Mandaric is ‘good citizen’ jury told

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SHEFFIELD Wednesday chairman Milan Mandaric said he has always tried to do ‘everything properly’ in any country he has been based.

The Serbian businessman told jurors in his trial for alleged tax evasion how despite his wealth - ‘more than £100million’ - he did not have the obvious trappings.

Mandaric said he cares about the communities where his clubs are based and made sure he repaid creditors when he took over the Owls, even though he did not have to.

He took over Sheffield Wednesday 24 hours before the club went into administration, meaning he was liable for 100 per cent of its debts as opposed to as little as 10pc if he had waited for a day.

Asked how much he had paid to the Inland Revenue at the time, he said: “I think anywhere between £1m-£2m.”

Explaining why he did not wait, he said he wanted to pay off all the debts: “Hundreds and hundreds of small creditors, all community people - £500 is a lot of money to them.

“Little businesses who are really supportive of that club, they will lose their employees, when I want to be a good citizen of this country.”

Lord Ken Macdonald QC, defending, asked him about his main home south of San Francisco.

“It’s a normal house. Four or five bedrooms,” he said.

The QC asked if he owned a yacht or a private jet, or ‘ever fly by private jet’?

Mandaric relied: “No, I have a normal life.”

The prosecution allege that he paid $145,000 into an off-shore account to avoid tax. Lord Macdonald asked: “Is there any truth in that allegation?”

Mandaric, on trial alongside the alleged beneficiary of the payment, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp, said: “It’s a very sad situation I have to answer that.”

Mandaric and Redknapp deny the charges.

The trial continues.