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London 2012: Spurs accused of 'spying' by Olympics chief

  • 8 November 2011
  • From the section London

A man has been arrested over claims that London 2012 executives were put under surveillance by a potential tenant of the Olympic Stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur FC monitored all 14 board members of the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC), according to the OPLC's Chair, Baroness Ford.

The Premier League club said it "totally rejects the accusation in the strongest possible terms".

A 29-year-old man was detained in Sussex in connection with the claims.

Spurs and League One club Leyton Orient launched a legal battle when West Ham were chosen to occupy the stadium after the Games.

The bidding process collapsed and a new round of applications has been invited.

'Frivolous and vindictive'

Baroness Ford told the London Assembly: "My board were put under surveillance by Tottenham Hotspur and the chairman of Tottenham Hotspur felt confident enough to say that in the Sunday Times several months ago, that all 14 members of my board were put under surveillance.

"The Metropolitan Police are now conducting an investigation into that surveillance.

"There has been all kinds of behaviour here that I could not have anticipated which, believe me, has not been pleasant in the last 12 months.

"I'm expecting the unexpected because that's what the last 12 months has told me.

"Our job now is to narrow, as far as we possibly can, the scope now for legitimate legal challenge in this next process. That is all that we can do.

"If people want then to be vexatious, frivolous and vindictive or whatever they want, they will do that."

But Tottenham said it "did not undertake, instruct or engage any party to conduct surveillance on any member of the OPLC committee".

"We consider the making of this baseless accusation to be wholly inappropriate and irresponsible," it added in a statement.

'Beggars belief'

The Chair of London Assembly's Economy, Culture and Sport Committee, Dee Doocey, said the suggestion that board members had been spied on was "reprehensible" and "absolutely disgraceful".

It "almost beggars belief that this thing can happen", she added.

"I personally find it appalling, and I'm sure I speak for the rest of the committee, at the very idea of your board being put under surveillance."

Scotland Yard said officers had searched homes in Sutton, south London, and in Sussex, as part of their investigation.

Business premises in Westminster, central London, and in Sussex were also examined.

West Ham and the OPLC "have made allegations to the Metropolitan Police in respect of the unlawful obtaining of personal information", a spokeswoman added.

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