Taxman first chased Redknapp over £300k Ferdinand payment

 

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Harry Redknapp had been investigated by the British tax authorities for a £300,000 payment over the transfer of Rio Ferdinand from West Ham, a court heard in a dramatic opening day to the Tottenham Hotspur manager's trial on tax evasion charges.

The payment in Ferdinand's transfer to Leeds in November 2000, when Redknapp was West Ham manager, wasinvestigated from January 2004 to October 2006, the court heard.

Yesterday, Redknapp was accused of taking a $295,000 [£200,000] "bung", paid into his secret Monaco bank account, over a separate deal for Peter Crouch in 2002. The Monaco bank account, set up in April 2002, and the £200,000 paid into it was the centrepiece of the prosecution case against Redknapp. The court heard that during the separate, earlier 22-month investigation into Redknapp's tax affairs, the Spurs manager had failed to mention the Monaco account.

The 64-year-old Redknapp sat behind glass in the dock of Court Six alongside his former chairman at Portsmouth, Milan Mandaric. Both men are accused of two counts of cheating the public revenue. Justice Leonard said he expected to the case to last for two weeks.

The case centres on two payments of $145,000 [£93,000] and $150,000 [£96,000] – which were transferred to Redknapp's Monaco account in June 2002 and April 2004 while he was manager of Portsmouth, by Mandaric.

The court heard that the payments had been "deliberately and dishonestly paid" and "deliberately and dishonestly received by Redknapp". John Black QC, for the prosecution, said the payments were a "bung". In this case the payments related to the transfer of Crouch from Portsmouth to Aston Villa in March 2002 for the fee of £4.5m.

When Redknapp was appointed by Portsmouth in June 2001, he was director of football, the court heard. He had an agreement with Mandaric that he would be paid 10 per cent of profits from all transfer deals on players he brought to the club and sold on.

Redknapp had signed Crouch within days of taking up this position. However, by the time the player was sold to Villa, Redknapp had become manager and his cut of transfer deals had been reduced to 5 per cent. According to the new terms of the deal, the court heard, Redknapp was paid £115,473 by the club for his part in the Crouch transfer. Black said: "Redknapp did not wait long before taking steps to ensure he would receive what he regarded as his due."

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