Harry Redknapp today started the long-awaited trial where he stands accused of tax evasion during his spell at Portsmouth with Milan Mandaric.
Harry stands accused of taking bungs over player transfers, one in particular grabbed attention which involved Peter Crouch going to Villa. Redknapp was a director at Portsmouth and had a contract which saw him get 10% of player transfers which was later reduced to 5% when he became the manager.
The prosecution is trying to prove that Harry flew to Monaco to set up a bank account in his dogs name to receive “substantial” payments of money thought to be bungs over player transfers.
John Black QC opened the Crown’s case at Southwark Crown Court by telling jurors “both parties must have known” they were avoiding taxes.
“These payments were a bung or offshore bonus that the parties had absolutely no intention of paying taxes for,” he said.
Redknapp’s “widespread popularity” was singled out by the prosecution.
“He is currently enjoying what may be described as footballing success,” Mr Black said.
“They (Tottenham) are currently riding high and are placed today as third in the league despite yesterday’s result.”
Redknapp is “unusually talented”, the Crown added.
Redknapp, appearing behind bullet-proof glass alongside Mandaric, read notes as Mr Black outlined how the manager received player transfer bonuses under a clause in his contract.
Mr Black focused on the purchase of Peter Crouch for £1,250,000 before he was sold for £4.5 million.
Redknapp never mentioned the Monaco account as he was investigated by HM Revenue and Customs officials over his transfer dealings at West Ham United, the court heard.
The probe, between January 2004 and October 2006, “was originally prompted by concerns over a £300,000 payment… regarding profit made in a player transfer, namely Rio Ferdinand,” Mr Black said.
There prosecution are convinced they have the evidence to convict Redknapp which could lead to a prison sentence and ultimately cost him his job at Spurs and kill off any hopes of becoming the England manager next summer.
The case continues and is expected to last around 2 weeks.