Sylvain Marveaux briefly detained in tax fraud investigation

PARIS (AP) " Midfielder Sylvain Marveaux was among four people briefly detained in France in an investigation into suspected tax evasion and money laundering in the transfer of soccer players between England and France.

A person with direct knowledge of the case told The Associated Press the 31-year-old Marveaux was arrested on Wednesday during a wave of raids and arrests in both countries. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the case.

The three other people are players' agents, the same person told the AP, adding that they all had been released.

French authorities are assisting the British-led investigation, which centers on whether payments were hidden to players, agents or third parties to evade income tax and social security contributions.

Premier League leader Chelsea, West Ham, and Newcastle are the only clubs in England so far to be publicly embroiled in the far-reaching probe. Britain's tax authority, HMRC, which seized financial records, computers, and phones in raids, said the suspected fraud amounts to 5 million pounds ($6 million).

Marveaux used to play for Newcastle and was at French club Lorient. Nobody at Lorient was immediately available for comment.

Marveaux joined Newcastle in 2011 on a five-year contract before signing a loan deal with Guingamp that brought him back to France three years later.

The escalation in the investigation on Wednesday followed HMRC telling legislators in December that 43 players and 12 soccer clubs in the British leagues, alongside eight agents, were being investigated.

French newspaper Le Parisien first reported Marveaux's arrest.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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