News24

Redknapp case gathers speed

2012-01-24 16:04

London -Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp concealed the existence of an offshore bank account from British authorities for six years until he was arrested as part of a tax probe, a court heard on Tuesday.

Redknapp, who is on trial at Southwark Crown Court on charges of tax evasion, is alleged to have opened a bank account in Monaco in 2002 under the code name "Rosie 47" after his pet English bulldog.

Prosecutors allege that the account was used by Redknapp to receive illicit payments from his co-defendant Milan Mandaric, the former chairman of Portsmouth Football Club, in lieu of commission on a transfer deal.

Prosecutor John Black told the court on Tuesday that Redknapp had been "feigning almost complete ignorance" of the Monaco account's existence.

While Redknapp had notified investigators of the bank account during a Premier League anti-corruption investigation in 2006, he had not notified tax authorities until after his arrest in 2008, Black said.

Wrapping up his opening statement on the second day of Redknapp's trial, Black asked jurors to consider whether "is it the case that Mr Redknapp could be unaware of the bank account.

"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," he said.

"Had Mr Redknapp really forgotten that he had flown to Monaco to set up the account?" Black asked jurors.

Redknapp, 64, whose success with Tottenham has made him a frontrunner to become England's next manager, is accused of receiving two untaxed payments totalling $295 000 from Mandaric into a Monaco account.

Redknapp and Mandaric both deny two counts of cheating the public revenue.

Tottenham are currently third in the Premier League, making Redknapp one of the few homegrown coaches to enjoy success in England in recent seasons.

When he took over the north London club in 2008, they were languishing near the bottom of the table.

Redknapp managed Portsmouth for two spells, from 2002 to 2004 and then 2005 to 2008, the year he guided them to victory in the FA Cup.

The club from southeast England is currently in the second-flight Championship.

Mandaric, a 73-year-old Serb, is now chairman of League One side Sheffield Wednesday.

AFP