LONDON (AP) – Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was accused in court Tuesday of concealing a ''secret'' offshore bank account from British tax authorities that was used for six years to stash $295,000 of transfer bonuses.
Redknapp, considered a favorite to become England manager after this year's European Championship, is standing trial with his former chairman at Portsmouth on tax evasion charges during their time working together at the south coast club.
''I don't fiddle anybody. I pay my tax,'' Redknapp said in a police interview read to the court.
According to prosecutor John Black, Redknapp claimed not to know how $295,000 from Portsmouth arrived in his Monaco bank account, despite flying to the principality in 2002 to open the ''secret'' account.
The payments have been described by Black as ''off-record bonus'' or a ''bung,'' a British term used to mean a bribe.
But Redknapp denied taking a ''bung'' in a Feb. 2009 conversation with a journalist, according to a transcript read to London's Southwark Crown Court on the second day of the trial.
''It's nothing to do with a bung - it's paid by the chairman,'' Redknapp told a reporter with the now-defunct News of the World.
''If it was something dodgy I would have gone over there and brought it back in a brief case,'' Redknapp added.
Monaco was chosen because it has a ''minimal taxation and a long history of banking secrecy,'' Black said Monday.
On Tuesday, Black cited Redknapp's ''supposed ignorance of the circumstances of the opening, operation and ownership'' of the account, which Britain's tax authority was only made aware of in 2008.
''Had Mr. Redknapp really forgotten that he had flown to Monaco to set up the account?'' Black told the jury.
That disclosure to tax inspectors only came as a result of questions posed by a Premier League-led investigation into kickbacks and after Redknapp was arrested in November 2007.
The court heard Monday that Redknapp did not mention the account's existence between 2004 and 2006 when he was investigated by Britain's tax authority over his transfer dealings at West Ham, which he managed between 1994 and 2001. That probe was prompted by ''concerns'' over the 300,000 pound bonus Redknapp received from the sale of now-Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand to Leeds from West Ham.
The charges in this case are that Mandaric paid $145,000 into Redknapp's Monaco bank account in May 2002, prompted by Peter Crouch's sale from Portsmouth to Aston Villa, and another $150,000 two years later to avoid paying income tax and national insurance.
The 64-year-old Redknapp managed Portsmouth, which is now in the second tier, between 2002 and 2004, and returned to Fratton Park in 2005 after a brief spell at its archrival Southampton before moving to Tottenham in 2008.
Redknapp's success at Tottenham has made him the leading contender to replace Fabio Capello as England coach after this year's European Championship. Spurs have qualified for the Champions League for the first time under Redknapp and are currently third in the Premier League.
Redknapp was portrayed by Black as a talented soccer manager, but also ''a hardheaded businessman, with a financial acumen.''
The 73-year-old Mandaric, a Serbian, is now chairman at third-tier club Sheffield Wednesday. Both Mandaric and Redknapp deny the two charges.