LONDON (AP) — In a criminal case centering on London's Olympic Stadium, three men pleaded guilty on Friday to illegally obtaining private information from sports officials as the venue's future was being decided.
Premier League club Tottenham was accused by the Olympic Park Legacy Company of ordering surveillance by private investigators on board members tasked with deciding whether Tottenham or rival West Ham could move into the stadium after the 2012 Games.
Accountancy firm PKF was employed by Tottenham for work linked to the stadium bid, but the north London club has denied being involved in illegal activity. Howard Hill, a former partner at PKF, was one of the three men to plead guilty at Inner London Crown Court to unlawfully obtaining personal data such as phone bills and bank statements from West Ham and OPLC workers.
Hill along with two other men — Richard Michael Forrest and Lee Stewart — will be sentenced next month. At a separate court case, PKF were accused of unlawfully obtaining telephone records of West Ham vice chairman Karren Brady during the bidding process.
West Ham initially beat Tottenham to take over the Olympic Stadium in 2011 but the deal collapsed amid legal challenges from London clubs Tottenham and Leyton Orient. West Ham has since agreed on a new 99-year deal to move from its nearby 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.