Last updated: January 25, 2012 9:51 pm

Redknapp sick of mud-throwing, court told

Harry Redknapp felt unfairly targeted by press rumours linking his name to certain football deals, telling a friend that, “if there’s any mud to be thrown, I seem to be at the end of it”, a court heard on Wednesday.

On the third day of the Tottenham Hotspur manager’s trial for alleged tax evasion, the court also heard how he rang Milan Mandaric, the then Portsmouth chairman, while in the middle of another phone conversation with a News of the World reporter about sums paid into a Monaco bank account.

The jury heard a conversation lasting more than half an hour and taped by the reporter, Rob Beasley, who was in court as a witness.

Mr Redknapp told the reporter that the money was paid as a bonus for Portsmouth’s profit from the sale of Peter Crouch to Aston Villa in 2002, and that the tax was paid by Mr Mandaric in the US.

But Mr Beasley told Mr Redknapp that he had already spoken to Mr Mandaric – the tapes of which were also played to the jury – who said the payment was to help Mr Redknapp with an investment.

Mr Redknapp then told the reporter to hang on the line while he called Mr Mandaric. The jury heard Mr Redknapp say: “You know you paid the tax in America – it’s come back, you know. I informed the Revenue when I transferred it, just in case, you know, you hadn’t paid the tax, you know. You assured me you did. What’s the problem?”

John Black QC, for the prosecution, told the jury the explanations of the accused were “contradictory, inconsistent and lack credibility”. The two payments were employment-related and therefore taxable, he added.

Mr Redknapp and Mr Mandaric, the Sheffield Wednesday chairman, are charged with having “deliberately and dishonestly” paid and received two tranches of money totalling $295,000 in order to evade UK tax authorities.

Under cross-examination from John Kelsey-Fry QC, Mr Redknapp’s counsel, Mr Beasley said he used “flattery, friendship ... and a little bit of kidology” in seeking to get information out of the two men.

Mr Beasley said an informant about the Monaco account and the payments was paid £8,000 by his employers. He said the informant was from neither the City of London Police nor HM Revenue & Customs.

Mr Redknapp and Mr Mandaric, the Sheffield Wednesday chairman, are charged with having “deliberately and dishonestly” paid and received two tranches of money totalling $295,000 in order to evade UK tax authorities.

Mr Redknapp’s voice was heard for the first time in court in the taped conversation with Mr Beasley in February 2009, which took place the day before Spurs were due to play Manchester United in the Carling Cup final.

Told by Mr Beasley that the tabloid was considering publishing a story about payments, Mr Redknapp said: “Here we ... go again. That’s how my life seems to go.”

In the taped conversation with Mr Mandaric, the ex-Portsmouth chairman told the reporter: “I did something for my friend away from football, away from Portsmouth, to help him, to invest the money in some business. That’s about all,” Mr Mandaric told Mr Beasley in the recording.

Mr Black said the first payment of £145,000 in June 2002, was a gesture of goodwill. The second payment, in May 2004, of £150,000, was Mr Mandaric’s reward for keeping Portsmouth in the Premier League to the end of a season that had just finished, he added.

Mr Redknapp, said Mr Black, had become “a prime candidate to be poached by other clubs. The inference that it constituted income, just as much as the first [payment], is compelling.”

The case continues.

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