Tottenham manager threatened to sue reporter for bungs claim
Court told Redknapp feigned ignorance over offshore account
TOTTENHAM manager Harry Redknapp threatened to “sue the bollocks off” a reporter who suggested payments he received into an offshore account that remained undeclared to the taxman for six years were “bungs”, a court heard yesterday.
Redknapp, who is accused of dodging tax on two sums totalling £189,400, emphasised to the journalist there was “nothing crooked” about the payments made to an account in Monaco registered in his pet dog’s name, jurors were told.
The 64-year-old, regarded as favourite to be next England head coach, told police in a separate interview that he “didn’t fiddle anything” and “paid every penny” of his taxes, according to transcripts read out on the second day of his trial.
Redknapp, the most successful current English manager was present at Southwark Crown Court again as he and co-accused Milan Mandaric, the former Portsmouth chairman, heard the prosecution elaborate on its arguments. Both men deny any wrongdoing.
Redknapp is alleged to have received payments of £93,100 and £96,300 between 2002 and 2007 relating to his time in charge of Portsmouth from Mandaric into an account code-named “Rosie 47”, an amalgamation of his dog’s name and his year of birth.
John Black QC, prosecuting, read aloud a transcript of a 2009 telephone interview in which Redknapp insisted to a News of the World reporter the sums were legitimate bonus payments he was due for making a profit on transfers, and not “bungs”.
“Don’t say bung. How can it be a bung when the chairman of the football club paid me? There ain’t nothing crooked in it,” Redknapp said, adding he would “sue the bollocks off” the journalist if he published such an accusation.
Later that year Redknapp told police he was innocent and that Mandaric had assured him that tax had already been paid on the amounts, the court heard. “I was guaranteed by the man who paid the money that he had paid the tax,” Redknapp told detectives. “I don’t fiddle anything. I pay my tax. I’ve been in football all my life and I pay every penny.”
Mr Black argued that there were contradictions in Redknapp and Mandaric’s stories.
Mandaric told the News of the World that his two payments to the “Rosie 47” account were “nothing to do with bonuses” and “not money from football”, and informed police they were loans, the jury was told. But Redknapp, who was entitled to a five per cent cut of profits on player sales, told the now-defunct newspaper the sums were bonus payments relating to profit on the sale of Peter Crouch to Aston Villa, it was claimed.
The court also heard that Redknapp did not tell HM Revenue and Customs about his offshore account until six years after it was opened, and only after he was arrested and questioned. He did not reveal “Rosie 47” to his accountant for four and a half years, or his bank relations manager for almost six years, Mr Black added.
“The significance of this omission by Mr Redknapp is that were his tax adviser or bank relationship manager told it would almost certainly have resulted in the money in the account being entered on Mr Redknapp’s tax return and coming to the attention of the Inland Revenue,” Mr Black said. “Unless they were declared the Revenue and Customs would have no idea and the monies would have been kept secret.”
Jurors were told that Redknapp “feigned almost complete ignorance” of the account when it was revealed.
The trial continues.