Harry Redknapp tax evasion trial: Manager "feigned ignorance" of Monaco bank account

Redknapp 'feigned ignorance' of Monaco bank account where bungs are claimed to have been directed

Football boss Harry
Redknapp failed to declare his offshore bank account for six years after
'feigning' ignorance during a high profile inquiry into football bungs,
a court heard on Tuesday.

He previously only mentioned the Monaco account as he was quizzed during the Premier League-led investigation, jurors were told.

John Black QC, prosecuting, said
Redknapp 'was feigning almost complete ignorance of its existence' as
the Quest inquiry under former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord
Stevens took place in 2006.

Day two: Harry Redknapp was followed into court by son Jamie

Day two: Harry Redknapp was followed into court by son Jamie

Back: Milan Mandaric arrives at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday

Back: Milan Mandaric arrives at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday

Mr Black asked jurors to consider
whether 'is it the case that Mr Redknapp could be unaware of the bank
account' when he had flown out to Monaco just a couple of years earlier
to set it up in the name of his dog, Rosie.

Despite two separate inquiries into
his finances – the first launched in the wake of his receipt of a
300,000 'gift' after Rio Ferdinand signed for Leeds United from West
Ham – Redknapp only registered the account to tax inspectors after his
arrest in 2008.

Mr Black told Southwark Crown Court:
'The existence of the bank account was not registered to Revenue and
Customs for a period of six years, two months… after Mr Redknapp was
first arrested and questioned in the course of this investigation.'

Tax inspectors were informed of the
bank account 'only within the context to declare a small amount of
credit interest' in 2008, Mr Black said.

Court: Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp - who was wearing glasses - appears in the dock accused of tax evasion

Court: Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp – who was wearing glasses – appears in the dock accused of tax evasion

Facing court: Harry Redknapp, right, enters Southwark Crown Court. His son Jamie, left, who is a pundit and former footballer was in the public gallery to support him

Facing court: Harry Redknapp, right, enters Southwark Crown Court. His son Jamie, left, who is a pundit and former footballer was in the public gallery to support him

Mr Black showed the jury of eight men
and four women newspaper cuttings from 2003, which detailed Redknapp
had received a 300,000 gift for the 18million transfer of Ferdinand to
Leeds United.
Redknapp – who had managed West Ham before joining Portsmouth – was said
to have described the cash he received as a “personal present”.

Mr Black said the fact Redknapp paid tax on the gift was proof he knew future payments would be tax liable.

Mr Black urged jurors to consider 'had Mr Redknapp really forgotten that he had flown to Monaco to set up the account'

He showed the panel a string of letters between lawyers in the wake of Redknapp's arrest. The first mention of the offshore account came when Mandaric was asked by the Quest inquiry to provide details of payments to Redknapp, Mr Black said.

'It's clear that it was only at this time that Mr Redknapp brought to the attention the existence of the Monaco bank account, feigning almost total ignorance of its existence, its operation and its contents,' he added.

The Tottenham Hotspur manager is accused of banking transfer bonuses worth 189,000 during his time managing Portsmouth.

Man's best friend: Redknapp with his pet bull dogs Rosie, left, who the account was named after, and Buster

Man's best friend: Redknapp with his pet bull dogs Rosie, left, who the account was named after, and Buster

One of the payments was said to have
been sparked by the 3 million profit the South Coast club made on the
sale of England star Peter Crouch.

Redknapp was accused of being a
'hard-headed businessman' who, alongside co-defendant Milan Mandaric,
obscured the money trail for years.

Redknapp first flew out to Monaco – a tax haven – in April 2002 to set up the account, the Crown claims.

He named the HSBC account Rosie 47 – a reference to his dog's name and the year of his birth.
Mr Black said '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.

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The prosecution's case

Plush: Harry Redknapp's 10million home in Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset

Plush: Harry Redknapp's 10million home in Sandbanks, Poole, Dorset

Redknapp and Mandaric deny two counts of cheating the public revenue when he was manager of Portsmouth Football Club.

The first charge of cheating the
public revenue alleges that between April 1 2002 and November 28 2007
Mandaric paid 145,000 US dollars (93,100) into the account.

The second charge for the same
offence relates to a sum of 150,000 US dollars (96,300) allegedly paid
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.

The trial continues.

Claims: Redknapp and Mandaric were at Portsmouth Football Club in the period the charges relate to. The club play their games at Fratton Park, pictured

Claims: Redknapp and Mandaric were both at Portsmouth Football Club in the period to which the charges relate. The club play at Fratton Park

Co-accused: Milan Mandaric, left, with Harry Redknapp in 2005 when the pair were at Portsmouth

Co-accused: Milan Mandaric, left, with Harry Redknapp in 2005 when the pair were at Portsmouth