Mancini paid ‘se­cret’ £1.75m wage from City

The Daily Telegraph - Sport - - Sport / Football - By Tom Morgan and Ben Rumsby

Manch­ester City could face ques­tions from HM Rev­enue and Cus­toms af­ter it was claimed they se­cretly dou­bled man­ager Roberto Mancini’s salary by fun­nelling £1.75 mil­lion into an off­shore ac­count.

Tax in­spec­tors are said to be keep­ing a close watch af­ter City were ac­cused of ma­nip­u­lat­ing their wage bill by pay­ing Mancini £1.45mil­lion as his base salary in 2011, while also re­ward­ing him even more hand­somely as an ad­viser for an­other club owned by Sheikh Man­sour.

In the lat­est chap­ter in the Foot­ball Leaks series, City are also ac­cused of strik­ing a legally-bind­ing third-party player-own­er­ship deal to cream off the best African tal­ent from a Dan­ish feeder club. In the agree­ment signed on May 26, 2016, Tom Ver­non, the Bri­tish pres­i­dent of FC Nord­s­jael­land, is al­leged to have com­mit­ted his club to giv­ing up West African tal­ents from the club’s lauded Right to Dream Academy in Ghana.

The al­leged agree­ment, de­tailed in Dan­ish news­pa­per Poli­tiken, will spark spec­u­la­tion that striker Mo­hammed Kudus, one of the great­est tal­ents in the Dan­ish Su­perliga, will now trans­fer to City for free. Con­fronted with the al­le­ga­tions yes­ter­day, Ver­non told Ger­man mag­a­zine Der Spiegel: “We are con­fi­dent that we are in com­pli­ance with all rel­e­vant foot­ball reg­u­la­tions.”

Through­out this week, Der Spiegel has pub­lished claims City hid some of their spend­ing in or­der to avoid Uefa’s Fi­nan­cial Fair Play sanc­tions.

Der Spiegel claims Mancini signed two con­tracts on the same day, one for City and the other as a £1.75 mil­lion ad­viser to the Al Jazira Sports and Cul­tural Club in Abu Dhabi, paid into an off­shore shell com­pany in Mau­ri­tius called Sparkle­glow Hold­ings. There is no sug­ges­tion Mancini has done any­thing wrong.

Nick Hall, a foot­ball tax ex­pert with Manch­ester­based Hacker Young Char­tered Ac­coun­tants, said: “I would be very sur­prised if the HMRC wasn’t now look­ing at the Foot­ball Leaks. Some of the pay­ments are very con­vo­luted at best.”

HMRC last month launched a clam­p­down on tax avoid­ance in foot­ball, and has con­firmed it is “mak­ing in­quiries into 171 foot­ballers, 44 clubs and 31 agents for a range of is­sues”.

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