Reports on Birmingham’s Unite hotel reveal ‘potential crime’ | Unite

Unite has shared two independent reports on the construction of a nearly £100million hotel and conference center in birmingham with the police after discovering what the union called “very serious concerns about potential criminality”.

The union’s plan to build the 170-room complex – which began under former general secretary Len McCluskey – was expected to cost around £35m in 2015 but is now expected to reach £98m.

Sharon Graham, who succeeded McCluskey last year, commissioned two reports on the project, one by a senior lawyer and the other by an accounting firm, Grant Thornton.

On Thursday, the union said both reports would be shared with police and would not be released while officers considered what they had uncovered.

A Unite The spokesperson said Graham commissioned a report from Martin Bowdery KC examining why the project went so far over budget, and then an “external forensic investigation into Unite-affiliated service providers.”

The spokesperson said: “Due to very serious concerns about potential criminality that have emerged, these two reports are now being shared with police. Police have asked Unite not to release the contents of the reports while it conducts its investigations. While these are ongoing, Unite will make no further comment.

“The General Secretary pledges to do everything in her power to recover the lost money, by any means necessary and holding responsible anyone responsible.”

In April, South Wales Police and HM Revenue and Customs raided the offices of Unite in central London as part of an investigation into allegations of corruption, fraud and money laundering, linked to the hotel project.

Sources said contracts related to the center were part of their investigations. Police took files and a computer from the union office and also searched a number of other addresses in South Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales, Greater London and Northamptonshire.

A leaked document seen by the Guardian in January 2021 says a project reported in 2015 to be budgeted at £35m had so far cost the union £74m. The current total budget is estimated at £98m, with some reports indicating that the value of the complex could be around £30m lower.

In January 2021, McCluskey told a meeting of the union’s executive board that costs had increased due to the union’s promise to employ unionized workers, to avoid the involvement of companies that had a history of blacklist, employ workers directly and pay them at least nationally. pay rate.

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