UPDATE: This article was written before the Blue Knights and Brian Kennedy held their press conference this afternoon. They confirmed they offered £5.5m for Rangers up front, rising to around £11m dependant on European performances and a CVA being granted. While I’d be sceptical as to whether or not this plan could have worked, especially considering UEFA have recently confirmed a CVA carries with it a three year ban from European competition, it does highlight a few interesting points.
We found out that, plain and simply, Craig Whyte wants nothing to do with Paul Murray.
We found out that “the best lawyers in Britain couldn’t work a CVA now…it’s too late”.
We found out that TBK and BK considered the big tax case as “irrelevant”…I suppose we should just all ignore it too then!
And finally, we found out that TBK and BK have very, very little faith in Duff and Phelps, and are not entirely sure “what their plan is.”
We also have an Evening Times journalist on Twitter having spoken to one of Charles Green’s former associates, who wished to remain anonymous, quoting him as saying “don’t let that man anywhere near Rangers or football.”
Regardless of the outcome, today has highlighted the fact that this saga is coming to the “sharp end of the stick” now. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how it develops.
As has so often been the way of things when it comes to the curious case of Rangers Football Club, today has been a day on which the story has become even stranger.
We’ve had the Scottish Football Association publishing the detailed findings of their independent panel, as Rangers prepare to appeal their 12 month transfer embargo, as well as the monetary fines handed down to them (the full document is available here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/93212354/SFA-Rangers-Note-of-Reasons).
Personally, I particularly like the paragraphs 66-68 on page 31 of the document, which read:
“66. That shortly before 19 September 2011 Mr Ken Olverman was aware that Rangers FC were due to make a payment to HMRC in respect of PAYE income tax, National Insurance Contributions and Value Added Tax. On making enquiry with Mr Craig Whyte about said payments, he was not authorised to make the payment which was therefore not paid on the due date. Upon his expressing his concern to Mr Craig Whyte, Mr Ken Olverman was in due course instructed that payments to HMRC were to be suspended and withheld. At the time of the first withheld payment in September 2011 Rangers FC’s financial situation was such that it could have made the payment due to HMRC.
67. That in the course of his subsequent communications with Mr Craig Whyte about the payment of these social taxes due to HMRC, Mr CraigWhyte stated to Mr Olverman that non payment of the sums due was a tactic or negotiating ploy intended to improve the position of Rangers FC in any attempted negotiation with HMRC of a settlement in “the Big Tax Case”.”
68. That between September 2011 and February 2012 Rangers FC withheld in excess of £13,000,000 from HMRC due in respect of PAYE income tax, National Insurance Contributions and VAT. As at the date of the Tribunal determination the said sums were still outstanding and due.”
Now, there’s some interesting information for both the public, the tax authorities, and football’s governing bodies to discuss.
Another snippet of information that came out today was that Rangers Football Club were informed of the identities of the members on the SFA’s independent panel who looked over their case prior to their hearing. This meant that, without taking an enormous leap of faith here, it is likely that Mr McCoist knew fine well who the individuals involved were, even before he started calling for them to be named in public, leading to threats of violence being made against them, their families and their property.
We’ve also had the much discussed Blue Knights (featuring Brian Kennedy) publicly pulling out of the race to buy the club, again. The bid they claim to have put forward was to be £5.5 million up front, with a total of £11 million.
Now, we are told that there are two bidders remaining in the race for the Ibrox club (again…I find myself saying that word a lot when it comes to matters involving Duff and Phelps), one of whom has been named unofficially as a group led by the former Chief Executive of Sheffield United, Charles Green.
Mr Green (no, this isn’t a terrible remake of Resevoir Dogs) does not currently hold a position with any active companies, according to STV, and has been described as a “hatchet man” on one footballing website, with regards to his time at Sheffield United.
It is also worth noting that Green’s last active company, Formation Group PLC, also used employee benefit trusts. However, we must highlight there was nothing illegal about their use of them.
While people are still hastily sitting at laptops and desks around the country trying to find out more information with regards to Mr Green, it is clear that he was not popular with the fans of Sheffield United when he left the club.
So now comes the important question for Rangers fans, if your club are going to have a future, do you mind it being Green? After all, you scared off an American with a reputation for turning around struggling businesses…or was it your club’s books that did that?
With regards to Mr Whyte, it came to light today that while Ticketus paid Rangers FC £24 million, only £1 million (in two payments of £200,000 and £800,000) ever made it into Rangers’ accounts via Collyer Bristow.
Oh yes, and for anyone who has forgotten, there’s still a small matter of the Big Tax Case to come yet…
This story has a very, very long way to run yet I feel.