Two individuals have been arrested as part of a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into Arena Television, the UK-owned outside broadcaster that collapsed into administration last November. 

In a statement, the SFO said it was conducting a criminal investigation into the business practices of individuals associated with Arena Television Limited and its linked entities.

“Three sites were searched this morning by the SFO with support from the National Crime Agency,” it said in a statement yesterday.  

“These searches and arrests form part of wider investigative activity being undertaken by the SFO in relation to this matter.”

“As this is an ongoing investigation, no further comment or information can be provided at this time.”

In December 2021, it was reported that Richard Yeowart, Arena Television’s founder, had abruptly ordered Arena TV to stop trading at the end of November and had left the country. 

Robert Hopkinson, a director of Arena TV, also disappeared shortly after the company collapsed. Both Yeowart and Hopkinson were thought to be in France or Spain, according to a court document from November.

A probe by court-appointed administrators Kroll found that up to 55 lenders were owed over £280m in mostly asset-based loans made against equipment that may never have existed. 

The Kroll investigation is also looking into the relationship between Arena TV and Sentinel Broadcast, a supplier of audio-visual equipment. Kroll is believed to be looking at whether Sentinel Broadcast created false invoices in cooperation with Arena.

The SFO did not confirm which individual had been arrested. 

Arena Television’s absconded directors and lessors’ missing millions

Fraud prevention after Arena Television: will anything change?