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Fraudsters strike Hearts, Hamilton

Police probe as football clubs hit by internet scam

Ann Budge

Hearts owner Ann Budge is awaiting findings of a police investigation into an internet fraud which hit the club (pic: SNS Group)

Police Scotland is investigating a major internet scam after Scottish Premiership clubs Heart of Midlothian and Hamilton Academical were hit by fraudsters.

While Hearts refused to reveal the extent of their losses, the Accies are understood to have had in excess of £750,000 wiped from their RBS bank account.

Chairman Les Gray said: “Hamilton Academical FC have been the target of an elaborate fraud resulting in the loss of a substantial sum of monies.

“The Police Service Scotland and our bank are working closely with the club conducting a criminal investigation to pursue those individuals responsible.

“At this point it is imperative that we remain calm and work together as we go through one of the most difficult situations we have faced as a club.

“In the interim, the directors intend to inject funds to meet the club’s ongoing obligations until the investigation is complete to ensure continuity.

“No further comment will be made at this time as the police investigation continues.”

The loss suffered at Tynecastle is thought to be significantly less than Accies’ and a club statement said: “Heart of Midlothian can confirm it was the subject of an internet fraud earlier this year.

“The matter is now part of an active police investigation and therefore no further comment will be made.”

SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said it was a ‘very serious’ situation and added: “Hamilton Academical have informed us that they have been the victim of a sophisticated financial fraud and that Police Scotland are carrying out an investigation.

“This is clearly a very serious and unfortunate situation and everyone in the game will hope it can be resolved quickly.

“We will be monitoring the situation closely and working in conjunction with Hamilton Academical in the days and weeks ahead.”

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said of the situation concerning Hamilton: “We can confirm a complaint has been received regarding a fraud and officers are currently carrying out inquiries into this matter.”

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