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NRL player agents raided in Eels cap rort

NZN 20/10/2016 Matt Encarnacion

Parramatta's salary cap scandal has taken another twist with police raiding the premises of prominent player agents and seizing documents.

Police Strike Force Rhodium stepped up their investigation into alleged misappropriation of Eels' finances on Thursday, revealing they were investigating possible criminal offences including fraud and money laundering.

Detective Superintendent Arthur Katsogiannis said police had reason to believe third-party sponsors had been overpaid for goods and services with the extra money fed to players outside the salary cap.

"That's one of the lines of investigation, yes," Katsogiannis said on Thursday.

Alleged dodgy third-party deals were a key factor in the Eels being docked 12 competition points and fined $1 million by the NRL in July for systemic salary cap cheating over three years.

"Our initial investigation has focused on finances derived by the club to enforce inflated invoices from suppliers," Katsogiannis said.

"Investigators have information to suggest that false invoices were submitted and paid with a secondary area of interest relating to the movement of that money and its final destination.

"This has led us to investigate possible criminal offences including fraud and money laundering."

Three premises linked to four player managers - Wayne Beavis and reportedly Sam Ayoub , George Mimis and Paul Sutton - were raided.

Police said they executed three search warrants and had "seized a number of documents, which they believe are relevant to the investigation".

Katsogiannis said police had already reviewed more than 250,000 emails, 600 invoices and 60 different bank accounts, however the investigation could take months longer to complete.

No one has been arrested.

Beavis released a statement on Thursday saying he had and would continue to cooperate with police and provide all relevant assistance requested as part of the investigation.

Comment was also being sought from Ayoub, Mimis and Sutton.

A NRL spokesman said the NRL integrity unit's review of player agents over the Eels' salary cap scandal was well advanced and a report was expected to be provided to the player agents committee soon.

The scandal resulted in five Eels officials being deregistered - chairman Steve Sharp, his deputy Tom Issa, director Peter Serrao, CEO John Boulous and football general manager Daniel Anderson.

The police raids came one day after new Eels chairman Max Donnelly proposed a raft of extraordinary governance changes to members in a bid to start the 2017 season with a clean slate.

Recently appointed CEO Bernie Gurr is set to begin in his role on Monday.

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