October 23, 2020

Harry accused of cash cover-up


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LONDON (AP) – Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp’s financial dealings were raked over in a London court Tuesday as prosecutors laid out their case that he used a secret offshore bank account to stash $295,000 of transfer bonuses over a six-year period.

The trial comes as Redknapp is enjoying the most successful period of his coaching career and is a prime candidate to replace Fabio Capello as England manager later this year. The 64-year-old coach is accused of keeping cash in Monaco to avoid British taxes while he was manager at Portsmouth.

On the second day of the trial at Southwark Crown Court, the jury was told that Redknapp denies receiving a “bung” – the British term to describe a bribe – from former Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric during their spell at the club.

“For the sake of … any amount of money, I don’t fiddle,” Redknapp said in part of a police interview read by the prosecution. “I pay my tax.”

Redknapp had defended himself to a reporter with the now-defunct News of the World during a taped conversation read in court

“How can it be a bung when the chairman of the football club paid me?” Redknapp said.

But the prosecution case is that the pair were trying to dodge paying income tax and national insurance. Mandaric is accused of paying $145,000 into Redknapp’s Monaco bank account in May 2002 – a bonus prompted by Peter Crouch’s sale from Portsmouth to Aston Villa – and another $150,000 two years later.

The 73-year-old Mandaric, who is now chairman at third-tier club Sheffield Wednesday, contends he was providing tax free loans to Redknapp, prosecutor John Black said.

According to police interviews read in court, Redknapp said he was assured by Mandaric that the tax on the money in Monaco had been paid and claimed his boss at the time had control over the HSBC account.

Redknapp also said the investment made on his behalf by Mandaric turned out to be a “disaster.”

“It got wiped out,” Redknapp was quoted as telling police. “I thought that’s the end of that one, never mentioned it again … I just thought it’s history … he probably ain’t even put the money in.”

Redknapp managed Portsmouth, which is now in the second tier, between 2002 and 2004. He returned to Fratton Park in 2005 after a brief spell at its archrival Southampton before moving to Tottenham in 2008. As the case was being heard Tuesday, Portsmouth’s future was at stake over unpaid taxes.

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