Rangers in crisis: Why Craig Whyte still holds all the aces at Ibrox

IN the court of public opinion, Craig Whyte has been hung, drawn, quartered and consigned to the dustbin of history. The only trouble is… he isn’t history.

He remains the majority shareholder at Rangers and is perfectly entitled to tell Paul Murray, or anyone else, that he isn’t selling to them.

The Ibrox administrators have left the business community puzzled by saying Whyte is now an “irrelevance”.

Most accountants reckon the opposite – he is in the ring seat and holding all the aces.

It’s been suggested the administrators could go to court to wrestle his shares from him. But it’s difficult to see the legal grounds for that.

And, in any case, who appointed the administrators in the first place? The answer is Whyte himself.

Are the administrators really going to sue the man who brought them in?

And since it now seems very likely Whyte has put none of his own money into Ibrox, he has literally nothing to lose.

It looks like he is keen to get liquidation underway so he can head off into the sunset.

Well away from Ibrox in his boltholes in Monaco and London, the truth is that Whyte is still laughing… all the way to the bank.

it gets better by the week..ha ha ha
 
 
POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Poe Csc Nottingham.
 
 

ADMINISTRATION PARTY

ADMINISTRATION PARTY

 
Monday, 13 February 2012 at 16:00 until Monday, 30 April 2012 at 19:00
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  •   RANGERS ARE OFFICIALLY IN ADMINISTRATION, 14/02/2012

POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Public event · By John Docherty.

 
 

Rangers’ historic day is marred by songs of ‘hate and ignorance’

Condemnation over sectarian chants as investigations into Rangers’ accounts continues by Judith duffy, Richard Wilson and Matty Sutton

THE Catholic Church last night condemned Rangers fans for promoting “poisonous bigotry” after sectarian chants and songs marred the team’s first match following the club being put into administration.

Despite repeated efforts to stamp out the problem in recent years, anti-Catholic abuse was repeatedly heard on the terraces during yesterday’s game against Kilmarnock.

Chants of “F****n b******s” were heard during the first half of the match, followed by a rendition of the loyalist song The Billy Boys, which has been banned by Uefa for the line “we’re up to our knees in F****n blood”.TAX DODGERS !

Later, some refereeing decisions which provoked controversy among Rangers supporters prompted a widespread chant of: “Who’s the F****n in the black”.

Before the match got under way, Rangers’ administrators said that new information they had uncovered about club finances had “only added to the confusion” over the whereabouts of a £24.4 million payment made to Rangers by company, Ticketus, for the purchase of season tickets. Administrators added, however, that HMRC does not want to see a situation where the club is liquidated

Those responsible for sectarian chanting at yesterday’s match were condemned for dredging up songs of “hate and ignorance” on a day when Rangers fans had packed into Ibrox to show their support for their crisis-hit club.

Peter Kearney, spokesman for the Catholic Church, said: “Sadly poisonous sectarian bigotry is all too often a part of some Rangers’ fans identity. Despite repeated efforts by the club – and to their great embarrassment – anti-Catholic hostility is still alive and well among many Rangers fans.”HAIL - WHEN RANGERS DIES - HAIL

Dave Scott, campaign director of the anti-bigotry charity Nil by Mouth, said: “This was a day when some Rangers fans came to show their true feelings for their club. I suspect any true supporter will be sickened to their stomach that others have chosen this day of all days to dredge up these songs of hate and ignorance.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We deplore sectarian or bigoted chanting at any grounds or from any fans in Scotland.”

Rangers did not respond to calls last night seeking comment on the issue of sectarian chanting.

Rangers administrators revealed yesterday that new information uncovered had led to a “pretty full understanding” of the takeover and financing of the club.

Administrators Duff & Phelps said they expected to make an announcement in the coming days after receiving details from the club’s former lawyers.

A series of meetings with potential investors or new owners will also take place in the week ahead in a bid to save the “tremendous institution”, the firm added.

But while the administrators said they remained confident of a “successful outcome” for the club, they also warned it was uncertain exactly what shape that will take.

Rangers were plunged into crisis on Tuesday when HMRC moved to put the club into administration over an upaid tax bill of £9 million, a debt owed to the taxman after owner Craig Whyte‘s takeover last May.

Whyte has insisted he has “nothing to fear” from any investigations into the club’s affairs and can account for “every penny” which has gone in and out of the club.

Speaking ahead of the Rangers’ match against Kilmarnock at Ibrox yesterday afternoon, joint administrator David Whitehouse said: “The key issue that has been talked about extensively is the whole financing of the original acquisition, the Ticketus money and level of capital that was introduced to the club.

“We got a load of information yesterday evening from the company’s former lawyers and we have a pretty full understanding of what has happened. Until we get firm legal advice on that, we can’t put it out, but there will be clarity on that next week.”

He added: “The whole role of the previous management will be integral to understanding things. We are clearer as to what has happened in terms of the circumstances around the purchase and how the company has been capitalised.”

Whitehouse said a series of meetings with potential investors or new owners would take place over the next week. “This club is a tremendous institution and it seems to us inconceivable that steps wouldn’t be taken to try to save it,” he added.

RANGERS are also awaiting the outcome of a tax tribunal which could leave them with a bill that could be as much as £75m.

Joint administrator Paul Clark said he remained confident HMRC does not want to see a situation where the club is liquidated.

He said: “We’ve spoken at length with HMRC … If HMRC had been looking to close Rangers, they would have issued a winding up petition last week … The message from HMRC is that they would like to work with us to make sure that Rangers survive. More meetings are scheduled for the coming week. They’ve been positive against the backdrop of neither party having complete information.”

He added: “We remain confident that there will be a successful outcome for the football club. Exactly what shape that will take, we remain uncertain.

“But it’s something that we are working with all parties to achieve a successful result. This is a football club and it’s about playing football.”

However, Clark said there was still a “lack of clarity” over the Ticketus deal: “Part of the information we’ve received in the past 24 hours has only added to the confusion. Payment (was) not made into a Rangers Football Club bank account. It went through a lawyer’s bank account. We’ve got some visibility of funds.”

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Support vents fury as Whyte flies to London Home News • Wed 15 Feb 2012

SFA investigates Rangers owner Craig Whyte

Rangers owner Craig WhyteWhyte assumed control of Scottish champions Rangers in May

The Scottish Football Association is investigating Craig Whyte after the Rangers owner admitted that he had been disqualified as a company director.

And if it is not satisfied that Whyte falls into its fit and proper person guidelines, it will take action against the Ibrox club.

Rangers issued a statement to the Plus stock exchange on Wednesday confirming Whyte’s seven-year disqualification.

The club says it is happy to discuss the matter with the SFA fully.

“The Scottish FA has noted the Rangers FC statement to the stock exchange regarding the club’s owner Craig Whyte,” said chief executive Stewart Regan.

“We have been in dialogue with the club on this matter and in light of today’s developments have requested clarification by return.

“We await disclosure of key information before we can make any further comment.”

The governing body’s articles of association state that office bearers with their football clubs must meet their board’s fit and proper criteria.

The SFA board reserves the right to make such a judgement “after due consideration of all relevant facts”.

Asked if it was the SFA’s duty to check such matters when a person takes over a football club, Regan told BBC Scotland on Thursday evening: “Every club in Scotland supplies an official return and by supplying that official return they are effectively signing up to the articles of the Scottish FA.

“The rules and regulations are laid out very clearly as to what is and what isn’t allowed as far as company directors are concerned.

“Given that clubs are changing their directors and people are coming and going every day, it’s impossible for the Scottish FA to investigate every single person across every professional club in Scotland.

“So by signing up to the official return they are binding themselves to the articles of the Association.

“When anything happens to indicate that a breach of those articles has taken place, that is the point at which the Association gets involved.”

A spokesman for Rangers said: “At no stage did the club believe there had been a breach of SFA regulations.

“The club will be happy to provide the SFA with all the relevant information and discuss the matter with them fully.”

Article 10.2 (g) makes reference to a person who has “been disqualified as a director pursuant to the Company Directors’ Disqualification Act 1986, within the previous five years”, with the caveat that the list is “acknowledged to be illustrative and not exhaustive”.

White was disqualified from 2000 to 2007, while in charge of Vital UK Ltd, as revealed in a BBC Scotland documentary on 20 October.

Craig Whyte

Rangers confirms Craig Whyte had company director ban

Rangers Football Club has confirmed its chairman and majority shareholder, Craig Whyte, was disqualified as a company director.

The club admitted Mr Whyte was disqualified for seven years, with the ban beginning 11 years ago.

The disqualification was revealed in a BBC Scotland documentary.

In a separate announcement, the club has revealed that its net debt for the most recent financial year was down from £27m to £14m.

Its turnover was also up by nearly £1m.

The disqualification announcement should have been made to the Plus stock exchange, on which Rangers shares are traded.

The figures are included in unaudited accounts published through the Plus exchange. They also show that net current liabilities have risen sharply, from £21.5m to £34.2m.

That appears to reflect the £49m tax bill which Rangers has been disputing through a tax tribunal procedure, and which could force the club into administration.

‘Dark cloud’

Mr Whyte’s statement, with the accounts, said turnover rose nearly £1m to £57.2m.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

With any change in ownership, there will be a change in approach, and I firmly believe the changes I have implemented will be in the longer-term interest of the club, which must always come first”

End Quote Craig Whyte Rangers chairman

That was helped by extra income from European games, “although there was an overall reduction in season ticket sales, hospitality sales and sponsorship revenue”.

Net operating expenses rose by £3.6m to £47.5m, reflecting higher salary levels, increased European and fixture costs and inflation.

Proceeds from the sale of players increased in the year to June 2011 from £512,000 to £4.2m.

And after making a pre-tax profit of £4.2m last year, that fell to only £76,000.

In his statement, Mr Whyte said that the tax bill had been “a dark cloud hanging over the club for far too long”.

He went on: “Rangers has never been short of challenges in recent years and there is no question there are many challenges ahead for both the club and Scottish football in general”.

The Rangers chairman stressed that the club was no longer reliant on bank funding, since he took over the £18m debt held by Bank of Scotland.

He paid tribute to his predecessor Sir David Murray, as majority shareholder, and to former manager Walter Smith, saying his recent achievements on the pitch were “extraordinary by any standard” and set the seal on “a truly remarkable managerial career”.

“With any change in ownership, there will be a change in approach, and I firmly believe the changes I have implemented will be in the longer-term interest of the club, which must always come first,” Mr Whyte added.

‘Criminality’ claims over Rangers owner Craig Whyte

Evidence of alleged criminality in the past business dealings of Rangers FC’s new owner has been uncovered by a BBC Scotland investigation.

It found that Craig Whyte was banned from being a director for seven years.

The BBC heard allegations that Mr Whyte controlled a company despite his ban, an offence which could incur a two-year jail term. It was later wound up after misleading potential shareholders.

Mr Whyte denied all the claims “in the strongest possible terms”.

The 40-year-old businessman from Motherwell owns an 85% stake in Rangers.

Mr Whyte paid Sir David Murray £1 for the Glasgow club six months ago, and settled its £18m debt to Lloyds Banking Group.

Rangers: The Inside Story, which was broadcast on BBC1 Scotland at 19:00 on Thursday, heard allegations about the man who took over the 138-year-old club in May.

The BBC understands Mr Whyte was banned from acting as a director after the government began pursuing his company, Vital Holdings Ltd, for failing to produce satisfactory accounts.

The programme also uncovered evidence that HM Revenue and Customs was chasing some of Mr Whyte’s companies for unpaid taxes.

The programme heard claims about Mr Whyte’s involvement in a company called Re-tex Plastic Technology, during his ban.

Re-tex was wound up in 2003, after it offered to sell shares to the public using company statements which were said to contain false and misleading information.

The firm was investigated by the UK government’s Insolvency Service – the agency that probes corrupt business practice.

Robert Burns, head of investigations at the agency, said: “We took the view that the company was being controlled, or certainly had the involvement of, an individual who was disqualified. That raised concerns.”

‘Be prosecuted’

When asked who that individual was, he said: “I’m talking about Craig Whyte, who had been disqualified as a director in June 2000, for seven years.

“We found a number of suggestions, and indeed evidence, that he was in some way, shape or form, behind the company. For example he was signatory to the bank account, he was giving instructions to certain payments.

Ibrox stadium Current Scottish champions Rangers have a 140-year history

“In relation to his involvement in running the company then it is an offence and the individual can be prosecuted. Clearly there would have had to be a criminal investigation and a trial.”

Responding to the claims, Mr Whyte’s lawyers said he had a small investment in Re-tex, but was never a director or a de facto director.

Mr Burns told the BBC that his team had uncovered evidence that Mr Whyte had taken two sums of £100,000 from the company, apparently to pay a tax bill.

“There’s no trace of the money being received by the Inland Revenue,” Mr Burns said.

He told the programme that Mr Whyte had appointed fake auditors called Mullet and Co, which signed off misleading Re-tex accounts.

Mr Whyte’s lawyers said their client had no control over Re-tex’s bank account or finances and denied “in the strongest possible terms” withdrawing any money from the company accounts or appointing any auditors.

‘Outsourcing services’

The Insolvency Service believes a convicted fraudster, Kevin Sykes, was one of the individuals behind Mullet and Co.

Mr Burns said: “We have investigated a number of companies which Kevin Sykes has been behind.

“We also know Mr Sykes because of a Serious Fraud Office investigation. In October 2004, he was convicted and received a sentence in total of eight years for his part in a theft from a pension fund which totalled £3m.”

Craig Whyte Mr Whyte lived in Monaco for several years

This conviction came three years after Sykes’ last known involvement with Craig Whyte.

The documentary reveals other previous links between Mr Whyte and Sykes, with the latter acting as secretary in four of Mr Whyte’s companies which were dissolved in the late 1990s.

Mr Whyte moved to Monaco for several years around 2000, following his disqualification and the demise of 24 companies in which he was involved.

In March 2001, Sykes told his bankruptcy hearing at the High Court in London that he travelled to Monaco to be paid in cash by Mr Whyte for “outsourcing services”.

Mr Whyte’s lawyers said its client had never been a close business associate of Kevin Sykes, and denied paying him a retainer.

Rangers’ finances have hit the headlines in recent months, after a judge ruled more than £3m of its assets should be frozen, pending further court action.

The Court of Session in Edinburgh heard that a disputed tax bill of up to £49m left the SPL champions at a “real and substantial risk of insolvency”. The tax hearing is due to begin next month.

The documentary comes just days after Rangers announced it was withdrawing all co-operation with the BBC.

In a statement, Craig Whyte and Rangers FC said: “As a result of the BBC’s approach, Mr Whyte and Rangers FC believe there is a strong risk that the programme will mislead and misinform viewers about matters concerning the club, and has suspended the BBC’s access to the club.

“Mr Whyte and Rangers wish to reassure viewers – and those of the club’s valued fans who may be watching – that the best interests and secure future of the club are and will remain their priority.”

BBC Scotland Investigates – Rangers: The Inside Story was broadcast on BBC1 Scotland at 19:00 on Thursday 20 October, and will be available for a week on the iPlayer.

 

‘Criminality’ claims over Rangers owner Craig Whyte

Alastair Johnston and Craig Whyte 

Alastair Johnston had concerns about Craig Whyte’s takeover of Rangers

Lloyds Bank threatened to cut Rangers’ credit line if Craig Whyte’s takeover of the club did not go ahead, it has been claimed.

Former chairman Alastair Johnston told a BBC documentary he was warned about obstructing the deal by an individual employed by the bank.

Mr Johnston chaired the Independent Board Committee (IBC) which assessed bids on behalf of shareholders.

Lloyds said the decision to sell was solely a matter for Sir David Murray.

The club was initially put up for sale in 2009, as former owner Sir David Murray attempted to control its debts.

Due diligence

Mr Johnston took over as chairman in August 2009, when Sir David stood down.

The IBC, featuring Mr Johnston, Martin Bain, John Greig, John McClelland and Donald McIntyre, was formed in 2010 to assess the value of any bids and report its findings to Rangers’ 26,400 minority shareholders.

Businessman Andrew Ellis’s bid was announced in early 2010, and the bid from Mr Whyte emerged late last year.

A due diligence document about Mr Whyte’s business history was commissioned and presented to the IBC.

The IBC had sufficient concerns about Mr Whyte’s bid to issue a statement demanding that the new owners specify their financial commitment to the club in a document to be sent to all shareholders.

The Whyte bid, which included a pledge to pay the £18m debt owed to Lloyds, was initially rejected by the IBC.

It went through in May this year, however, after being accepted by club owner Sir David Murray.

Mr Johnston spoke about the takeover during an interview for the BBC documentary Rangers: The Inside Story.

Speaking about the alleged threat from the individual at the bank, Mr Johnston said: “Let me paraphrase, I was told that if I stood in the way of this deal happening, they said we’re gonna cancel your credit line tonight.”

Regarding Sir David’s part in the deal, Mr Johnston said: “David wasn’t in control of his own destiny.

“He’d become so beholden to Lloyds Bank of Scotland, and Lloyds Bank of Scotland desperately wanted this deal to happen.”

Mr Johnston also told the programme he had wanted to know more about Mr Whyte’s financial position.

He said: “One of our problems was that we did not see Mr Whyte’s ability to have that £9m or £10m you need to keep the club going so it could pay its bills on time.”

He added: “Liberty Capital was designated by Mr Whyte as his source of funding. And he wouldn’t tell us very much about Liberty Capital.”

A spokesman for Lloyds said the takeover was a matter for former owner Sir David Murray.

He said: “Lloyds Banking Group’s aim has always been to secure the long-term financial stability and security of our customer, Rangers Football Club.”

The programme also heard from former Rangers director Paul Murray, who said: “I think a lot of Rangers’ issues were a direct result of the banking crisis, because the banking environment changed and every company including football clubs had difficult relationships with the bankers.”

He went on to say how important the club’s place is in Scottish society.

He said: “With an institution like Rangers we’re all custodians of a 140-year-old institution. It’s not just simply another company, there’s a wider responsibility.”

Mr Murray said he doubted Mr Whyte’s logic in taking on an unspecified tax bill.

He added: “From my experience of buying and selling companies over a 25-year period, I’ve never ever seen anyone take on a liability of that nature before.”

BBC Scotland Investigates – Rangers: The Inside Story was broadcast on BBC1 Scotland at 19:00 on Thursday 20 October, and for a week on the iPlayer

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