West Ham United news

Trio admit spying on West Ham

November 8, 2013
By ESPN staff

Three men have pleaded guilty to spying on West Ham United during the bidding to take over the Olympic Stadium.

Olympic Stadium
PA PhotosWest Ham were confirmed as Olympic Stadium tenants in March.

Richard Michael Forrest, Lee Stewart and Howard Hill have admitted at Inner London Crown Court that they illegally obtained personal data such as phone bills and bank statements from West Ham and the Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) during the bidding process.

The trio will be sentenced on Dec. 20.

The OPLC was deciding between bids from West Ham and Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

In 2011, the OPLC had alleged that Tottenham had ordered surveillance by private investigators on all 14 members of the board, and the trio were subsequently arrested.

Hill is a former partner at accountancy firm PKF, which had been employed by Tottenham for work linked to the stadium bid, but Spurs deny the claims of spying or the illegal obtaining of information.

West Ham initially beat Tottenham to take over the Olympic Stadium, but the deal collapsed in October 2011 amid legal challenges Spurs and Leyton Orient. The Hammers have since agreed on a new 99-year deal to move from Upton Park and rent the revamped 486 million pound ($781 million) venue starting in 2016.

The 80,000-seat stadium, which hosted the opening and closing ceremonies and the track and field competition at the 2012 London Games, will be downsized to 54,000 seats and reconfigured with a new roof and retractable seats.

As the anchor tenant, West Ham will have primary of use of the stadium, although the venue will retain the running track and stage other sporting events and concerts.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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