SFO arrests two people in Arena Television fraud investigation

Serious Fraud Office arrests two people in fraud investigation into collapsed broadcaster Arena Television

Two people have been arrested as part of a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into the collapse of broadcaster Arena Television.

Three sites were also raided as part of the criminal investigation into the company, which went bankrupt in November.

Established around 30 years ago, Arena TV has supplied broadcast equipment to clients including ITV, the BBC and Sky Sports for events ranging from Six Nations rugby to the Glastonbury Music Festival.

Probe: Arena TV has provided broadcast material to clients including ITV, BBC and Sky Sports for events ranging from Six Nations rugby to Glastonbury Music Festival (pictured)

Its founder Richard Yeowart, a former cameraman, abruptly ordered the group out of business three months ago, leaving most of its 100 or so employees in limbo.

Since then, Arena has been investigated for fraud after administrators estimated that up to 55 lenders owed more than £280m in loans against equipment that may never have existed .

Details have emerged of Yeowart’s lavish life, with the former boss regularly flying to work by helicopter.

Arena had a fleet of vehicles and three jets, and Yeowart, 54, is said to have a pilot’s license.

Last month it was reported he was in France with fellow Arena TV manager Robert Hopkinson, 41, who is believed to have been living with Yeowart in East Grinstead, West Sussex.

The investigation also concerns the relationship between Arena TV and one of its suppliers, Sentinel Broadcast.

The company, which supplies audiovisual equipment, is being questioned whether it created fake invoices in cooperation with Arena, The Sunday Times reported in January.

The SFO said it could not provide further comment on the people interviewed or the sites searched.

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