herald

Thursday 21 September 2017

'How can it be a bung when the chairman of the club paid me?'

Harry Redknapp threatened to "sue the b******s" off a journalist when the soccer boss and his former employer gave conflicting excuses for an alleged offshore tax fiddle, a court has heard.

Prosecutors have claimed the Tottenham Hotspur boss was "feigning ignorance" about his illegal dealings for six years before his arrest.

Redknapp was said to have told police "I don't fiddle" as he and co-defendant Milan Mandaric gave contradicting explanations for the £189,000 (¤226,000) "bung".

The Londoner -- who is tipped to lead the England team -- had earlier told News Of The World reporter Rob Beasley that Mandaric "don't know what he is f****** talking about".

While Redknapp claimed payments in to the Monaco account surrounded transfer profit bonuses, Mandaric claimed the money was a loan "outside of football", the court heard. Prosecutor John Black read out a string of interview transcripts on the second day of Redknapp and Mandaric's tax evasion trial.







Dealings

In a 2009 telephone conversation Redknapp told Mr Beasley he had "the best accountants in England", claiming the Inland Revenue was fully aware of his dealings in Monaco.

Mr Beasley spoke to Redknapp on the eve of Tottenham taking on Manchester United in the Carling Cup final and two days after calling Mandaric, the former Portsmouth FC chairman.

When Mr Beasley offered Mandaric's explanation that the money was an investment, the Tottenham Hotspur manager replied: "He don't know what he is f****** talking about.

"What is he talking about? It is a bonus." Explaining that the payments surrounded profit made on the sale of Peter Crouch from Portsmouth to Aston Villa, Redknapp added: "If it was something dodgy I would have gone over there and brought it back in a briefcase."

When Mr Beasley asked him whether he had paid any tax in the UK on it, Redknapp replied: "Haven't been asked to, Rob."







Account

Redknapp said "there ain't nothing crooked in it" as the telephone conversation went on, the court heard. "Don't say bung," Redknapp said. "It's nothing to do with a bung. It's paid by the chairman.

"How can it be a bung when the chairman of the football club paid me?" He added: "What's a bung? It's a f****** sick word."

Redknapp told Mr Beasley that if the journalist reported in the paper that he was taking bungs, he would 'sue the b******s' off him.

Prosecutors claim Redknapp only mentioned the Monaco account after he was questioned during the Premier League-led Quest investigation in 2006.

Mr Black said: "The existence of the bank account was not registered to Revenue and Customs for a period of six years, two months... after Mr Redknapp was first arrested and questioned in the course of this investigation."

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

Redknapp (64), who underwent minor heart surgery last year to unblock his arteries, is the most successful English manager in the modern game.

Serbian Mandaric ( 73) is now chairman of Sheffield Wednesday. The trial continues.

hnews@herald.ie

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