The leaked email exchanges between David Beckham and his PR adviser suggest the former footballer's eagerness to have a Knighthood, but his sketchy tax affairs might have impeded his path to the accolade.
Beckham is known for devoting his time to children's charity UNICEF. He has launched the "7 fund" to further help the organization in protecting children residing in impoverished areas. Apart from spearheading fundraisers, he also personally visited children in countries that have been exposed to disasters such as Philippines, Sierra Leone, and Swaziland.
According to a report by the Mirror, it's because the father-of-four has been given a "red flag" because due to his involvement with Ingenious Media, an asset management firm that helps celebrities allocate their funds into tax-friendly projects. While the investment scheme is completely legal, the Queen's Revenue and Customs does not approve of the scheme.
"For anybody who is being considered for an honour, we got advice on the reputational risk on relation to their tax affairs. It is ranked red, amber and green. And if it is red, the general rule is you do not give them an honour."Despite being recommended for Knighthood in 2013 by Olympic legend Lord Coe, Beckham hasn't received the honor. In one of the leaked emails, it appears that Beckham called the Honors Committee a "bunch of c***s" for its decision to not give him the honor.
In another email, Beckham seemingly criticized opera singer Katherine Jenkins for being awarded an OBE. "Katherine Jenkins OBE for what? Singing at the rugby and going to see the troops plus taking coke. F***ing joke," Beckham allegedly said.
The sister company of the PR firm representing Beckham recently confirmed that a hacker demanded close to £1 million (about $1.07 million) from them if they didn't want the emails to come out. A spokesman further claimed that the emails were not only hacked, but were likewise "doctored" to paint Beckham in a bad light.
With the help of a lawyer, the hacker tried to strike a deal with Doyen Sports, the Portugal-based sister company of Doyen Global which was co-founded by Simon Oliveira, Beckham's PR advisor.
Following the advice of the authorities, Beckham's team met up with the hacker's lawyer at a petrol station in Lisbon. Cameras have been set up to record the attempted extortion. When the blackmailer's lawyer realized what was happening, he immediately withdrew. He said he was only contacted to agree on a settlement with another attorney.
Sensing that the extortion wouldn't push through, the materials were then forwarded to a network of journalists as well as Football Leaks. The website maintains that it has no involvement with the hacker's attempted extortion.
Football Leaks – The Robin Hood of Football Fans?
Football Leaks, often described as the sports counterpart of the whistleblowing page Wikileaks, was established in 2015 by a group of football fans in Portugal who are tired of the "lies and controversies" within the sports. The website claims that its mission is to protect the fans' best interests.
"The fans have to understand that with every ticket, every jersey they buy and with every television subscription, they are feeding an extremely corrupt system that is only in it for itself."Beckham's team has enlisted the help of Marclay Associates to track down the mastermind behind the theft. In the past, the firm managed to shut down Football Leaks' three accounts. The team is likewise working with authorities in Spain, Hungary, and soon, with Germany.
UNICEF already expressed its support for Beckham.
"As well as generously giving his time, energy and support to help raise awareness and funds for Unicef's work for children, David has given significant funds personally," read the statement.
[Featured Image by UNICEF/Getty Images]