Storrie 'astonished' at tax evasion charge

Portsmouth chief executive Peter Storrie today insisted he will clear his name after being charged with tax evasion, claiming he was on his honeymoon at the time the alleged offence took place.

Storrie, who has been on bail since being arrested in November 2007 on suspicion of conspiracy to defraud and false accounting, said he will "defend the allegations in the strongest possible terms" and is "entirely confident" that he will be cleared of any wrongdoing.

The charge relates to the transfer of midfielder Amdy Faye from Auxerre to Portsmouth for £1.5million in August 2003. It was alleged that Faye was paid a £250,000 signing on fee on which tax was not paid.

A statement released by Portsmouth said: "Mr Storrie would like to place on record his astonishment at the decision that has been made to charge him with an offence of cheating the public revenue, and bewilderment as to how such a conclusion could be reached concerning the transfer of the player Amdy Faye to Portsmouth Football Club.

"At the time negotiations to acquire this player were concluded, Mr Storrie was on honeymoon and was not directly concerned in the agreement that was reached regarding Faye's acquisition.

"He was at that time and has continued to be the chief executive of the club and remunerated as such.

"Mr Storrie did not and could not have gained from any cheating of the public revenue given his role within the club and allowing for the fact that he had no proprietary interest in Portsmouth FC."

Storrie said he had co-operated fully with the 31-month investigation in the belief he would be cleared.

The statement added: "Mr Storrie will defend the allegations in the strongest possible terms and is entirely confident that he will be exonerated not only of the allegation of cheating the public revenue, but any suggestion that anything untoward took place concerning any transfer dealings in which he was concerned.

"Mr Storrie now welcomes the opportunity he will have of clearing himself of these allegations to ensure that his unblemished 20-year reputation in football management remains untarnished.

"He will use all available means to bring these proceedings to their proper conclusion as swiftly as possible."

The probe into Storrie's finances was part of a wider investigation by City of London Police and HM Revenue and Customs into corruption in football.

He was one of nine football executives questioned by police, all of whom denied any wrongdoing.

In May last year, former Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp and his wife Sandra were awarded £1,000 damages against the police after judges held that officers who raided their home as part of the corruption inquiry were acting unlawfully.

Their search warrant was invalid and the High Court said procedural failures by City of London Police in applying for it were "wholly unacceptable".

Meanwhile, lawyers for the former co-owner and former chief executive of Birmingham City Football Club said in August they would not be prosecuted.

David Sullivan and Karren Brady were told no further action would be taken against them, law firm BCL Burton Copeland said in a statement.

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