Trial begins into claims 64-year-old avoided tax
Jury told Spurs boss had secret Monaco account
Redknapp and Mandaric deny charges
TOTTENHAM manager Harry Redknapp received “bungs” totalling almost £200,000 into an offshore account in the name of his pet dog and deliberately dodged paying tax on the sums, a court heard yesterday.
Redknapp, who is widely tipped to succeed Fabio Capello as England head coach in the summer, appeared in the dock at Southwark Crown Court yesterday for the first day of a high-profile trial expected to be concluded next week.
The 64-year-old was accused of accepting bonus payments of £93,100 and £96,300 relating to his time in charge of Portsmouth from the club’s then-chairman Milan Mandaric, who is also accused. Both men deny the charges.
The sums were paid into an account opened by Redknapp in Monaco under the name “Rosie 47”, an amalgamation of his dog’s name and the year of his birth, the prosecution alleged.
“These payments were a bung or offshore bonus that the parties had absolutely no intention of paying taxes for,” John Black QC, for the prosecution, said.
Mr Black added that Monaco accounts were known for obscuring money trails and that “both parties must have known” they were avoiding obligatory income tax and National Insurance contributions.
Redknapp, sitting behind bullet-proof glass in the courtroom, was supported at the trial by his son Jamie, a former England midfielder turned media pundit, and executives from Tottenham.
A packed courtroom heard that Mandaric made the first of two payments to Redknapp’s “Rosie 47” account in 2002 and the second on 21 April 2004. In 2008 Redknapp instructed his Monaco bank to close the account and transfer his $207,000 balance to his London HSBC account, Mr Black said.
Redknapp did not disclose the “Rosie 47” account’s existence until 2006, when he declared it to the Stevens Inquiry into corruption in English football, the prosecution added. He did not mention it to HM Revenue and Customs when, between 2004 and 2006, they investigated a £300,000 payment the former West Ham manager received in relation to the transfer of Rio Ferdinand from the Hammers to Leeds in November 2000, it was claimed.
Redknapp earned bonuses equivalent to five per cent of profit on player transfers while Portsmouth manager, the court was told. In his previous role as the club’s director of football, he was entitled to 10 per cent, Mr Black added.
The trial continues.
REDKNAPP TRIAL: NEED TO KNOW
Q. WHAT IS HARRY REDKNAPP CHARGED WITH?
A. Redknapp is accused of concealing two payments, of $145,000 (£93,100) and $150,000 (£96,300), from the taxman to avoid income tax and National Insurance contributions. The payments are alleged to have been made into a Monaco bank account between April 2002 and April 2004 and to relate to Redknapp’s time in charge of Portsmouth. He denies the charges.
Q. WHO ELSE IS INVOLVED IN THE CASE?
A. Milan Mandaric, who was Portsmouth chairman at the time and is alleged to have made the payments, is also accused of two counts of cheating the public revenue. He denies the charges. Serbia-born American citizen Mandaric is now chairman of Sheffield Wednesday.
Q. HOW LONG WILL THE TRIAL LAST?
A. The trial is expected to last up to two weeks, with hearings every day at Southwark Crown Court starting at 10am and finishing at 4:30pm.
Q. IS REDKNAPP STILL ABLE TO MANAGE TOTTENHAM?
A. Redknapp will attend and is required to arrive 45 minutes before the jury and leave 45 minutes after they depart, so in the short term he will be unable to take training sessions for the duration. His assistants Joe Jordan and Kevin Bond will take charge of the first team in the interim.
Q. WHAT WILL IT MEAN FOR THE ENGLAND JOB?
A. In the longer term, a guilty verdict may jeopardise his Tottenham position and his status as favourite to replace Fabio Capello as England manager this summer. Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill has been mooted as an alternative, but there is a chronic shortage of successful home-grown candidates.
Q. COULD REDKNAPP BE SENT TO JAIL?
A. If found guilty, Redknapp could be fined or given a custodial sentence. The decision will be made by the judge, Anthony Leonard QC, who in November lifted a ban on reporting details of the proceedings.
Q. WHO IS ON THE 12-PERSON JURY?
A. Eight men and four women were yesterday sworn in as jurors, having been warned by Judge Leonard that they must declare any allegiance for or against the defendants or their clubs. “Leave all prejudice and favour behind,” he told them. They were also told not to read media coverage of the trial.
ON THE BENCH | THE LEGAL TEAMS
Mandaric is represented by Lord Ken MacDonald QC (left), the decorated former Director of Public Prosecutions, now of Matrix Chambers
Redknapp is represented by the highly regarded John Kelsey-Fry QC (right), of the City’s Cloth Fair Chambers, who has previously acted for footballer Steven Gerrard and jockey Kieren Fallon
John Black QC, an experienced specialist in criminal cases of 18 Red Lion Court Chambers, is acting for the prosecution