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The two, who held senior positions at Fratton Park, were interviewed as part of a joint investigation by City of London Police and HM Revenue and Customs into alleged corruption in football.

 

Last week, HMRC issued a winding-up petition against Portsmouth for over £3.5 million of outstanding tax.

 

The club’s present team of officials say they are confident of reaching an agreement but it is widely believed that HMRC would be prepared to make Portsmouth the first Premier League club to go bust.

 

One of the former employees said:-

 

“I am not surprised about the current desperate situation.

 

The club has had a very relaxed attitude to meeting its’ tax obligations – the focus has been on meeting the vast wage bill which was just not sustainable for a club the size of Portsmouth.”

 

The winding-up petition is due to be heard in court on February 10th 2010 unless Portsmouth manages to strike a deal with the taxman.

 

According to the second anonymous ex-official, this is not the first time Portsmouth has had a run-in with the taxman.

 

In a statement handed to City of London Police, the ex-employee made the following comments regarding his time at the club under former owner Milan Mandaric:-

 

“As a club, it was under a lot of pressure as things were really tight. Tax and national insurance would often be overdue on a regular basis. It was embarrassing.

 

We had to call the tax people in and come up with an agreement on how to resolve matters. This was something I had never come across in business before. It could only happen in football. If that was any other company, they would not be so forgiving.”

 

Current owner, Ali Al Faraj, inherited PAYE, National Insurance and VAT arrears totalling £10m.

 

Former Portsmouth manager, Harry Redknapp, and former chairman, Milan Mandaric, are both being charged in the week commencing 11th January 2010 for ‘cheating the public revenue’ relating to when they were both at Portsmouth.

 

Both men deny any wrongdoing whatsoever.

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