Harry Redknapp found not guilty in tax evasion trial

 

Harry Redknapp was cleared today of taking bungs in an offshore tax dodge.

Bookmakers immediately slashed the odds on the Tottenham manager becoming the next England boss as a five-year long "nightmare" ended for the one of football's biggest names.

Jurors accepted Redknapp's angry denials that he avoided tax on any payments over £189,000 found in a Monaco account.

His acquittal alongside co-defendant Milan Mandaric blows the final whistle on an £8 million police investigation which failed to yield a single conviction.

Mandaric and former Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie were also cleared of £600,000 tax dodge charges at a previous trial, it can be reported for the first time.

Redknapp and Mandaric hugged as the jury cleared them on all counts.

Outside London's Southwark Crown Court, Redknapp, flanked by son his Jamie, said: "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 because it's unbelievable really.

"It was horrendous you know but it was a unanimous decision. The jury were absolutely unanimous that there was no case to answer."

Redknapp paid tribute to his family, his legal team and Tottenham officials. And he said he would "never forget" the backing of the Spurs fans.

Former Liverpool star Jamie Redknapp, who stood by his father throughout the trial, said: "Just glad it is all over."

Mandaric told reporters: "I've got to go somewhere to try to pinch myself and wake me up from that horrible dream that I had in the past.

"As we said in the statements, I always believed in the truth, and always believed in the British justice system."

Redknapp was at times moved to the verge of tears in court as the Crown alleged he told a pack of lies to get off the hook.

But jurors accepted Redknapp and Mandaric's evidence that the Monaco account in the name of Redknapp's dog, Rosie, was nothing to do with footballing matters.

The verdicts mark a disastrous end of an exhaustive inquiry into football corruption by the tax authorities and City of London Police.

The case served up high courtroom drama over two weeks as Redknapp appeared in the dock and gave an impassioned display in the witness box.

He accused Detective Inspector Dave Manley of "staring" and shouted at prosecutor John Black QC: "You think I put my hand on the Bible and told lies? That's an insult, Mr Black, that's an insult."

Redknapp said he was "a fantastic football manager, not a hard-headed businessman" and had always paid too much tax.

He also revealed that he had squandered millions in bad investments and had the writing ability of a two-year-old.

Serbian Mandaric, an entrepreneur behind a multibillion-dollar business empire, claimed he had paid £100 million in taxes during his time in football, adding: "Did I suddenly go crazy?"

Mandaric and Redknapp embraced in the dock as the verdicts were read out after five hours of deliberations.

Redknapp immediately left the court, while Mandaric walked up to DI Manley to shake his hand and say "Thank you".

Judge Anthony Leonard made no comment other than to discharge the jury.

DI Manley made no comment other than saying: "I accept the court's decision".

Chris Martin, of HM Revenue and Customs, said in a statement: "We 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."

A Tottenham spokesman said: "Everyone at the club is delighted for Harry and his family.

"This has been hanging over him for over four years and the last two weeks have been particularly difficult.

"We are pleased to see this resolved and we all look forward to the rest of the season."

More to follow...

Milan Mandaric tried and acquitted in separate tax trial it is revealed

*

Tax slurs ruined my career says former Portsmouth chief

*

'Staring' police officer faced News of the World leak allegations

*

In quotes: What Harry Redknapp told the jury

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss