police areas.
“The joint investigation with HM Revenue and Customs is continuing and a number of suspects will be interviewed in due course.”