Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp is in court this week over allegations of tax evasion that stem from his second spell as Portsmouth manager between 2005-2008. The prosecution alleges that former Portsmouth (and now current Sheffield Wednesday) chairman Milan Mandaric made several substantial payments to offshore accounts in Monaco owned by Harry Redknapp in a deliberate attempt to circumvent Redknapp paying British income taxes on a portion of his wages totalling $295,000.
$295,000 seems like chump change compared to the amount of money that floats around in football (it's less than what Spurs striker Emmanuel Adebayor makes in nine days), but it's the sort of money that gets Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs slightly worked up. Don't expect football to have much of an influence on the trial, however - Judge Anthony Leonard told potential jurors this morning:
It can prejudice if you hold such allegiances or prejudices towards clubs that the defendants were or are presently involved with. This case will attract publicity. My advice is that you must not read or listen to these reports.
Paying money to offshore accounts seems dodgy at best and it's difficult to see how exactly this wasn't deliberate tax evasion (full disclosure: the Tottenham fan that works on SB Nation Soccer is on vacation this week and thus will never read this article), but Redknapp's lawyers will fight tooth and claw to try to get him off the hook. Being found guilty would be the sort of publicity that Redknapp, angling to manage England after Fabio Capello departs this summer, will be desperately hoping to avoid.
PS: If you're a juror in this case and you're reading this, you're a naughty person. Don't read it!