Harry Redknapp trial: Milan Mandaric claims $295,000 payments were "not major"

Mandaric claims $295,000 payments to Redknapp were 'not major'

The chairman accused of sending bungs
to Harry Redknapp told a court on Tuesday that the payments were 'not a
major factor in my life'.

Milan Mandaric said the pair were friends again after their 'divorce' when Redknapp joined Portsmouth's rivals Southampton.

Harry Redknapp arrives at Southwark Crown Court on Tuesday

Big deal: Harry Redknapp had a 4.2m contract with Portsmouth

He also said Redknapp's 4.2million contract was the maximum the manager could receive over three years.

Mandaric said 'I was a busy man, I was travelling' when letters were sent between lawyers about the money in Redknapp's Monaco account.

'I didn't put it as my No 1 priority, basically,' he told Southwark Crown Court.

He also said Rob Beasley, a News of the World sports reporter, had tried to 'debalance me' in asking him questions about the account.

Mandaric's lawyer sent a letter to Redknapp's solicitor asking for the money to be returned, the court heard.

The former Portsmouth chairman said: 'It was not that I needed this to come back immediately. Eventually I would get the money back.'

Back in favour: Mandaric and Redknapp are friends again

Back in favour: Mandaric and Redknapp are friends again

He added 'it was more important that we were going in the right direction' at Portsmouth and as friends.

'I really was not in favour of this letter, it was between Harry and me,' Mandaric said.

'I didn't press with him. To me it was most important that we get back on the track … this was not a major factor in my life.'

Mandaric added: 'As of today we are the same friends as we were before 2004.'

Lord Macdonald QC questioned Mandaric about reports that Redknapp was earning 4.2 million-a-year.

Mandaric said the reports were incorrect, adding: 'That would be the full value of his contract over three years.'

Both Redknapp, 64, of Poole, Dorset, and Mandaric, 73, from Oadby, Leicestershire, deny two counts of cheating the public revenue when Redknapp was manager of Portsmouth Football Club.