Redknapp 'threatened reporter'

24 January 2012 07:46

Harry Redknapp threatened to "sue the b*******" off a journalist as the football boss and his former employer gave conflicting excuses for an alleged offshore tax fiddle, a court has been told.

The Tottenham Hotspur boss was "feigning ignorance" about his illegal dealings for six years before his arrest, prosecutors claimed.

Redknapp was said to have told police "I don't fiddle" as he and co-defendant Milan Mandaric gave contradicting explanations for the £189,000 "bung".

The Londoner - who is tipped to lead the England team - had earlier told News of the World reporter Rob Beasley that Mandaric did not know what he was talking about.

While Redknapp claimed payments into the Monaco account surrounded transfer profit bonuses, Mandaric claimed the money was a loan "outside of football", the court heard.

Prosecutor John Black QC read out a string of interview transcripts on the second day of Redknapp and Mandaric's tax evasion trial at Southwark Crown Court.

In a 2009 telephone conversation Redknapp told Mr Beasley he had "the best accountants in England", claiming the Inland Revenue was fully aware of his dealings in Monaco. Mr Beasley spoke to Redknapp on the eve of Tottenham taking on Manchester United in the Carling Cup final and two days after calling Mandaric, the former Portsmouth FC chairman.

When Mr Beasley offered Mandaric's explanation that the money was an investment, the Tottenham Hotspur manager replied: "He don't know what he is . talking about. What is he talking about? It is a bonus."

Explaining that the payments surrounded profit made on the sale of Peter Crouch from Portsmouth to Aston Villa, Redknapp added: "If it was something dodgy I would have gone over there and brought it back in a briefcase." When Mr Beasley asked him whether he had paid any tax in the UK on it, Redknapp replied: "Haven't been asked to, Rob."

Redknapp, 64, who underwent minor heart surgery last year to unblock his arteries, is the most successful English manager in the modern game, having led Portsmouth to FA Cup success and Spurs to last season's Uefa Champions League quarter-finals. Serbian Mandaric, 73, is now chairman of Sheffield Wednesday.

Source: PA