Harry Redknapp: I’d rather pay too much tax
TOTTENHAM Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp tells court he 'would rather pay too much tax than not enough tax'
Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, has told the jury in his trial on tax evasion charges today that he had always paid his taxes during his career in football.
Redknapp began giving evidence shortly before the lunch adjournment on the eighth day of the trial at Southwark Crown Court, and insisted that he had always met his obligations to the Inland Revenue.
Asked by his counsel John Kelsey-Fry QC about his tax affairs Redknapp said: “I have always paid my tax, I have always gone to the best available people, I employ a top firm of London accountants, I would rather pay too much tax than not enough tax.”
In the afternoon session, Redknapp told the jury he has a loose grip on his business affairs, saying: ""I'm a fantastic football manager. I have no business sense whatsoever unfortunately."
The jury was also told that Redknapp was entitled to 10 per cent of Portsmouth's annual Premier League merit award. In 2004 the club received £4.3 million for finishing 13th.
Redknapp is charged along with Milan Mandaric of two counts of cheating the public revenue, which they deny. They are accused of hiding payments worth £187,000 linked to the transfer of Peter Crouch in a secret Monaco bank account to evade tax.
Redknapp said that he and Mandaric had enjoyed an “up and down” relationship during their time at Portsmouth, but that he still enjoyed his company.
He told the court that they had “hit it off” within an hour of meeting to discuss the Portsmouth manager’s post at a hotel in the New Forest, and their friendship remained strong.
“There is no-one I enjoyed being with more than Milan but we also had our ups and downs,” Redknapp said. “We were both, well I was a bit volatile I think, but even now there is no-one I would rather go out to dinner with, even now. I love his company.”
Redknapp told Mr Kelsey-Fry that in five years between opening the account, codenamed Rosie 47 after his dog and the year of his birth, he had never contacted the bank by phone or letter.
Redknapp also joked with Mandaric’s defence barrister Lord Macdonald QC, who had earlier suggested Redknapp had not played to a high level. “Well he’s an Arsenal fan isn’t he,” Redknapp said.
Earlier Mandaric denied that he paid £187,000 into a secret Monaco bank account opened by Harry Redknapp because of the manager’s “greed”.
Giving evidence on the eight day of the pair’s trial for tax evasion, the former Portsmouth chairman repeatedly denied that the payments were linked to the transfer of Crouch in 2002.
"Absolutely not true." Mandaric told jurors: "He was paid millions of pounds. He was paid fairly ... there was no issue whatsoever."