Bolton in fresh transfer probe

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Bolton chairman Phil Gartside has again insisted his club are an innocent party, amidst fresh accusations of making inappropriate payments.

The North West outfit have been at the centre of the furore caused by the recently aired Panorama documentary, which made allegations against manager Sam Allardyce and other Premiership bosses.

While Gartside will have been hoping for a period of calm after the storm, a national newspaper has now revealed new evidence, which points to an unlicensed agent being paid in the deal to bring Tal Ben Haim to the club.

When the Israeli international moved to England, agent Jamie Hart - the official middle man - was paid a fee by Bolton but he has now confirmed that unlicensed agent David Abu also received a cut of the fee for the role he played in the deal.

Allardyce's son, Craig, a key protagonist in the Panorama documentary, also received a payment but when quizzed on such payments Gartside confirmed he had no such knowledge.

Gartside counters that he had no idea of how Hart, a licensed agent, divided his fee and was adamant in his stance that his club do not partake in any activities above the law.

"We do not pay unlicensed agents," Gartside told the Daily Express. "We only pay licensed agents. Whether third parties are then involved we don't know.

"When Ben Haim came to this club Craig (Allardyce) was still working for Sam's agent, Mark Curtis, and we had an agreement that he would not be involved in our transfers.

"I have subsequently found that he has been. But at the time we paid Jamie Hart and it was Jamie Hart that brought the player to the club.

"I am very shocked David Abu has been paid a cut but I do not know about it. If he has, of course it is a serious issue and I want to know about it.

"But while we cannot control what goes on, neither are we turning a blind eye to it. We just abide by the rules."

Gartside continued to confirm that he had questioned both Sam and Craig Allardyce and that he would continue to scrutinise all aspects of the club's transfer activities.

"I have asked the question of Craig Allardyce and I have asked the question of our manager," he added. 

"I asked them direct some months ago whether they had been involved in anything that I should be made aware of.

"I was satisfied with the answer they gave me then. I am satisfied with the answers - so far.

"I shall be asking the question again. I am paranoid that anything should be going on.

"But I do not believe that this club has been involved in anything illegal."