A PORTSMOUTH councillor has given evidence in the defence of Milan Mandaric, saying there isn’t a ‘dishonest hair on his body’.
Cllr David Horne said he met Mandaric when he bought the club as he was Lord Mayor at the time.
He told the jury at Southwark Crown Court: ‘As the first citizen of the city I felt it was my duty to welcome the new owner of the football club to the city.
‘He saved the club from administration, paid off all the debts and in doing so saved hundreds of jobs and the reputation of the city.’
Asked by Lord Ken Macdonald QC defending, what he thought of Mandaric he said: ‘A very straight-talking, honest, hard-working guy.
‘He was somebody that you can related to and certainly he was somebody that could be trusted.
‘I knew he could be trusted the way that he conducted himself business-wise and also the way that he conducted himself in the city.
‘He was highly regarded in the city by everybody.’
Asked if he respected Mandaric he said: ‘I certainly did.’
Mandaric was given the freedom of the city in 2003 and Cllr Horne said: ‘From memory since 1895 there have only been about 32 individuals that have been awarded the freedom of the city.’
Asked if the city was sad when Mandaric left he said: ‘Very sad, very sad but obviously accepted the fact that he wanted to move on.
‘As far as we were aware he placed the club in the hands of another person who was going to move the club on.’
He added: ‘I don’t believe there is a dishonest hair on his body.’