Owls chairman faces trial

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SHEFFIELD Wednesday chairman Milan Mandaric will face trial for £180,000 tax evasion next year, alongside football manager Harry Redknapp.

The Serbian-American business tycoon, who bought the League One club last December, is accused of two counts of cheating the public revenue between specific dates in 2002 and 2007.

The 73-year-old is accused jointly with Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp - tipped as a future England manager.

The charges relate to the time when Mandaric was chairman of Portsmouth Football Club and the two spells when Redknapp was manager, between 2002 and 2004, and 2005 and 2008.

The first charge alleges that between April 1, 2002, and November 28, 2007, Mandaric paid 145,000 US dollars into a bank account held by Redknapp in Monaco, to avoid paying income tax and national insurance.

The second charge for the same offence relates to a sum of 150,000 US dollars allegedly paid by Mandaric to the same account between May 1, 2004, and November 28, 2007.

The Crown alleges the payments were made “with intent to defraud, and to the prejudice of HM Revenue and Customs, as a result of or in connection with Henry James Redknapp’s employment and as a reward for services”.

Both men deny the charges and a two-week trial is due to begin at Southwark Crown Court in London on January 23.

Judge Anthony Leonard QC ruled a previous ban on reporting details of the proceedings could be lifted at 2.30pm on Saturday.

Redknapp, 64, underwent heart surgery this month to unblock arteries, and has missed some Spurs games while he recovers.