During his time as Manager of Portsmouth Football Club between 2002 and 2007 he received two payments from the Chairman of the Club Milan Mandaric totalling $295,000 (approximately £189,000) which was paid into an account in Monaco and upon which he should have paid tax.
Harry arrived at the Court at around 8.00, which anyone who has completed jury service will know is extremely early for the 10.00 start. Unfortunately for him the press had gathered from around 7.00 so that he could not enter without a host of photographs being taken which are already on the internet and will be in tomorrows newspapers.
The jury was sworn in with the Judge asking them to forget about football allegiances as they have to take an oath upon which they agree to give true verdicts upon the evidence that they will hear. They were asked to declare if they held allegiances to either Spurs or Pompey as it might prevent them from dealing with their duties as a juror in the correct manner.
After the lunch break the trial commenced with the prosecution providing the start of their evidence. Sky report that John Black QC told the Court that “The Crown’s case is that the money transfers to the offshore Monaco bank account were deliberately and dishonestly paid by Mr Mandaric and then received by Harry with the intention of concealing them from the authorities and also paying tax.”
The first payment related to the sale of Peter Crouch from Portsmouth to Aston Villa on a profit of £3 million. This is not new evidence as Harry himself informed the press before he was advised to shut up of this fact and that he had received a payment from the club but for the wrong sum. As we understood it at that time the payment made to Monaco was the balancing sum as Mr Mandaric acknowledged his error.
What we did learn was that the bank account into which the money was placed was called “Rosie47″ after his dog and the year in which he was born. Having no offshore bank accounts I do not know if this is unusual but it is pretty press worthy and will get lots of publicity in the morning. Is this of relevance?
Clearly the prosecution believe it shows he wished to keep it under a radar so it will be interesting to see if the defence are able to show that his name and address – needed for the sending of statements and correspondence – were also provided at the time of the account being opened.
It is difficult to see how a trial concerning two payments can be scheduled to last for two weeks but with the rate of progress thus far one gets an idea how the public purse pays so much for our judicial system. Swearing in a jury does take time and tomorrow will see a full day of evidence and maybe more things we have not known.
Both defendants deny the charges.