Sunday 17 December 2017

Redknapp 'kept bungs' in account named after dog

Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknappis accompanied by his son, former footballer and television pundit Jamie Redknapp. Photo: PA
Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknappis accompanied by his son, former footballer and television pundit Jamie Redknapp. Photo: PA
Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp arrives at Southwark Crown Court where he will face trial for tax evasion

Tom Morgan and Jennifer Cockerell in London

Football boss Harry Redknapp went on trial yesterday accused of taking tax-free offshore bungs in an account named after his pet dog.

The Tottenham Hotspur boss received transfer bonuses in a Monaco account to pull off the £189,000 tax dodge, jurors heard.

One of the payments during his time at Portsmouth was over the £3m profit the club made on the sale of England star Peter Crouch, prosecutors claim.

Mr Redknapp and former Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric were said to have obscured the money trail for years. The manager failed to tell investigators about the Monaco account -- named Rosie 47 in reference to his dog and his year of birth -- as tax officials probed a previous £300,000 payment he received over Rio Ferdinand's transfer between West Ham United and Leeds, it was claimed.

At Southwark Crown Court in London, prosecutor John Black said: "The Crown's case is that the money transfers to the offshore Monaco account were deliberately and dishonestly paid by Mr Mandaric, and deliberately and dishonestly received by Mr Redknapp, with the intention of concealing them from the authorities and the payment of tax."

Mr Redknapp's "widespread popularity" was singled out by the prosecution.

"He is currently enjoying what may be described as footballing success," Mr Black said, referring to Tottenham's current standing at third place in the Premier League.

The manager is "unusually talented" and "Harry Redknapp was, it goes without saying, no ordinary employee", he said.

But the barrister added: "He was nevertheless a hard-headed businessman, with a financial acumen and pecuniary sense of his influence to his employers."

Mr Redknapp and Mr Mandaric deny two counts of cheating the public revenue when he was manager of Portsmouth Football Club.

Mr Redknapp, appearing behind bullet-proof glass alongside Mr Mandaric, read notes as Mr Black said the sale of Mr Crouch for £4.5m to Aston Villa in 2002 prompted the first payment in to the Monaco account.

Mr Redknapp never declared the account as he was investigated three years later by customs in relation to transfer dealings at previous club West Ham, the court heard.

The Monaco bank account eventually came to light during a subsequent inquiry into illicit payments in football.

Mr Redknapp (64) is the most successful English manager in the modern game, having led Portsmouth to FA Cup success and Spurs to last season's UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.

Serbian Mr Mandaric (73) is now chairman of Sheffield Wednesday, having previously worked at Leicester City.

Irish Independent

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