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Drogba turning back the clock

Chelsea 19 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Feb 7, 2012

Redknapp jurors retire to reach verdict

Jurors at the Harry Redknapp tax evasion trial retired to consider their verdicts on Tuesday lunchtime.

The eight men and four women were warned to ignore footballing matters during their deliberations.

Judge Anthony Leonard told the jury to forget about the "emotive subject'' as it decides the fate of Tottenham manager Redknapp and co-defendant Milan Mandaric, his former boss at Portsmouth.

"Football is an emotive subject, stirring in an individual anything from deep passion to resentment," the judge said at Southwark Crown Court. "It has become so commercial that it may be thought by some to have lost its way.''

But the judge added in his summing-up: "This case is not about football but about allegations of tax fraud.''

The judge told jurors he will only take a unanimous verdict. The Crown says deposits totalling £189,000 in a Monaco account were bonuses related to Portsmouth Football Club.

At least one of the payments was related to the £3 million profit the club made on the sale of England striker Peter Crouch to Aston Villa, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Jurors were warned by the prosecution to "keep their eyes on the ball'' when they consider their verdicts.

But Redknapp's barrister, John Kelsey-Fry QC, said yesterday that some of the Crown's evidence is "repugnant to all our basic instincts of fairness''.

Mandaric's QC, Lord Macdonald, said the prosecution was "really flailing'' with "paper-thin'' explanations for the Monaco payments. We say the evidence against him is hopelessly weak."

Both Redknapp, 64, of Poole, Dorset, and Mandaric, 73, from Oadby, Leicestershire, deny two counts of cheating the public revenue when Redknapp was manager of Portsmouth Football Club.

The first charge of cheating the public revenue alleges that between April 1 2002 and November 28 2007 Mandaric paid 145,000 US dollars (£93,100) into the account.

The second charge for the same offence relates to a sum of 150,000 US dollars (£96,300) allegedly paid between May 1 2004 and November 28 2007.

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