Owls chairman denies tax evasion

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THE chairman of Sheffield Wednesday “must have known” he was avoiding taxes by allegedly paying cash bungs to a top football manager through an offshore banking scheme, a court was told this week.

Owls boss Milan Mandaric is on trial accused of cheating the public revenue by paying more than £189,000 into an account held in Monaco by employee Harry Redknapp.

Jurors heard the pair dodged taxes on substantial payments while Mandaric, aged 73, was chairman at Portsmouth Football Club and Redknapp was the manager.

John Black QC, prosecuting, said Redknapp received player transfer bonuses under a clause in his contract.

The prosecution allege that following the transfer of striker Peter Crouch, Redknapp received a secret payment from Mandaric into the Monaco account in the name of Rosie 47 – a combination of his pet dog’s name and his year of birth.

“These payments were a bung or offshore bonus that the parties had absolutely no intention of paying taxes for,” he told Southwark Crown Court.

Mr Black added that “both parties must have known” they were avoiding taxes.

The pair deny two charges of tax evasion.

The first charge alleges that Mandaric paid £93,100 into an account held by Redknapp in Monaco between April 2002 and November 2007.

The second relates to a sum of £96,300 allegedly paid by Mandaric to the same account between May 2004 and November 2007, to avoid paying income tax and National Insurance.

Redknapp was originally investigated by tax officials over his transfer dealings at West Ham United, the court heard.

The Monaco bank account eventually came to light during an inquiry into illicit payments in football, led by former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Lord Stevens.

Redknapp, aged 64, who underwent minor heart surgery last year, mentioned the Monaco account in interview in 2006. He is now manager of Tottenham.

Serbian Mandaric made millions through business ventures before ploughing his money into football. He bought Sheffield Wednesday in 2010, having previously owned Leicester City.

The trial continues.