England

Harry Redknapp trial: Pair were like 'Odd Couple'

Harry Redknapp (left) with Milan Mandaric during their time at Portsmouth Football Club
Image caption The charges relate to Harry Redknapp and Milan Mandaric's time at Portsmouth Football Club

Harry Redknapp and former Portsmouth FC chairman Milan Mandaric were like "The Odd Couple", a court has heard.

In closing statements, a defence lawyer compared the pair to Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau's characters in the US comedy.

He also claimed prosecution accusations over payments from Mr Mandaric were described as "paper thin".

Mr Redknapp, 64, and Mr Mandaric, 73, deny cheating the public revenue over cash paid into a Monaco bank account.

Delivering his closing speech for Mr Mandaric at Southwark Crown Court, Lord Macdonald said the prosecution were "really flailing".

"It's really desperate stuff" to suggest Mr Mandaric might have intended the payments as a reward for Portsmouth beating Manchester United, jurors heard.

It also "simply doesn't make sense" that the first payment was a bonus for the £3m profit made over the sale of Peter Crouch from Portsmouth to Aston Villa, Lord Macdonald added.

"We say the evidence against him is hopelessly weak," he said.

He said: "In Milan Mandaric's mind this was not money for Crouch, this was Milan Mandaric coming through on money he had promised months before - for a portfolio."

The allegations relate to when Mr Redknapp, now manager at Tottenham Hotspur, was in charge at Portsmouth.

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

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

In comparing the pair to the US film and TV comedy of the 1960s and 70s, Lord Macdonald said they had an "emotional relationship, at times a tempestuous relationship, at times a love-hate relationship".

He added: "An odd couple, different men, different backgrounds... but I would suggest a deep affection," he added.

The jury has been told it will retire to consider its verdicts on Tuesday.

The trial continues.

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