McIlroy, McDowell cited in U.K. tax probe

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Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell have both been cited in a tax probe in the United Kingdom, an investigation that could have financial implications for two of the game's biggest names.

According to a report from the Mirror, the HMRC – the British version of the IRS – is investigating programs, in which both McIlroy and McDowell invested, over claims that the programs "unfairly exploited incentives designed to boost run-down city centers, under which the investors could claim tax relief."

While the report notes that neither McIlroy nor McDowell had knowledge of how Valhalla Private Client Services operated the alleged "schemes," the men could still face financial penalties. The HMRC could issue "accelerated payment notices," whereby investors would have to pay back up to 70 percent of the tax shelter they had received within 90 days, with the caveat that they would be refunded the money if the programs were ultimately deemed "valid."

News of the investigation comes just one week after McIlroy reached an out-of-court settlement to end dueling lawsuits with Horizon Sports Management, whereby the 25-year-old will reportedly pay his former management company more than $20 million. McIlroy and McDowell were both managed by Horizon at one point, and McIlroy first sued Horizon based on a belief that his contract terms were "markedly inferior" to those offered to McDowell. Both players have since left Horizon to start their own management companies.

Other athletes listed as investors in the programs being investigated include soccer star Sergio Aguero, Premier League goalie Asmir Begovic and Olympic rowing gold medalist Steve Redgrave.