HARRY Redknapp was “driven with his back to the wall to lie” when he claimed he gave a sports journalist false information about why over £90,000 was paid into his Monaco bank account, jurors were told yesterday.
The Spurs manager has previously told London’s Southwark Crown Court the money was given to him in 2002 by Milan Mandaric, his former boss at Portsmouth Football Club, as an investment that had nothing to do with his employment.
But, in his closing speech, prosecution counsel John Black QC urged the jury to conclude the sum was in fact a bonus paid to Redknapp arising from Portsmouth’s profits on the sale of striker Peter Crouch. He said Redknapp knew he had to pay tax on his income, including any bonuses.
Mr Black told the jury: “You may have little difficulty in concluding that if it was a bonus, no tax was deducted, no tax was paid – and indeed no tax has ever been paid in relation to that bonus as we stand here in 2012.”
The trial heard that Redknapp told former News of the World sports reporter Rob Beasley in a taped conversation in 2009 that Mandaric, now the chairman of Sheffield Wednesday, paid the money into his Monaco account as a bonus relating to the sale of Crouch.
But in evidence, the manager said he told the journalist the wrong information to prevent a story appearing in the Sunday tabloid when Spurs played in the 2009 League Cup final.
Redknapp said: “I don’t have to tell Mr Beasley the truth. I have to tell police the truth, not Mr Beasley, he’s a News of the World reporter.”
But Mr Black rejected this claim, telling jurors: “Apparently it’s all right for Redknapp to lie – ‘the difference, I suppose, is I’m on oath here, I wasn’t then’.
“In a way he has no choice if he has to run the investment defence. How is he to explain his interview with Mr Beasley? He’s driven with his back to the wall to lie.”
Mr Black said what Redknapp told the reporter was “the most compelling and important evidence” in the case.
He told the jury: “The problem for Redknapp was that he knew perfectly well what was happening, and he in an unguarded moment on a tape with the News of the World journalist told it as it was. That in a sense condemns him from his own mouth.”
Mr Black added: “It may not be popular to say that about a man who is respected in the business, a very good football manager, who has very many qualities.
“The fact is this bonus was paid into an account in Monaco, and no tax was paid on it.”
Redknapp and Mandaric deny two counts of cheating the public revenue. The trial continues.