Steve Hayes, owner of Wycombe Wanderers Football Club and the London Wasps rugby unions team, has been arrested by detectives investigating computer hacking.
According to the Evening Standard, he was seized in a dawn raid at his Hertfordshire home by police who are also probing alleged criminality at the News of the World.
He was detained on suspicion of offences under the Computer Misuse Act in February and the arrest by Operation Tuleta suggests the Metropolitan Police is investigating beyond newspapers.
Fifty-year-old Hayes, whose fortune is estimated at £50m, is a former mortgage salesman who made £50m from the sale of an internet loans company he co-founded.
Hayes is currently on holiday on Dubai and now on police bail.
He co-founded loans.co.uk in 1997, and used to hire celebrities, including glamour model Jordan and actresses from TV show Footballers’ Wives, to meet staff at his Watford office. He is a friend of England rugby World Cup winner Lawrence Dallaglio and is chairman of trustees at the Lawrence Dallaglio Foundation, which has raised over £3m for charitable causes.
In 2004 he bought his first stake in League One club Wycombe Wanderers before buying Wasps in 2008.
However in October Hayes put Wasps up for sale, with four interested parties confirmed by the club in January.
A spokesman for the rugby club confirmed he had been arrested, while a Scotland Yard spokesman issued a statement which read: “On 24 February 2012, officers from Operation Tuleta arrested a man at his home in Hertfordshire, and a man at an address in Surrey, on suspicion of offences under the Computer Misuse Act 1990 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) 2000.
“These arrests are not directly linked to any news organisation or the activities of journalists. They were taken to London police stations and later bailed to return in June and July 2012 pending further enquiries.”
Operation Tuleta is the sector specifically investigating computer hacking, as a trio of probes into alleged criminality at the News of the World continue.
It is headed by Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers.