Harry Redknapp in court accused of accepting bungs

Redknapp accused of accepting bungs from Mandaric as Spurs manager's trial begins

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp went on trial today accused of receiving offshore bungs from his former employer.

Redknapp – who is the front runner to become the next England boss – dodged taxes on 'substantial payments' while he was in charge at Portsmouth, a jury heard.

Redknapp is accused of two counts of cheating the public revenue when he was manager of Portsmouth.

Appearing in the dock, Redknapp stood accused of receiving two untaxed payments of more than 189,000 from former chairman Milan Mandaric, his co-accused.

In the dock: Mandaric (left) and Redknapp in the court drawing

In the dock: Mandaric (left) and Redknapp in the court drawing

The pair appeared behind bullet-proof glass when he entered the dock for the trial that is expected to last two weeks.

A host of relatives, including Redknapp's son Jamie, looked on from the public gallery as proceedings began.

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.

Spurred on: Redknapp arrives at court to face tax evasion charges

Spurred on: Redknapp arrives at court to face tax evasion charges

Family: Jamie Redknapp was in the public gallery to support his father

Family: Jamie Redknapp was in the public gallery to support his father

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 1.25million before he was sold for 4.5m. Redknapp and
Mandaric deny two counts of cheating the public revenue when he was
manager of Portsmouth.

The first charge alleges that between
April 1 2002 and November 28 2007 Mandaric paid 145,000 US dollars
(93,100) into a bank account held by Redknapp in Monaco to avoid paying
income tax and National Insurance.

The second charge for the same
offence relates to a sum of 150,000 US dollars (96,300) allegedly paid
by Mandaric to the same account between May 1 2004 and November 28 2007.

Redknapp, 64, who underwent minor
heart surgery last year to unblock his arteries, is the most successful
English manager in the modern game, having led Portsmouth to FA Cup
success and Spurs to last season's Uefa Champions League quarter-finals.

Serbian Mandaric, 73, is now chairman of Sheffield Wednesday, having previously worked at Leicester City.

Redknapp, of Panorama Drive, Poole,
Dorset, is represented by John Kelsey-Fry QC, while Lord Macdonald QC is
counsel for Mandaric, of Stretton Hall, Oadby, Leicestershire.

Accused: Mandaric (left) denies the charges directed at him

Accused: Mandaric (left) denies the charges directed at him

Redknapp was described as a
'hard-headed businessman' as the jury of eight men and four women were
shown a string of documents and his signature.

Bonuses paid to Redknapp during his
time at the club would total up to 500,000 depending on profits the
club made on player transfers, Mr Black added.

'Harry Redknapp was, it goes without
saying, no ordinary employee,' Mr Black said. He had the 'greatest
capacity to influence the success or failure of his football club', he
added.

The barrister said: 'Talented and
popular he might have been, the Crown say he was nevertheless a
hard-headed businessman, with a financial acumen and pecuniary sense of
his influence to his employers.'

Redknapp initially received 10 per cent of net profit made on player transfers made during his time as part of a clause in his contract, Mr Black said. 'He had a highly lucrative employment contract,' he said.

His contract later changed and it was reduced to five per cent, the barrister said. He was paid about 100,000 when England star Crouch left the South Coast club for Aston Villa in 2002, the court heard.