Police have raided homes and offices in London and the Isle of Man as part of a criminal investigation into the supply of government personal protective equipment at the start of the pandemic.
Officers seized financial documents and electronic devices, but made no arrests in a series of discreet and co-ordinated raids.
It is believed a special unit of the National Crime Agency has been secretly investigating PPE fraud allegations for about a year.
Controversy dogged the huge demand for PPE in early 2020 as the government struggled to find enough clothing and masks to protect health and other key workers at the height of the pandemic.
Some supply companies made huge profits at the expense of the taxpayer and sometimes failed to deliver what they promised, with sub-standard PPE rejected.
Isle of Man police were involved in the searches after discussions with the NCA which has no jurisdiction on the island, a self-governing British Crown dependency and tax haven.
The IoM police told Sky News: “The Isle of Man Constabulary, in support of an ongoing NCA investigation, executed search warrants at four addresses in the Isle of Man. No arrests were made.”
Nearly £9bn spent on PPE during coronavirus pandemic
Anaylsis: Matt Hancock blames Public Health England for care home COVID failings in 2020, but that’s not what he told me
The NCA said: “The NCA does not routinely confirm or deny the existence of investigations or the names of those who may or may not be under investigation.”
It’s understood that several targets of the investigators could be invited in for interview in coming weeks.