Redknapp cash not a payment, says Mandaric

Former Portsmouth chairman tells court that £189k transfer was “seed money” for Spurs boss to invest in portfolio – not a bonus for profit from player sales

THE DISPUTED payments at the centre of Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp’s tax evasion case were not bonuses but “seed money” to help him build an investment portfolio, his co-accused Milan Mandaric told a court yesterday.

Former Portsmouth chairman Mandaric said he transferred a total of £189,400 into an offshore account opened in the name of Redknapp’s pet dog, Rosie, because he wanted “to do something special” for him as a friend.

Mandaric, now chairman of Sheffield Wednesday, added that the cash was voluntary and “absolutely nothing” to do with Redknapp (right) being under his employment at Portsmouth between 2001 and 2004 and from 2005 until he stepped aside in 2006.

The 73-year-old’s testimony, under cross-examination from his defending barrister, Lord MacDonald QC, contradicted what jurors heard last week, and came as the high-profile trial at Southwark Crown Court entered its sixth day.

On Tuesday the prosecution read out a transcript of an interview with a journalist in which Redknapp insisted the two payments were legitimate bonuses he was due for making a profit on the sale of striker Peter Crouch.

Mandaric’s explanation was consistent with what he himself was said to have told police, however, and also backed up Redknapp’s own assertion to detectives that he believed any tax due on the money had been paid by Mandaric in the United States.

Redknapp, the favourite to be next England manager, and Mandaric both deny charges of cheating the public revenue over two payments alleged to have been made between April 2002 and November 2007.

The trial continues.