Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp opened a “secret” bank account named after his dog to cheat the U.K. out of taxes when he was manager at English soccer team Portsmouth, prosecutors said at his trial.
Redknapp, 64, is on trial for tax-evasion alongside Sheffield Wednesday owner Milan Mandaric. The charges relate to $295,000 paid into an account in Monaco, known as Rosie 47, when both men worked together at Portsmouth, which Mandaric owned then. The payments were part of player-transfer fees owed to Redknapp. The men deny the charges.
The payments were an “off-record bonus which the parties have no intention of declaring for tax or ever did,” prosecutor John Black said yesterday at the trial in London.
Redknapp was Portsmouth manager from 2002 to 2004 and again from 2005 to 2008, leading the team to the F.A. Cup title in his final season. He left for Tottenham in October 2008 and guided the North London team to the Champions League in 2010. Black described Redknapp as a talented manager and “hard-headed businessman with considerable acumen.”
Redknapp’s contract provided him 10 percent of profits from the sale of players while he was director of football at Portsmouth in 2001 and 5 percent when he was named manager a year later, Black said citing bank and contract records. He got about 115,500 pounds ($180,000) from the 4.5 million-pound sale of striker Peter Crouch to Aston Villa. Four days later, Redknapp flew to Monaco and opened a bank account with the codename Rosie 47, referring to the name of one of his dogs and the year he was born, Black said. Money was transferred from Mandaric’s private bank account to Redknapp’s in Monaco, the prosecutor said.
‘Evading the Payment’
“The money transfers to the offshore Monaco account were deliberately and dishonestly paid by Mr. Mandaric and deliberately and dishonestly received by Mr. Redknapp with the intention of concealing them from U.K. tax authorities,” Black said.
Redknapp and Mandaric sat alongside each other at Southwark Crown Court during yesterday’s hearing. Wearing a navy suit, tie, and thick-rimmed black glasses, the soccer coach thumbed through the evidence file as Black described for jurors the various overseas transactions between the men. Jurors were also given details about an e-mail in which a banker promotes to Redknapp’s accountant the benefits of Monaco lighter bank- disclosure requirements as an “attraction to rich and famous.”
“It is significant that the bank account opened by Harry Redknapp in order to receive the monies from Milan Mandaric was in Monaco, an offshore tax haven,” Black said. “This was quite deliberate.”
Premier League Probe
Redknapp’s Monaco account first came to light in 2006 during an inquiry by the Premier League into possible irregularities in player trades. He told investigators Mandaric opened it on his behalf. The account was open for about 4 1/2 years, during which time about $100,000 was also transferred to a bank in Miami. The account was closed in 2003 and Redknapp asked for the remaining $207,000 to be transferred to the U.K.
Judge Anthony Leonard earlier told the jury to avoid reading the “ill-informed” and “plain-wrong” information about the case on the Internet.
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