Harry Redknapp admits tax evasion trial was a ‘nightmare’
Harry Redknapp and Milan Mandaric are both cleared of two charges of tax evasion after a jury reached a unanimous verdict
Harry Redknapp and Milan Mandaric have both been cleared of evading tax on payments totalling £189,000 that were made while the duo were at Portsmouth.
The jury at Southwark Crown Court made a unanimous decision to clear the Tottenham Hotspur boss and former Portsmouth chairman of two charges of cheating the public revenue after a second day of deliberations.
Redknapp and the current Sheffield Wednesday chairman embraced after the not guilty verdict was read out.
The first charge alleged that between 1 April 2002 and 28 November 2007, Mandaric paid around £93,100 into an offshore bank account in Monaco opened by Redknapp.
The second charge was for the same offence and related to a sum of around £96,300 allegedly paid into the same account between 1 May 2004 and 28 November 2007.
The duo’s defence was that the offshore account was used to fund an investment project in the United States, which would be exempt of tax.
Speaking outside Southwark Crown Court, Redknapp said: “If [Tottenham chairman] Daniel Levy felt there was a problem when he gave me this job – this was going on over three years ago – he would never have employed me.
“We’ve been pulled through it these last five years and I’m really just looking forward to getting home and seeing my wife Sandra and getting away from all this.
“It really has been a nightmare, I’ve got to be honest. It’s been five years and this is a case that should never have come to court.
“It was horrendous but it was a unanimous decision and I’m pleased now that we can go home and get on with our lives.”
Mandaric said: “I am delighted that I have today been cleared of the totally unfounded allegations of tax evasion. It is clear they should never have been brought to court.
“I never doubted the truth would prevail nor the fact that the British justice system would come to the right conclusion.
“I’m happy that my good name and reputation has been upheld. I wish to express my deepest gratitude to my family, my friends and to my many football fans for their support. They have been a great strength for me.”
Chris Martin, assistant director of the public revenue’s criminal investigations department, said: “I would like to thank my colleagues in City of London Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and HM Revenue and Customs who worked so hard and with great professionalism to get this complex case before a jury.
“Tax evasion is not a victimless crime because every penny of tax evaded reduces the UK’s ability to pay down the deficit and support our public services. That is why we relentlessly pursue those we believe are evading tax.
“I have no regrets about pursuing this case because it was vitally important that the facts were put before a jury for their consideration.
“We accept the verdict of the jury but I would like to remind those who are evading tax by using offshore tax havens that it always makes sense to come forward and talk to us before we come to talk to you.”