Harry Redknapp has been cleared of charges of tax evasion, but HMRC has “no regrets” over bringing the case to trial.

Harry Redknapp, at present Spur’s manager has been found not guilty of tax evasion.

Redknapp was accused of receiving bonuses of $295,000 and hiding them in a Monaco bank account. The amounts were received when he was managing Portsmouth back in 2002-2004 and paid by Milan Mandaric, who later became chairman of the club.

One payment was a bonus on the sale of Peter Crouch. HMRC argued that the payments were taxable bonuses. Redknapp and Mandaric claimed that the cash was not connected with Redknapp’s employment at Portsmouth. However, Redknapp was recorded in conversation with the News of the World as saying that one payment related to Crouch's transfer.

The jury gave a unanimous verdict, having been told by the judge that that they could not find Redknapp guilty and at the same time acquit Mr Mandaric.

HMRC have released a statement: 

Chris Martin, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigations, said:

“I would like to thank my colleagues in City of London Police, the Crown Prosecution Service and HM Revenue & Customs who worked so hard and with great professionalism to get this complex case before a jury.

“Tax evasion is not a victimless crime because every penny of tax evaded reduces the UK’s ability to pay down the deficit and support our public services. That is why we relentlessly pursue those we believe are evading tax.

“I have no regrets about pursuing this case because it was vitally important that the facts were put before a jury for their consideration. We accept the verdict of the jury but I would like to remind those who are evading tax by using offshore tax havens that it always makes sense to come forward and talk to us before we come to talk to you.”

Our comment

The case may have been expensive for the taxpayer to lose, but has been good in terms of publicity for HMRC?

It has just been announced that the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility has been extended and so there is plenty of time left to disclose offshore accounts. HMRC have considerable investigation powers at their disposal, including using their Civil Investigation of Fraud procedures as opposed to taking criminal proceedings to tackle the non-compliant.

 

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