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Redknapp 'threatened to sue reporter over bung'

SOCCER manager Harry Redknapp threatened to "sue the b****cks" off a journalist as the football boss and his former employer gave conflicting excuses for an alleged offshore tax fiddle, a court was told yesterday.

The Tottenham Hotspur boss was "feigning ignorance" about his illegal dealings for six years before his arrest, prosecutors claimed. Mr Redknapp was said to have told police "I don't fiddle" as he and co-defendant Milan Mandaric gave contradicting explanations for the £189,000 "bung".

Mr Redknapp had earlier told 'News of the World' reporter Rob Beasley that Mr Mandaric "don't know what he is f****** talking about". While Mr Redknapp claimed payments in to the Monaco account surrounded transfer profit bonuses, Mr Mandaric claimed the money was a loan "outside of football", Southwark Crown Court heard.

John Black, prosecuting, read out a string of interview transcripts on the second day of Mr Redknapp and Mr Mandaric's tax evasion trial. In a 2009 telephone conversation Mr Redknapp told Mr Beasley he had "the best accountants in England", claiming the Inland Revenue was fully aware of his dealings in Monaco.

Mr Beasley spoke to Mr Redknapp on the eve of Tottenham's Carling Cup final against Manchester United and two days after calling Mr Mandaric, the former Portsmouth FC chairman.

When Mr Beasley offered Mr Mandaric's explanation that the money was an investment, Mr Redknapp replied: "He don't know what he is f****** talking about. What is he talking about? It is a bonus."

Explaining that the payments surrounded profit made on the sale of Peter Crouch, Mr Redknapp added: "If it was something dodgy I would have gone over there and brought it back in a briefcase."

When Mr Beasley asked him whether he had paid any tax in the UK on it, Mr Redknapp replied: "Haven't been asked to, Rob," adding "there ain't nothing crooked in it".

Mr Redknapp told Mr Beasley that if the journalist reported in the paper that the manager was taking bungs, he would "sue the b****cks" off him.

Both Mr Redknapp and Mr Mandaric deny two counts of cheating the public revenue. The trial continues.

Irish Independent