Sunday 17 December 2017

I never took bungs, I can barely read, says Redknapp

Tom Morgan in London

HARRY Redknapp told police that he writes like a two-year-old and can't spell as he denied taking bungs, a court heard yesterday.

He also told officers: "I have never written a letter in my life."

Jurors heard a tape recording of the Tottenham Hotspur manager being taken in for questioning by City of London Police.

"I am completely and utterly disorganised. I am not going to fiddle taxes, I pay my accountant a fortune to look after me," said Mr Redknapp.

He also told officers of a feud with Milan Mandaric over a bonus he was due for the sale of Peter Crouch from Portsmouth to Aston Villa.

Strongly denying claims of tax dodging he told the police: "I couldn't even fill a team sheet in", a court heard today.

In tape recordings played at Southwark Crown Court, Mr Redknapp said: "I can't work a computer, I don't know what an email is, I can't, I have never sent a fax and I've never even sent a text message."

He added: "I have a big problem, I can't write so I don't keep anything. I am the most disorganised person, I am ashamed to say, in the world."

Under questioning over the Monaco account at the heart of the £189,000 (€226,000) bung allegation, the Tottenham Hotspur manager added: "I pay a fortune to my accountant to look after me you know.

"He writes all the cheques for me and my wife. He pays my bills. He runs my life basically."

Mr Redknapp told officers in June 2009 that 'The Sun', who he writes regular columns for, "hadn't paid me for 18 months".

He said: "I've never written a letter in my life. I couldn't write a letter. I write like a two-year-old and I can't spell."

Mr Redknapp added: "Why am I gonna fiddle 20, 30 -- whatever -- thousand pounds of income tax when I walk away six months later from £200,000 that I was due."

The tape was played out after jurors heard Mr Redknapp made "disastrous" business decisions and lost £250,000 in a "very unsuccessful" takeover bid at Oxford United.

Mr Redknapp lost every penny as part of a loan to take control of Oxford, HSBC executive Alan Hills said. Mr Redknapp's barrister John Kelsey-Fry QC used the example to deny prosecution claims that the football manager was a "hard-headed businessman".

Mr Hills said Mr Redknapp had shown acumen in the property market, but he agreed with Mr Kelsey-Fry's claim that "with the benefit of hindsight, some investments were disastrous".

Mr Hills, an associate director with HSBC in London between 2000 and 2009, said he held meetings with Mr Redknapp alongside the football boss's solicitor and accountant.

The jury was told Mr Hills was not initially informed of Mr Redknapp's Monaco dealings in addition to the domestic accounts he held with HSBC.

Mr Redknapp had sole responsibility for the Monaco bank account at the centre of £189,000 bung allegations, said David Cusdin, vice-president of HSBC in Monaco between 2000 and 2005.

Giving evidence via videolink, Mr Cusdin said he was aware that Mr Redknapp had flown to the principality to open an account.

"I don't have a recollection -- but I could well have shaken his hand at the meeting."

Both Mr Redknapp (64) of Poole, Dorset, and Mr Mandaric, from Oadby, Leicestershire, deny two counts of cheating the public revenue when Mr Redknapp was manager of Portsmouth Football Club.

The first charge of cheating the public revenue alleges that between April 1, 2002 and November 28, 2007, Mr Mandaric paid $145,000 into the account. The second charge for the same offence relates to a sum of $150,000 allegedly paid between May 1, 2004 and November 28, 2007.

The court was adjourned until today when it will hear from the final prosecution witnesses.

Irish Independent

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