Premier League club in probe over fake HSBC letters: Report

Premier League club Watford are under investigation for allegedly submitting forged HSBC bank letters to support Gino Pozzo taking control of the club.
Premier League club Watford are under investigation for allegedly submitting forged HSBC bank letters to support Gino Pozzo taking control of the club. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON (AFP) - Premier League club Watford are under investigation for allegedly submitting forged HSBC bank letters to support Gino Pozzo taking control of the club, British media reported on Monday.

The English Football League has launched a probe into documentation submitted to the sport authority by Watford in July 2014, The Telegraph newspaper said.

Two letters dated a week apart state Hornets Investment Limited, the club's parent company, had a bank guarantee of £7 million (S$11.9 million) to fund Watford for the upcoming season.

The documents feature the HSBC logo and were allegedly submitted to the EFL to support Pozzo taking full control of the Premier League club, which was bought by the Italian's family in 2012.

Watford, currently ninth in the league, was not immediately available to comment on the report.

A spokesman for the EFL told The Telegraph the league had launched an investigation: "The club has been formally contacted by the EFL and is now required to provide a full and detailed response to the allegations.

"Once that response is received, it will be fully considered by the EFL and appropriate action will be taken under our rules and regulations."

The EFL and HSBC did not immediately reply to requests to comment on the newspaper report. An internal investigation is being carried out by the club and so far has not found reason to believe Pozzo was aware of the forged letters, The Telegraph said.