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Redknapp threatened to sue reporter, says he 'didn't fiddle anything'

Tottenham boss kept existence of off-shore account secret, court hears, on second day of trial.

HARRY REDKNAPP threatened to ‘sue the bollocks’ off a newspaper journalist and kept the existence of an off-shore bank account secret for years, a court heard today.

Redknapp, considered a favorite to become England manager after this year’s European Championships in Poland and Ukraine, is standing trial with his former chairman at Portsmouth on tax evasion charges during their time working together at the club.

On the second day of the pair’s trial, jurors heard extracts from a telephone conversation between Redknapp and News of the World reporter, Rob Beasley.

Beasley spoke to Redknapp days after a telephone interview with former Portsmouth chairman Mandaric.

When Beasley described how Mandaric said the money sent to Redknapp’s offshore accounts were investments ‘outside football’, the Tottenham manager replied: “He don’t know what he is f****** talking about. What is he talking about? It is a bonus.”

Explaining that the payments surrounded profit made on the sale of Peter Crouch from Portsmouth to Aston Villa, Redknapp added: “If it was something dodgy I would have gone over there and brought it back in a briefcase.”

The Spurs boss added that the Inland Revenue and his own accountants knew about the payments. Yesterday, Southward Crown Court heard Redknapp flew to Monaco to set up a bank account in his dog, Rosie’s name.

“I ain’t done nothing wrong … I ain’t done nothing wrong, Rob. I got paid a bonus … everyone is aware of it,” he told the reporter. “Everyone knows about it, there ain’t nothing crooked in it.”

Police interview

According to prosecutor John Black QC, Redknapp claimed not to know how $295,000 from Portsmouth arrived in his Monaco bank account. The payments have been described by Black as “bung”.

“I don’t fiddle anybody. I pay my tax,” Redknapp said in a police interview read to the court.

Black cited Redknapp’s “supposed ignorance of the circumstances of the opening, operation and ownership” of the account, which Britain’s tax authority was only made aware of in 2008.

“Had Mr Redknapp really forgotten that he had flown to Monaco to set up the account?” Black told the jury. That disclosure to tax inspectors only came as a result of questions posed by a Premier League-led investigation into kickbacks and after Redknapp was arrested in November 2007.

The court heard Monday that Redknapp did not mention the account’s existence between 2004 and 2006 when he was investigated by Britain’s tax authority over his transfer dealings at West Ham, which he managed between 1994 and 2001. That probe was prompted by “concerns” over the £300,000 bonus Redknapp received from the sale of now-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand to Leeds from West Ham.

The charges in this case are that Mandaric paid $145,000 into Redknapp’s Monaco bank account in May 2002, prompted by Peter Crouch’s sale from Portsmouth to Aston Villa, and another $150,000 two years later to avoid paying income tax and national insurance.

The 64-year-old Redknapp managed Portsmouth, which is now in the second tier, between 2002 and 2004, and returned to Fratton Park in 2005 after a brief spell at its archrival Southampton before moving to Tottenham in 2008.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

- additional reporting AP