Redknapp and Mandaric face court on tax charges

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Premier League manager Harry Redknapp and former Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric faced charges of tax evasion in court today.

Tottenham Hotspur boss Redknapp, 62, and Mandaric, 71, are jointly accused of two counts of cheating the public revenue.

They appeared at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, in central London, for the first hearing in the prosecution process.

District Judge Timothy Workman adjourned the case until April 14 and released both men on unconditional bail.

Former Portsmouth manager Redknapp spoke only to confirm his personal details and gave his address as Poole, Dorset.

Mandaric, now chairman of Leicester City FC, gave his address in court documents as the Walkers Stadium in the city.

Both men appeared in the dock wearing football coach-style navy blue woollen overcoats.

They leaned forward to listen to the hearing, which last less than 10 minutes.

It is alleged they evaded tax and National Insurance contributions due between April 1 2002 and November 28 2007.

Mr Workman said the plea and case management hearing will be held at Southwark Crown Court.

The two men were charged last month following an inquiry involving City of London Police and HM Revenue and Customs.

Speaking outside the court, Mandaric's solicitor Mark Wilson said his client will be "completely vindicated".

He said: "We are surprised and extremely disappointed that the authorities have seen fit to prosecute Mr Mandaric.

"Their case against him is misconceived and extremely ill-judged. It should never have been brought and it goes without saying that it will be robustly defended.

"Mr Mandaric has contributed an enormous amount to English football in recent years, first at Portsmouth and now at Leicester City.

"In 40 years of business life, his integrity has never previously been questioned.

"To put it mildly, it is a matter of very great regret that the tax authorities have sought, so recklessly, to malign him now.

"However, we are absolutely confident that this prosecution will fail.

"Mr Mandaric looks forward to emerging from these proceedings completely vindicated and with his reputation for honesty and integrity completely untouched."

Mandaric and Redknapp were driven from court, where a large press pack had gathered, in a chaffeur-driven Mercedes. Redknapp did not comment.