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The Crown V H J Redknapp – day 2

 

Day 2 saw a full day of evidence from the prosecution over primarily the first lodgement into the Monaco Bank Account named “Rosie47”. It also brought the first disparity between the two defendants over the reasons for the transaction.

To recap, The Crown’s case against the Tottenham Hotspur manager is as follows:

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. These were as follows:                                                                                                                            $                         £   

          First payment (Crouch)             145,000                 93,100

          Second Payment                       150,000                 96,300

The first of these payments, $145,000 related to transfer of Peter Crouch to Aston Villa. Portsmouth made a profit on this transfer and as director of football Harry was entitled to 10% of the transfer profit. When he replaced Graham Rix and became manager of the club this entitlement dropped to 5%.

Previously Harry had revealed this in the press and that he had asked for the balance of funds. The BBC have reported that Harry’s share was £115,473 but based upon what Harry suggested that this would have been £150,000. 

My thoughts on this are two fold. Firstly, why are we talking in dollars? The transaction was an English one and therefore would be by reference to a contract of employment with Portsmouth Football Club. Dollars only become relevant because Mr Mandaric had the money he used to make these payments offshore. 

If one were to reduce a sum of £150,000 for tax and National Insurance you would end up with a minimum net sum of approximately £88,500. Could this mean that Harry felt tax had been paid on the money as he got £93,100? Certainly if he is the tough businessman that the prosecution are portraying him to be he would be expected to know if he had been robbed; after all he had pointed this out to Mr Mandaric in the first place.

Secondly, if the money was the subject of a payment relating to a contract of employment then the sum should have been taxed under PAYE by Portsmouth Football Club. It would not matter how the payment was made, either within or outside of the company, PAYE would still be due. 

What would be needed, if the payment was outside of the business, would be for the Company’s accounts department to be advised so that entries could be made in the records to show an increase in Mr Mandaric’s loan account so that the profit and loss be charged with the bonus payment securing tax relief for Portsmouth.

Between the defendants Harry says it is a contractual payment, describing it as a bonus. Mr Mandaric appears to be suggesting that it was an interest free loan or an investment to help a friend out and therefore outside of the tax regime. It would also appear that the prosecution are relying upon transcriptions from the former newspaper The News of the World. 

When it comes to the defence of the case it will be interesting to see how both men defend this point as it will be critical for Mr Mandaric’s defence. In this area he, as Chairman and owner of Portsmouth, would appear to have more responsibilities towards the Crown to make sure that things have been done correctly.

We also learned that Harry had suffered a civil investigation from HM Revenue & Customs over a two year period relating to an amount he received over the transfer of Rio Ferdinand. This was described as a “gift” by Harry when completing his forms but appears to have suffered tax after the enquiry.

Gifts are a difficult area and of one receives it by reference to your employment then HM Revenue & Customs would press for tax and National Insurance. It appear that is what happened in this case.

Part of this procedure might have included completing a statement of assets which would include disclosing all of the bank and deposit accounts held at two particular dates. A failure to disclose an account or completing it inappropriately at a later date is looked upon unfavourably by the Crown and will no doubt be referred to often during the trial. 

This looks bad on Harry’s record and he will have to give some very strong reasons for the omission when the time comes. This failure to disclose, even if the Rio investigation period was much different, came at a time when an opportunity came to make a clean breast of things. If he thought the funds had been taxed that might be one thing but the interest received? 

It seems that Harry had forgotten of the accounts existence. What might Mandy Rice-Davies have to say about that? He should have been prepared by his legal team to have the book thrown at him over this failure. It could prove to be close to a red card issue. 

So the day concludes with the prosecution continuing to give evidence. 

Elsewhere it has been a disappointing day with a winding up order being made against Portsmouth for failing to pay £1.6m of tax. Clearly this demonstrates that whilst Portsmouth might be underfunded for its current operations by its owners that having football creditors paid in full does and will not work in the future and therefore must be changed. 

I cannot say whether any of these football creditors have been paid but from memory one name that was on the list was, yes you’ve guessed it, Peter Crouch. The same man who was let off for an eye gouging offence last weekend. The poor man can’t keep out of the news.      

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Crown v H J Redknapp – day 1

Harry Redknapp attended Southwark Crown Court today for the first day of his two week trial into alleged tax irregularities. The Crown’s case against the Tottenham Hotspur manager is as follows:

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.

Gutted! Manchester City 3 Tottenham Hotspur 2

The disappointment of cruel late defeat lingers long and Spurs fans have long been used to it. But today’s defeat with 18 seconds left on the clock is really upsetting, particularly as we had got back into a game that was dead and gone when Manchester City were 2 up after a three minute spell that tore us apart. 

Yet only 7 minutes later the scores were level as first Defoe capitalised upon a defensive mistake and then Bale produced an amazing strike to rock City to the core. Our second half performance was truly excellent and had Defoe been able to turn Bale’s cross into the net at the end of the game we would have taken the points. 

So a six point turn in three minutes leaves us still in third with United still to conclude their own game. Losing two points at home last week took us off the pace and this defeat leaves it to City to get us back into title contention. Yet for me we played like Champions. 

In the first half we controlled much of the game and kept City to a couple of half chances. The only problem was that we did not get the opportunity to use our pace much to put City under pressure. 

My suggested line ups omitted Lennon but he played and did well throughout before giving up to Pienaar with time running out. We stuck to our usual 4-4-1-1 with Kaboul keeping his place in central defence. He fully justified this and was a colossus at the back. The strength in his neck to produce headers of the distance he achieve was phenomenal and for much of the game we looked pretty comfortable.  

When the sloppy period arrived Walker was lost momentarily by Nasri who then fired home an excellent opening goal leaving Friedel with no chance. If you lose to a goal like that you can’t complain too much but it inspired City to step on the pace and within a couple of minutes it was two as they exposed our lack of height in defence for the one and only time to force the ball home from a corner.  

My immediate thought was this game is gone and it could be tricky from here but as if by magic Savic gifted a ball to Defoe who rounded Hart and slotted home from a tight angle. It wasn’t on the cards but we grabbed the chance with both hands and got ourselves going. Unfortunately the City fans didn’t appear to be doing the Poznan at the time and the wait continues to see a goal conceded whilst their backs face the pitch.

From that point our confidence rose and we took the offensive to City. Lennon out on the left cut inside and played a delightful ball to Bale whose first time shot was of such quality that Hart might as well have watched it go past him into the top corner. 

Our fight back complete the game continued end to end with both sides searching for a winner. Rafa was brought off to allow Livermore to come on and try to close down in the midfield and his contribution justified the change which Rafa was rightly disappointed about.    

What we have to accept is that it was a penalty which will be soul destroying for Ledley who had made another super return to the side after injury. His partnership with Kaboul remained solid throughout with Brad taking control in a manner Gomes never did behind them. Walker had a good game, Parker was back on the money and competitive and Modric kept going right until the end. 

Our most disappointing player today was Benny who gave the ball up a little too easily on occasions but he didn’t have a poor game by any means. Replacing Adebayor Defoe did well and worked hard throughout.  

Much is already being made of the incident in which Ballotelli caught Parker. For me it didn’t look like a deliberate stamp but better judges than myself are suggesting it was a red. Yes he stood on Parker but was it deliberate? I wasn’t convinced and I thought his reputation earned him a booking that was maybe a little unlucky as soon as he came on.

Contrast that with Lescott who should have been booked for a bodycheck on Bale in the first half and then committed an appalling elbow on Kaboul on the edge of his own box in the second. Reputation counts highly when it comes to which players get carded and which get away with things. If City should have gone down to 10 the man to go off got away scot free unless the panel make a late decision to punish him for deliberate foul play.   

At the end the Spurs players were all gutted to lose in such a manner having given their all for 95 minutes. We couldn’t ask any more of them and I’m reminded of the League Cup final against Liverpool where Archibald missed a chance on 85 minutes and we ended up losing in extra time.  

City know they had a game today and will also know that we will be at their heels till the end of the season. All we can do is continue to amass as many points as possible between now and then to achieve our initial objective in qualifying for the Champions League and I believe that we will do it.