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Harry Redknapp and Milan Mandaric 'not guilty' on bung charges

Tottenham Hotspur manager and former Portsmouth boss cleared on all counts this morning.

Harry Redknapp makes a statement to media outside Southwark Crown Court in London.
Harry Redknapp makes a statement to media outside Southwark Crown Court in London.
Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/Press Association Images

Updated 2.42pm

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR MANAGER Harry Redknapp and former Portsmouth FC owner Milan Mandaric have been cleared of all counts of cheating the revenue.

Milan Mandaric was cleared at Southwark Crown Court of sending Harry Redknapp a tax-free offshore bung worth £93,100.

The Spurs coach was also cleared of dodging tax on the deposit in his Monaco account, Rosie 47.

The pair hugged in celebration after hearing the verdict and both mouthed a thank you to jurors as they filed out, according to TV reports. Redknapp embraced his son, Sky Sports pundit Jamie, and they left the court-room arm-in-arm.

Mandaric approached Detective Inspector Dave Manley – who Redknapp shouted at during the trial for ‘staring’ – to shake his hand and say ‘thanks’.

Judge Anthony Leonard made no comment other than to discharge the jury.

The Spurs boss is now expected to be the next England national team boss, with bookmakers cutting his odds to 4-5 this morning.

“Five years this has been hanging over us, it’s been a nightmare, I’ve got to be honest. It was horrendous, but it was a unanimous decision, the jury were unanimous that there was no case to answer.

“I’m happy I can go home now,” said Redknapp after he emerged from the court to thanks his legal team, Spurs officials and the club’s fans who sang his name during their recent win over Wigan.

Listen to Redknapp’s comments outside the court here>

Mandaric addressed the media on the steps of the court earlier:  ”I have to go somewhere and pinch myself and try to wake myself up from this horrible dream,” he said.

“I always believed in the truth and the British justice system. I have to try to go and find out how much is left  in my enthusiastic tank – energy and enthusiasm  - and try to go back win more games.”

Verdict

The 64-year-old Redknapp managed Portsmouth from 2002 to 2004 and returned in 2005 after a brief spell at Southampton before moving to Tottenham in 2008.

He has fought the accusations while enjoying the most successful period of his managerial career at Tottenham. Redknapp is the front-runner to replace Fabio Capello after the European Championship this summer.

Britain’s tax auhtority said it had “no regrets” about taking the case to trial.

“It was vitally important that the facts were put before a jury for their consideration,” said Chris Martin, assistant director of criminal investigations at HM Revenue and Customs.

“We accept the verdict of the jury but I would like to remind those who are evading tax by using offshore tax havens that it always makes sense to come forward and talk to us before we come to talk to us.”

Yesterday, the judge warned the eight men and four women to ignore football considerations during their deliberations.

Milan Mandaric leaves Southwark Crown Court with his daughter today. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Judge Anthony Leonard said at Southwark Crown Court: “Football is an emotive subject, stirring in an individual anything from deep passion to resentment.

“It has become so commercial that it may be thought by some to have lost its way.”

But he added: “This case is not about football but about allegations of tax fraud.” The judge told jurors he will only take a unanimous verdict.

The jury were sent home for the night yesterday evening after four hours of deliberations. they reconvened this morning at 10am.

A run down on the claims made against the men during the two-week trial in the south London court can be read here.

- additional reporting AP

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