Redknapp in court to face tax evasion charges

London: Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp and his former chairman at Portsmouth, Milan Mandaric, appeared in a London court Monday accused of tax evasion.

Redknapp, favourite to become the next England soccer manager, denied two counts of cheating the public revenue in relation to alleged payments from Mandaric into his Monaco bank account totalling $295,000.

Serb Mandaric, now Sheffield Wednesday chairman, also denied the charges before a packed courtroom at London`s Southwark Crown Court.

As the charges were read out, Redknapp and Mandaric stood together behind bullet-proof glass at a hearing watched by several relatives and more than 30 journalists.

Redknapp`s son and former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp was looking on from the viewing gallery.

The first charge against the duo alleges Mandaric paid $145,000 into Redknapp`s Monaco-based bank account between April 1, 2002 and November 28, 2007 to avoid paying income tax and national insurance.

The second charge states Mandaric paid an additional $150,000 into the same account between May 1, 2004 and November 28, 2007.

Trial judge Anthony Leonard said the case was expected to last two weeks.

He asked jurors to speak out if they had football allegiances strong enough to prejudice the case, saying "football can be to some people of such importance that it almost overwhelms every other aspect of life."

Redknapp won the FA Cup with Portsmouth in 2008 and has enjoyed success with Tottenham, including taking them to the Champions League quarter-finals last season.

"This case will attract publicity," the judge told the eight men and four women jurors. "My advice is that you must not read or listen to these reports."

Bureau Report

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