Ex-football boss charged with tax evasion

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The former chairman of Portsmouth Football Club was charged today with tax evasion, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.

Milan Mandaric, now chairman of Leicester City, strenuously denied the allegations when it emerged last month that prosecutors intended to bring charges.

He will appear at the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on February 11 over two counts of "cheating the public revenue".

Mandaric, 71, was arrested with former Pompey manager Harry Redknapp and three other men in November 2007 as part of a continuing inquiry by fraud detectives to root out alleged corruption in football. Both men have strenuously denied any wrongdoing.

The charges against Mandaric relate to the payment of 295,000 dollars (£183,000) to another person via a bank account in Monaco, evading the tax and national insurance contributions due between April 1, 2002 and November 28, 2007, the CPS said.

A CPS spokesman said: "Following a thorough investigation by HM Revenue and Customs and the City of London Police, the CPS decided there was sufficient evidence and it was in the public interest to charge Mr Mandaric with two counts of cheating the public revenue."

Last month, a spokeswoman for Cartwright King solicitors, who represent Mandaric, said he was "astounded and dismayed" by the allegations.

"These will be vigorously defended," she said.

"During a two-year investigation he has fully cooperated and has strenuously denied any wrongdoing."

She went on: "Throughout a successful and respected 45-year international business career he has gained an impeccable reputation and has never been accused of the slightest wrongdoing, nor had his integrity called into question."

Earlier today, Mandaric's former club said efforts were being made to repay its debts following two recent changes in ownership.

The Premier League is considering whether to withhold the latest chunk of television money, around £7 million, to cover unpaid transfer fees, believed to be around £10 million.

But executive director Mark Jacob said Saudi businessman Ali Al Faraj, whose investment has so far enabled Portsmouth to stay afloat and avoid administration - despite paying players' salaries late more than once - can take the club forwards.