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By ESPN Staff

Agent arrested after being reported by Downing

A licensed football agent has been arrested on suspicion of fraud after a formal complaint by Middlesbrough and England midfielder Stewart Downing.

Cleveland Police today confirmed a 50-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman have been arrested in connection with allegations made by the player.

A police spokesman said: 'Cleveland Police can confirm that officers from their Economic Crime Unit (Fraud Section) have this morning arrested a 50-year-old man and a 43-year-old woman from the Newcastle-upon-Tyne area on suspicion of offences of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering.

'They are currently being questioned by police at a police station in the Northumbria area.'

Downing, 24, contacted police on the advice of his club.

In a statement, a Boro spokesman said: 'Middlesbrough Football Club can confirm that it was approached some time ago by Stewart Downing with concerns he had regarding the way his and his company's affairs have been handled.

'The club advised him to involve lawyers and accountants to investigate these concerns.

'Having established his position, Stewart made a formal complaint to Cleveland Police who have since been investigating matters.

'This led to the arrest today of a man and a woman relating to the investigation.

'The Football Association are aware of the position and are continuing to monitor its progress.'

Downing signed a new five-year contract with his home-town club in February this year.

He did not have an agent at the time and is understood to have been represented by his father.

The matter was also reported to the Football Association, who have confirmed they have been liaising with Cleveland Police.

An FA spokesman said: 'The FA can confirm that it was made aware by Middlesbrough FC of concerns relating to the actions of a licensed football agent in connection to their player Stewart Downing's financial affairs.

'The FA then acted as liaison between the club and Cleveland Police.

'We will continue to liaise with both parties to ensure that any potential breaches of football regulations are dealt with at the appropriate time.'

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