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Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Redknapp found not guilty of tax evasion

London: Harry Redknapp has been cleared on all counts of tax evasion charges by a jury at Southwark Crown Court. The jury of eight men and four women returned a unanimous 'not guilty' judgement following five-and-a-half hours of deliberations.

Redknapp's co-accused Milan Mandaric was also cleared of two counts of cheating the public revenue. The charges for both men stemmed from their time as manager and owner of Portsmouth respectively.

Later, Redknapp took to the court steps to thank those who had supported him throughout a case he described as "a nightmare" and "absolutely horrendous".

He said: "It really has been a nightmare. It's been five years and this is a case that should never have come to court. It was a unanimous decision so there was no case to answer.

"I'm pleased we can go home and get on with our lives."

When the jury forewoman had delivered the verdict at 11:35am on the 13th day of the trial Redknapp smiled, puffed out his cheeks in relief and looked over to his son Jamie Redknapp in the public gallery.

The Spurs manager was embraced by Mandaric, who was sat alongside him in the dock, and the Serbian millionaire drew Redknapp's head into his shoulder.

Redknapp junior clasped his hands together in relief whilst Kevin Bond, his father's long-time friend and No2 on the Spurs coaching staff, smiled in the public gallery.

There were also smiles from a posse of Spurs officials, including directors Darren Eales and Donna Cullen, and League Managers' Association chief executive Richard Bevan, who have supported Redknapp throughout the majority of the trial.

Tottenham later released a statement expressing their delight with the verdict.

"Everyone at the club is delighted for Harry and his family," it read.

"This has been hanging over him for four years and the last two weeks have been particularly difficult. We are pleased to see this resolved and we all look forward to the rest of the season."

Former Pompey owner Mandaric also spoke outside the court, insisting the charges should never have been brought.

"I always believed in British justice system," he said.

"To suggest I would cheat the tax man is highly offensive to me, my family, associates and friends.

"I'm happy that my good name and reputation have been upheld. I never doubted the truth would prevail, nor the fact that the British justice system would come to the right conclusion.

"I'm delighted I have been cleared of totally unfounded allegations. It is clear they should never have been brought to the court."


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