Mandaric insulted by ‘allegations’

Milan Mandaric said he was worth more than £100million at

the time and paid £55million in taxes over six years.

He said accusations of tax dodging are “sad, unfair and an

insult” to his family, his associates and “even some of those


Mandaric told Southwark Crown Court in London: “It is a very sad

situation that I have to answer that because in business, running

public companies with thousands of shareholders, being a major

investor in US banks where you have to go through rigorous,

fit-and-proper person test, being part of investment fund over

there, I started in a hard way and made enough money to support my

love of football.

“Never, ever in my mind was coming the idea that I could get

rich evading money. I did not even know what the word meant. I did

not cheat anyone.”

He said “not in a million years” would he have paid

£189,000 into the account to avoid taxes.

“I paid £55million income taxes for six years,” he


Mandaric said he and Redknapp were now friends again after their

“divorce” when Redknapp joined Portsmouth’s rivals Southampton.

He claimed the payments at the centre of tax-dodging allegations

were previously “not a major factor in my life”.

Mandaric said: “I was a busy man, I was travelling” when letters

were sent between lawyers about the money in Redknapp’s Monaco


“I didn’t put it as my number one priority, basically,” he


He also said Rob Beasley, a News of the World sports reporter,

had tried to “debalance me” in asking him questions about the


Mandaric told jurors he underestimated the abilities of Peter

Crouch when Redknapp signed the striker at Portsmouth.

“So the big, tall guy didn’t look like a footballer,” Mandaric


Mandaric said he told Redknapp: “If this is the best you can do,

you will end up paying me money.”

England striker Crouch was eventually sold to Aston Villa for a

£3million profit, triggering a bonus for Redknapp in his


As an inquiry was launched into the Monaco account, Mandaric’s

lawyer sent a letter to Redknapp’s solicitor asking for the money

to be returned, the court heard.

The former Portsmouth chairman said: “It was not that I needed

this to come back immediately. Eventually I would get the money


He added that “it was more important that we were going in the

right direction” at Portsmouth and as friends.

“I really was not in favour of this letter, it was between Harry

and me,” Mandaric said.

“I didn’t press with him. To me it was most important that we

get back on the track…this was not a major factor in my


Mandaric added: “As of today, we are the same friends as we were

before 2004.”

Lord Macdonald QC questioned Mandaric about reports that

Redknapp was earning £4.2million a year.

Mandaric said the reports were incorrect, adding: “That would be

the full value of his contract over three years.”

Both Redknapp, 64, of Poole, Dorset, and Mandaric, 73, from

Oadby, Leicestershire, deny two counts of cheating the public

revenue when Redknapp was manager of Portsmouth Football Club.

The first charge of cheating the public revenue alleges that

between April 1 2002 and November 28 2007 Mandaric paid 145,000 US

dollars (£93,100) into the account.

The second charge for the same offence relates to a sum of

150,000 US dollars (£96,300) allegedly paid between May 1 2004

and November 28 2007.

Redknapp “has a tendency to moan”, Mandaric said.

The chairman described how the pair quibbled over whether the

manager was owed a 5% or 10% bonus on the Crouch sale.

“He has a tendency to moan, to be unhappy, to find something,”

Mandaric said.

Mandaric repeatedly denied that the Monaco account was anything

to do with Portsmouth.

“The club had the money,” he said. “The club could have paid


When asked if he thought it “unusual” that Redknapp had named

the account after his dog, Rosie, Mandaric said he had met the pet

several times.

“I do not see anything unusual,” he added.

The court was adjourned until Wednesday when Mandaric will

continue giving evidence.