Redknapp: I’ve always paid my taxes

ON TRIAL Harry Redknapp
ON TRIAL Harry Redknapp
M27. Picture: Malcolm Wells

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Football boss Harry Redknapp told a jury today: ‘I have always paid my taxes.’

The former Pompey manager said he hired the best accountants in London to keep his books.

Entering the witness box to give evidence at his tax evasion trial at Southwark Crown Court, Redknapp said: ‘I have always paid my taxes. I’ve always gone to the best available people...

‘I have always paid too much tax rather than not enough.’

Questioned by John Kelsey-Fry QC, defending, he said the only time he had been in trouble before was when he got caught speeding.

Asked about his approach to paying tax he said: ‘I have always paid my tax, I have always paid my tax.

‘I have always gone to the best available people.

‘I employ a top firm of London accountants to sort my tax out for me.

‘I would rather pay too much tax than not enough.

‘I have always paid my tax.’

Redknapp spoke of his first meeting with Mandaric at a hotel in the New Forest in 2001 where they discussed the role of director of football.

He said: ‘We sat down and we got on great from the first moment.

‘We had a cup of tea and he said ‘I would love you to come’.

He said that within an hour Mandaric had offered him the job.

Asked about their relationship during their time at Pompey he said: ‘Well there was nobody I enjoyed being with more than Milan.

‘We also had out ups and downs. We were both, especially me, I was a bit volatile perhaps.

‘But when I was with him there was no one in the world I would rather go out for dinner with.

‘Even now I love his company.’

Responding to a suggestion by the prosecution that he had been greedy he said: ‘No I have never been greedy in my life.

‘I am not a greedy person.’

He said he thought he was owed 10 per cent after the sale of Peter Crouch to Aston Villa.

He said: ‘I asked Milan about tax, he said “Harry the tax is paid”.

‘What he meant obviously is that he had paid the tax in America.

‘I kept asking Milan, is the tax paid. He said “Harry I have paid the tax, the tax is paid”.’

He said Mandaric arranged for him to open the Monaco account.

He said he rarely spoke to Mandaric about the money for investing.

‘It was like it didn’t affect my life,’ he said.

‘I was earning good money, football was going great.

‘I just didn’t bother him with it really. It wasn’t really that important to me really to be truthful.’

He said that eventually the pair fell out.

‘We had had a fantastic time together,’ he said.

‘He knew a bit about football which is unusual for a chairman.

‘He would offer opinions to me sometimes.

‘I used to jump on him a little bit which is probably out of order because he was the chairman.

‘Milan was looking to change somebody at the club. He wasn’t crazy about one of my guys that worked for me.

‘So we fell out over that basically. I didn’t want one of my coaches to lose his job.’

He said he was offered £140,000 compensation when he left Pompey.

‘I said “tell them to give it to football in the community”. I declined the money.’

Asked his reaction to the prosecution’s description of him as a ‘hard-headed businessman’ he said: ‘No, I’m not.

‘I’m a fantastic football manager, not a hard-headed businessman.

‘I have no business sense whatsoever unfortunately.’

Redknapp told the court about an £8m investment he made in Southsea where another man put no money in but was entitled to 50 per cent of the profit after he didn’t read the contract.

He said: ‘The only good thing about the £8m investment in Southsea is that it was a disaster so the guy that ripped me off didn’t get any profit anyway.’