David Beckham was told to sort out his taxes if he wanted a knighthood.
It emerged last night that Beckham was on the verge of becoming Sir David in the 2014 New Year's Honours list until a secret 'red flag' warning from HM Revenue and Customs sunk his nomination. Beckham's involvement in an alleged tax avoidance scheme had scuppered his hopes.
The Honours Committee had already agreed that Beckham's nomination. His taxes were the problem.
The former footballer, 41, was one of dozens of wealthy celebrities who invested in the controversial Ingenious Media scheme to fund movies and reduce investors' personal tax liability.
HMRC labelled the scheme a tax avoidance vehicle. It is understood the Honours Committee then entered into an extraordinary dialogue with Team Beckham to 'sort out' the issue, raising the suggestion that high-profile individuals can be told what they need to do to get a knighthood.
The former Manchester United and England ace was widely expected to be knighted after his 20-year football career ended in May 2013. He had also played a key role in the London 2012 Olympics.
The leaked emails reveal that when he found out he had been passed over in 2013, the ex-England captain denounced the committee members as 'a bunch of c***s' who were 'unappreciative' of his national-treasure status.
The former England football may have been a victim of a £1million blackmail plot over hacked emails.
There were attempts to sort it out, because everybody felt he merited a knighthood. There was not any other factor, just the tax.
Last night a friend of Beckham's said: 'It's been a rough few days but, actually. He knows he's done nothing wrong. The frustrating thing from his end is all the tireless work he has done for charity that hasn't been documented, and the idea he doesn't donate personally.