Redknapp: 'I write like a two-year-old'
Published 22:30 26/01/12 By Adrian Shaw
Harry Redknapp told police probing bung allegations against him there was no way he could have fiddled his taxes because he can barely write, a court has heard.
The Spurs boss, who has a column in the Sun newspaper, claimed he is so illiterate he can’t even fill in a team sheet and so hopeless with money that his accountant runs his life for him.
His tax evasion trial was played a taped interview with detectives after his arrest on suspicion of swindling the taxman.
The 64-year-old told officers: “I have a big problem. I can’t, I can’t write so I don’t keep anything. I’m the most disorganised person I’m ashamed to say in the world.
“I’ve never wrote a letter in my life. I couldn’t write a letter.
"I write like a two-year-old and I can’t spell. You talk to anybody at the football club. I don’t write.
"I couldn’t even fill a team sheet in.”
Redknapp also said he never writes out cheques or checks bank statements and wage slips. He insisted he could not work a computer, did not know what an email is and had never sent a fax or a text.
The court heard that when he was Portsmouth boss in 2002 he set up an offshore bank account in Monaco in the name of his dog Rosie to receive bungs totalling £200,000 from then chairman Milan Mandaric.
It was allegedly opened because Redknapp was annoyed at his bonus from the profit of the sale of striker Peter Crouch to Aston Villa for £4.5million.
Under his old contract he would have received 10% of the profit - £230,000 - but a new deal meant he got 5% - £115,000.
The prosecution claims the soccer manager is a “hard headed businessman” and he and Mandaric set out to cheat the taxman of deposits the 73-year-old Croatian paid into the account.
But Redknapp said that when he left Portsmouth in 2004 to join rivals Southampton after a bust-up with Mandaric, he turned down a £180,000 to £200,000 settlement, telling club bosses to give it to youth football.
He told police: “Why am I going to fiddle 20, 30 whatever thousand pounds of income when I walk away from £200,000?
“My accountant runs my life, I’m disorganised, completely disorganised.
“I’m not into fiddling tax. I pay a fortune to my accountant to look after me. He writes all the cheques for me and my wife Sandra, he pays my bills.”
Redknapp told how he went to Monaco to open the HSBC account but that was the limit of his involvement.
He claimed Mandaric, now chairman of League One side Sheffield Wednesday, told him he would pay money into it and invest it for him and he could keep the Crouch profit.
But David Cusdin, former vice-president of the HSBC in Monaco, claimed Redknapp had sole control over the account.
Redknapp’s personal banker at HSBC in London, Alan Hills, said he was only made aware of the account in January 2008, two months after the arrests.
Mr Hills told how he had asked for details of assets and liabilities. He added: “At no point was the account in Monaco mentioned.”
Southwark crown court in South East London heard Redknapp had business interests including foreign property.
John Kelsey-Fry, QC, defending, asked him if he remembered agreeing to lend £250,000 to an unnamed man to “buy Oxford United”.
The soccer boss said: “I do.”
The barrister asked: “Disappeared into the mists?”
Redknapp replied: “Former chairman, I believe. I never saw it again.”
Redknapp and Mandaric deny tax evasion.
The trial continues.
HARRY Redknapp’s disorganised lifestyle resulted in him not being paid for being a star football columnist in the Sun newspaper for 18 months, the court heard.
Redknapp told police that his accountant Malcolm Webber rang him up and asked him where the money was that the paper should be paying him.
He said: “I get paid by the Sun to do a newspaper column. He rang me up and said, ‘Harry, what have you been doing with the cheques? Where’s your payments from the Sun?’
“I said, ‘I don’t know. I ain’t ever seen... where are they? They’re in the bank, aren’t they?’
"He rang the Sun and they hadn’t paid me for 18 months. Malcolm will tell you that.”
The case continues.