Home Business Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp was cleared of tax evasion

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp was cleared of tax evasion

Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, said his “nightmare” was over after being cleared of tax evasion.

Harry Redknapp had denied accepting secret untaxed bonus payments from former Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric, while he was club manager.

Milan Mandaric was also cleared of two charges of cheating the public revenue over the £189,000 ($295,000) payments.

Harry Redknapp, who was close to tears, said the case “should never have come to court”.

Speaking on the steps of Southwark Crown Court, the Tottenham boss thanked his family, the fans at Tottenham and his legal team after coming through the five-year investigation, which is believed to have cost about £8 million ($12.5 million).

Harry Redknapp said: “The Wigan game [on 31 January] was the most moving I’ve ever felt, for me personally to have them singing my name throughout the game while all this was going on, that will always be special to me.

“It’s been a nightmare, it’s been five years, it’s a case that should never have come to court.

“I’m looking forward to going home and getting on with my life.”

Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, said his "nightmare" was over after being cleared of tax evasion

Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, said his "nightmare" was over after being cleared of tax evasion

Former England boss Graham Taylor said the verdict now opens the way for Redknapp to take charge of the national team in the future.

Bookmakers have now stopped taking bets on Harry Redknapp becoming the next England manager.

Harry Redknapp and Milan Mandaric embraced in the dock as the verdicts were read after five hours of deliberations.

Milan Mandaric, who is currently chairman of Sheffield Wednesday, walked up to Det Insp Dave Manley to shake his hand and said: “Thank you”.

Afterwards, Milan Mandaric said: “I have to try and pinch myself and wake up from the horrible dream.

“I always believed in the truth and also believed in the British justice system.”

Following the verdicts, former Spurs chairman Lord Sugar told BBC Radio 5 Live: “If this was Harry Smith or Harry Brown, it would never have gone to court. This is an attempt by the authorities to make an example of a high profile personality which has backfired.

“It dates back a long time to when pressure was put on the authorities to do something about alleged, so-called wrongdoing in football.

“They were hoping to prove something and now they have egg on their face.”

TV presenter Fred Dineage, who was on the board at Portsmouth during Milan Mandaric’s ownership of the club from 1998 to 2006, branded the trial “a waste of time and money”.

It can also now be reported that Milan Mandaric and Peter Storrie, Portsmouth’s former chief executive, were cleared of tax evasion charges at a separate trial last October.

They were both accused of evading tax over player Eyal Berkovics’s termination fee.

Eyal Storrie was also accused of dodging tax on a signing-on fee to midfielder Amdy Faye when he moved from Auxerre to Portsmouth.

Eyal Storrie, who is now allowed to speak about his trial, said: “We said from day one that it [the case] was farcical.

“I am delighted we’ve been proved completely innocent and I can get my reputation back.”

During Harry Redknapp’s and Milan Mandaric’s trial, jurors heard the Spurs boss received two payments totaling £189,000, into his “Rosie 47” account in Monaco – named after his pet dog.

The defence said the money was an investment made by Milan Mandaric while Harry Redknapp said he forgot about the account and had very little to do with it.

The prosecution claimed the first payment of £93,100 ($145,250) was a bonus for selling striker Crouch for £3.25 million ($5 million) profit in 2002.

The court heard Harry Redknapp’s cut of transfer profits was reduced from 10% to 5% when he moved from being Portsmouth’s director of football to manager in March 2002 but Harry Redknapp told jurors he felt he was “morally” due the full 10%.

Milan Mandaric said he “wanted to do something special for Harry” but he denied it was compensation for his Crouch bonus and said it was an investment for a “friend”.

During the trial, Harry Redknapp admitted lying to News of the World reporter Rob Beasley about the alleged Crouch payment because he did not want negative stories ahead of a cup final.

Harry Redknapp said: “I have to tell police the truth, not Mr. Beasley – he’s a News of the World reporter.”

It was claimed the second payment of £96,300 ($150,200) was a bonus for Portsmouth beating Manchester United.

But Milan Mandaric’s barrister, Lord MacDonald, described the accusation as “really desperate stuff”.

He said there was “nothing even slightly sinister” about the actions.

Chris Martins, from HM Revenue and Customs, said outside court: “Tax evasion is not a victim-less crime.

“We have no regrets about pursuing this case, it was vitally important the facts were put in front of a jury. We accept the verdicts.”

A statement from Tottenham Hotspur said: “Everyone at the club is delighted for Harry and his family.”

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