Northamptonshire Police has described a probe into a missing £10.25m (€11.5m/$12.9m) loan to an English lower-league football club for a stadium redevelopment as a “complex financial and corruption investigation”.
Northampton Town, which plays in League Two, the fourth tier of English football, was loaned the money by Northampton Borough Council in 2013 and 2014.
According to reports, 30 case files are being prepared for the Crown Prosecution Service.
The police force acknowledged that the public “may understandably find the length of the investigation frustrating,” but added that the number of people being investigated was “higher than usual”, with the probe involving “vast amounts of data obtained from multiple sources”.
More than 550 witnesses and suspects have been interviewed, with seven people arrested and a further 23 interviewed under caution.
A police force spokesperson added: “It is necessary to build a robust case that results in both fair trials and safe convictions.”
The redevelopment work on the stadium was not completed, with the contractors pulling out after not receiving payments.
In January, the former owners of the club, Anthony and son David Cardoza, were ordered to repay £2.1m to the council. The council itself apologised after a 2016 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that the loan was approved without sufficient checks.
In February, as reported by TheStadiumBusiness.com, a property developer who received millions in council funding to redevelop the home of the club, was banned from running a company for 10 years.
Howard Grossman’s 1ST Land Limited firm was incorporated in August 2013 to act as the contractor for the club. Grossman was appointed as the sole director of the company and, between December 2013 and July 2014, 1ST Land received a balance of at least £6m from the club to go towards the costs of redeveloping the stadium.
Image: Northampton Town