Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp told officers investigating allegations of tax evasion against him that he didn’t need to “fiddle” after saying he paid 1 million pounds ($1.6 million) in taxes.
Redknapp, 64, and Sheffield Wednesday owner Milan Mandaric, 73, are denying two charges of tax evasion over $295,000 paid into a bank account in Monaco when the two worked at Portsmouth soccer club. Redknapp’s comments came in tapes played on the fifth day of their trial in London.
Redknapp told a police officer and a tax official about how being “disorganized” led to his not being paid back 250,000 pounds lent to a friend to buy soccer team Oxford United and a bigger loss after signing away half the rights to a 8.5 million pound property investment for nothing in return.
Redknapp said Mandaric assured him the taxes on the Monaco account in the name of the manager’s dog, Rosie, had been paid. He also said he’d given up the account as “dead” when, 18 months after it was opened in 2001, Mandaric told him investments made using the funds on Redknapp’s behalf had been a “disaster.”
“I could tell you stories that could blow your brains away,” Redknapp told police in June 2009, six months before he was charged. “The money I’ve squandered trusting people. Unfortunately that’s the way I live my life.”
Redknapp said Mandaric told him to open the Monaco account so he could make some investments on his behalf in lieu of a bonus payment the coach claimed for selling former Portsmouth striker Peter Crouch to Aston Villa in 2002. Earlier in the trial, the jury heard that Mandaric at various times described the payments as an investment on behalf of Redknapp and also as a loan to the coach.
On the tapes, Redknapp is heard telling investigators he didn’t declare the account on his tax return or tell his financial advisers about it because he thought it was empty. He then went on to list his business failures, including one where he allowed an associate of former England goalkeeper David James to claim half a stake in an 8.5 million-pounds investment that gave the man half the potential profits “and he ain’t put no money in.”
“He’s in for nothing and he has half the profit,” Redknapp said. “I’ll give you my solicitor’s name, you ask him if he’s ever come across anyone as bad business-wise as I am. Unfortunately, I live my life like that.”
Redknapp told police if he’s done anything wrong it wasn’t intentional, adding that he paid a “fortune” in tax, totaling about 1 million in 2008.
“I’ve not purposely gone out to try and avoid paying some income tax, why should I do that, I’m not going to ruin my life, and my wife’s life and my boys,” Redknapp said. “I’ve brought up a fantastic family, to try and nick a few quid off the income tax, why? I’m not into that I don’t need that. I’d rather give you a hundred grand than try and nick a few quid off you.”
He told police he was attending a golf event the next day where he was going to donate 15,000 pounds to Leukemia Busters, a charity he and his wife donate 10,000 pounds to every year.
“We’re givers, not takers,” Redknapp said.
Judge Anthony Leonard said the trial could stretch into a third week.