Unite cuts ties with major supplier over fear of financial irregularities

One of the UK’s largest trade unions, unitedhas severed ties with a major supplier and launched an independent investigation over concerns about financial irregularities.

An assistant general secretary of the union told staff it was suspending relations with the company “mainly because of the risk of them committing an offense under the Income of Crime Act 2002”.

A spokeswoman for the company involved confirmed that it had “assisted the police in some investigations” but said it categorically denied any wrongdoing, adding: “No action has been taken against anyone associated with or associated with our company No allegations of any nature have been made.” The Guardian is not naming the company for legal reasons.

Unite severed ties with the company this month, and accountancy firm Grant Thornton is conducting an investigation, the report of which is due next month.

A Unite spokeswoman said its secretary general, Sharon Graham, had launched an external forensic investigation of Unite’s affiliated service providers.

“The Secretary General is determined to ensure that no stone is left unturned in uncovering the truth about these matters and taking whatever steps are necessary to protect the interests of our members,” the spokesperson said.

“In this regard, the union recently severed its relationship” with a supplier. “It must be clarified that the Union is sharing and will continue to share any relevant information it receives regarding these matters with the police and other relevant authorities.”

It comes after 20 officers from South Wales Police raided the office of a Unite employee in London in April and took away material as part of their inquiries.

At the time, a police spokesman said: “South Wales Police have executed the warrant as part of an investigation into allegations of bribery, fraud and money laundering. The warrant was issued on Wednesday 6 April in South Wales, Metropolitan, Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales The executions were carried out at addresses in the Dyfed, Powys and Northamptonshire police force areas.

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“A joint investigation with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs is ongoing and a number of suspects will be interviewed in due course.”

Planning to cut donations to Labor and divert funds to union campaigns, Graham was elected last year as general secretary of Unite on a platform of change.

Separately, it ordered an investigation into the rising cost of building the Birmingham Hotel and Conference Centre, which reportedly included damage to About £70 million. It is also due to report in December and is being operated by a KC who the Guardian understands to be Martin Boudry.

The initial estimated cost for the 170-room complex was £57m, but the cost rose to £98m, with Unite saying the increase was a result of the safety of onsite employment practices.

The Guardian was leaked documents Showing in January 2021 that the cost of the controversial construction project had escalated into millions.

Read full story at the guardian.com

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