Redknapp ‘made threat to sue’ over newspaper story

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Harry Redknapp threatened to sue a journalist after the football boss and his former employer gave conflicting excuses for an alleged offshore tax fiddle, a court heard yesterday.

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

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”.

While Redknapp claimed payments into the Monaco account surrounded transfer profit bonuses, Mandaric said 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.

In a 2009 telephone conversation Redknapp told News of the World reporter Rob 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 two days after calling Mandaric, the former Portsmouth FC chairman.

When Mr Beasley offered Mandaric’s explanation the money was an investment, the Tottenham Hotspur manager replied: “What is he talking about? It is a bonus.”

Explaining the payments surrounded profit made on the sale of Peter Crouch to Aston Villa, he 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.”

As the telephone conversation went on, the court heard, Redknapp denied there was anything crooked going on, adding: “Don’t say bung. It’s nothing to do with a bung. It’s paid by the chairman. How can it be a bung when the chairman of the football club paid me?”

Redknapp told Mr Beasley if he reported in the paper the manager was taking bungs, he would ‘sue the b******s’ off him.

Both Redknapp and Mandaric deny two counts of cheating the public revenue.

The trial at Southwark Crown Court continues today.