Police have raided the Unite headquarters as part of an investigation into bribery, fraud and money laundering, which is believed to be connected to the construction of a £ 98 million hotel complex.
About 20 police officers in unmarked cars arrived at the building in Holborn, central London, on Wednesday and left with “files, documents and a computer”.
The Telegraph understands that the raid is linked to the union spending members’ money on the construction of a hotel and conference center in Birmingham.
Sharon Graham, the new general secretary, announced last December that she had ordered a QC-led inquiry after it emerged that the building’s value was considerably lower than its construction costs.
She was elected after Len McCluskey, who led the trade union for 11 years, retired.
Scrutiny over contracts
Unite came under scrutiny last year over its decision to award the contracts to the Flanagan Group, run by Mr McCluskey’s long-time friend Paul Flanagan, as well as a health and safety contract awarded to SSC, a company owned by David Anderson, the son of Joe Anderson, the former mayor of Liverpool.
South Wales Police, which is leading the investigation into the bribery and fraud claims alongside HM Revenue and Customs, said warrants had been executed across the country.
The force added that “a number of suspects would be interviewed”.
A spokesman said: “South Wales Police have executed warrants as part of an investigation into allegations of bribery, fraud and money laundering.
“The warrants were executed on Wednesday, April 6 at addresses in the South Wales, Metropolitan, Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, Dyfed-Powys and Northamptonshire police force areas.
“The joint investigation with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is continuing and a number of suspects will be interviewed in due course.”
Unite is the second-largest trade union in the UK, with more than 1.2 million members across several sectors, including construction, logistics, manufacturing and transport.
A spokesman for the group said: “A Unite employee is currently subject to a criminal investigation by the police. The employee’s office at Unite HQ, in Holborn, London, was accessed and searched by the police under warrant. ”