Rednapp admits lying over cash

 

Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp told a court today he lied to a tabloid newspaper reporter over payments to a Monaco bank account to try to stop him publishing an embarrassing story on the day of the 2009 League Cup final.

Redknapp, giving evidence for a second day at London's Southwark Crown Court, denies tax evasion relating to $295,000 (€225,000) paid into the account when he was manager of Portsmouth.

The man tipped by many to become the next England manager, told journalist Rob Beasley from the now-defunct News of the World that the payment was a bonus relating to the sale of England striker Peter Crouch to Aston Villa in 2002.

Beasley had been asking Redknapp about claims from former Portsmouth chairman Milan Mandaric that the money was for investments outside of football.

"I don't have to tell Mr Beasley the truth. I have to tell police the truth, not Mr Beasley, he's a News of the World reporter," Redknapp said, according to PA reports. "I referred to it to him many times as my Crouch bonus" as "Crouch is an easy answer".

Redknapp added: "I just want to get Mr Beasley out the way - I just didn't want a story in the paper . . . I was going to come down to breakfast and all my players were going to be looking at the back page of the News of the World. It was going to be embarrassing."

Manchester United beat Tottenham on penalties in the 2009 League Cup final after a scoreless draw.

Mandaric, now Sheffield Wednesday chairman, is on trial along with Redknapp and also denies wrongdoing.

Redknapp named his Monaco bank account Rosie 47, combining his dog's name and his own year of birth. Redknapp told the court he used the pet's name because "I loved her to bits".

Later, Redknapp said he was willing to swear again on the Bible as he completed his evidence by saying: “I am not a liar.” He said: “I’m the most ungreedy person you have ever met in your whole life, ever.”

Bob Wilson, the former Arsenal goalkeeper and television pundit, was called as a character witness today after Redknapp returned to his seat alongside Mandaric. He said Redknapp had supported a charity set up after Wilson’s daughter died in 1998.

Redknapp was “very quick to understand what we do and why we do it”, Wilson said.

John Kelsey-Fry QC closed the defence case by reading out a letter sent from an undisclosed witness.

The letter detailed how Redknapp invited a wheelchair-bound former Tottenham Hotspur player to come and watch a training session. The letter said: “How considerate and kind is that? I would say it is confirmation he is a giver, not a taker.”

The jury was sent home until tomorrow when the prosecution closing speech will take place.

Agencies